R U OK? Business Owners and Mental Health
Updated: Sep 15
Whilst R U OK day was last week, the need for business owners to be mindful of their mental health is an ongoing battle. Running your own business can be incredibly rewarding, but for many small business owners being solely responsible for the success or failure of the business and the impact of that on others can quickly take its toll.
Depending on the type of small business that you have, these challenges may include:
regularly putting in long hours and working intensely to meet the demands of your business or to get your business off the ground
undertaking business related activities such as responding to business emails and calls after hours - blurring the boundaries between work and home
feeling isolated with not always having someone to share business worries with or with someone who can understand the demands of running a small business through experience
managing ongoing cash flow and financial issues, including chasing invoices and feeling concerned over where the next job is coming from
having multiple roles as well as managing the additional demands of administrative and government regulations - on top of everything else
feeling responsible to yourself and to others such as family and employees who are being involved in the business to ensure it is successful
A typical response to the pressures and demands of business and life is stress. Work related stress occurs when the demands from running your business are greater than your capacity to manage them. While stress isn't the same thing as mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression, excessive or long-term stress can increase your risk of developing a mental health condition.
Taking Care of Yourself
The important thing to remember is that many small business owners experience the same fears and stress and resources are available to help you manage your mental health. If you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed or struggling to cope with the pressure of running your small business, reach out. Operating independently does not need to mean operating alone without any support.
https://aheadforbusiness.org.au/ provides small business owners information and practical solutions to manage everyday business stress and support your mental health. It also provides resources for people seeking to support the mental health of someone running their own business.
https://www.business.gov.au/news/free-mental-health-guide-for-small-business-advisers offers a free guide to allow advisers, who often see first-hand how stress can affect small business owners, to provide support without needing to be a trained counsellor or clinician.
https://www.vsbc.vic.gov.au/small-business-support/creating-a-mentally-healthy-small-business/ provides resources to develop a mental health plan to ensure you have strategies in place to look after your wellbeing.
https://www.beyondblue.org.au/media/news/news/2019/09/02/free-mental-health-guide-for-small-business-advisers provides resources and mental health guides for small business.
https://www.flyingsolo.com.au/smallbusinessmentalhealth aim to continually increase the small business mental health resources throughout our community.