Adverse events, such as natural disasters or public health crises, can have a significant impact on the mental health and wellbeing of communities and individuals, especially small business owners.

Adverse Events Small Business

Whether you are directly or indirectly impacted by an adverse event, such as the recent bushfires or novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, it can bring about a range of stressful thoughts, feelings and behaviours for individuals.

While everyone reacts differently to traumatic experiences and memories, you may want to seek support from a GP or mental health professional, and encourage others to do so if you notice signs of distress.

There are also a range of services available for small businesses and their owners who wish to seek business support or mental health support due to the impact of an adverse event.

What are some of the signs small business owners should be looking out for which may indicate an impact on their mental health and wellbeing from an adverse event?


Behavioural and physical changes may include:

  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Withdrawal from activities that the person enjoys
  • Changes in sleep
  • Changes in energy or activity levels
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Changes in alcohol and/or drug use
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Loss of interest in personal appearance and hygiene
  • Pre-occupation around a particular issue or scenario.

Everyone can use a hand following an adverse event, and the sooner you access support the sooner you can get yourself back on your feet and your business back on track.

You can learn more about the effects of trauma and find information and resources via the links below.

Resources for small businesses impacted by adverse events

Support for mental health and wellbeing for bushfire-affected communities

If you live in or operate your business in a bushfire-affected area, you may find yourself dealing with the emotional trauma of having lost your business or home, or experiencing significant property damage.

At the same time, you may be assisting affected customers and neighbours, as well as managing the financial stress of lost or reduced income and business disruption.

See resources below to help support bushfire-affected communities and the general public.

Practical support for starting your business recovery

A number of resources are available to support small and family businesses to survive and recover from disruptions to operations due to disasters or other factors.

Below are links to Australian Government agencies and other organisations that can help you with a range of questions related to business recovery, including insurance claims, tax deferrals, eligibility for government allowances, and how you can best support your staff.

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