Beyond Blue has launched a mental health coaching program to support small business owners across Australia.
An Australian government survey of more than 1000 small business owners found almost one in three have experienced stress, anxiety or depression over the past year.
The free NewAccess for Small Business Owners is a six-week program that offers support by trained mental health coaches who have a background in small business.
The program is delivered via telehealth to small business owners experiencing stress and worries, and coaches, who operate with oversight from clinicians, are trained to refer participants to other support services as required.
Designed by Beyond Blue, the program is delivered by Richmond Fellowship Queensland thanks to $4.26 million in funding from the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.
Beyond Blue Deputy Chair Kate Carnell AO said the program was designed to appeal to people who might not otherwise seek support for their mental health.
“Australia’s small business owners are vital to the financial prosperity of the nation and we know the past year has been especially tough on them,” Ms Carnell said.
“Research shows small business owners are time poor, often put their business ahead of their own wellbeing, and feel that seeking support for their mental health is a sign of failure.
“NewAccess for Small Business Owners is confidential and can be accessed discreetly via phone or video calls. The mental health coaches come from a small business background and know the pressures and demands small business owners are under.
“Beyond Blue wants small business owners to know that we are here for them and that putting themselves first can have many benefits for their business.”
Ms Carnell said the program complemented initiatives such as:
“I’d like to thank the Australian government and Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business the Hon Michaelia Cash, the Ombudsman and Everymind for their commitment to supporting the mental health of Australia’s small business owners,” Ms Carnell said.
The new Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Service is available 24/7 at coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au. Its dedicated phone line, staffed by mental health professionals briefed on the pandemic response, is now open on 1800 512 348.
The Beyond Blue Support Service is available via phone 24/7 on 1300 22 4636 or via beyondblue.org.au/get-support for online chat (3PM – 12AM AEST or email responses within 24 hours).