Can it really impact your work? Mental Health in small business is no small matter!

Approximately 1 in 5 Australians experience symptoms of a mental illness each year (according to the ABS). These cases of mental illness vary from depression and substance abuse, to psychotic and eating disorders. Maybe you do not fit into any of these mental issues. However, it is likely that you know someone who does! And these people may be people you employ and depend upon in the running of your small business.

But how can I know?

Being able to recognize the warning signs is the first step. Mental health could be impacting your employees, contractors, partners or clients. Or it may be impacting you yourself!

Here is a list of warning sign you need to be aware of:

  • difficulty concentrating, especially in small tasks
  • avoiding necessary day-to-day tasks and obligations
  • constantly thinking/stressing about work
  • trouble sleeping and relaxing
  • changing eating and/or drinking habits
  • disconnecting from friends and family
  • feeling irritable, stressed or teary

These can have a huge impact on efficiency, product and service quality, and customer satisfaction. If they are ignored and not addressed they can potentially snowball into serious issues! This issues can extend beyond just the individual. As a result, it can adversely effect obligations the business holds to the government.

So, what can we do?

Firstly, it is important as a business owner to recognize the warning signs. Do you think that the issues involved may impact tax lodgements or superannuation obligation? Then it is recommended to talk to the ATO as soon as possible. The ATO can be very understanding when it comes to these types of issues. They are willing to help you before the situation escalates!

I once heard this from a psychotherapist: “I often ask my clients: if you were suffering from an illness would you see a doctor? If you broke a part of your body would you seek professional help? Then why not seek help when dealing with a mental illness or issue?” So, if you believe these types of issues are beginning to effect you or others, we recommend seeking professional help.

There are a number of different resources and contacts that can help. If you need more information or you need immediate help contact Lifeline, Beyond Blue or Psych Central.

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