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Small businesses asked to take stock of their wellbeing on World Mental Health Day 2019

Small business owners are being urged to consider their wellbeing on World Mental Health Day 2019, marked on 10 October.

Small businesses asked to take stock of their wellbeing on World Mental Health Day 2019
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  • Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
  • October 10, 2019
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Recognising the stressors that small business owners face every day, the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) is reminding everyone to take stock and ask the question of themselves and others ‘Are you OK?’.

“This is the message we are conveying to our 37,000 plus members and students today.

“Our members, as trusted advisers, are often the first to see the warning signs that clients may be struggling.  We urge anyone that may be facing mental health issues to see their GP and seek the appropriate professional support,” Wayne Debernardi, the general manager of media and strategic communications at the IPA, said.

The most recent National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing found that one in five (20 per cent) had a common mental illness (anxiety, depressive or substance use disorder) at some time during the previous 12 months (ABS 2007).   

“One in five. This could be you, one of your loved ones, a colleague or a friend.  Mental illness does not discriminate and has no timeline. So, let’s look after each other,” said Mr Debernardi.

Also calling for an increase in awareness about mental health is the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell.

Ms Carnell reminded that this year’s World Mental Health Day focus is on suicide prevention, with someone in the world sadly taking their own life every 40 seconds.

“Mental health is a serious issue for Australia’s small business community, with a new MYOB report revealing 56% of small business owners admit that running their business has directly brought on feelings of anxiety or depression,” said Ms Carnell.

She warned that many small business owners may not be aware that the very worries that are keeping them up at night – such as cash flow, customer demands or paying suppliers – can actually cause high levels of psychological distress and have serious impacts on their mental and physical health.

“It makes good business sense to invest in a mentally healthy workplace. Research by Pricewaterhouse Coopers has shown that every dollar spent on creating a mentally healthy workplace results on a positive return on investment of $2.30.”

World Mental Health Day is organised by the World Federation for Mental Health. This year’s Day is supported by WHO, the International Association for Suicide Prevention, and United for Global Mental Health.

The WHO is asking everyone to take 40 seconds of action to raise awareness about mental health. 

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