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
- Superfriend: Supporting colleagues through loss and hard times
- Beyond Blue: Looking after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak
Support for small business owners impacted by COVID-19 health crisis
Feeling worried or struggling to cope during the pandemic, and need to talk to someone?
Beyond Blue have a free coronavirus support service with trained counsellors available to talk through what you are experiencing at this time. The helpline is available 24/7, with support and advice being provided based on your specific needs. Please call 1800 512 348
There is also help available and a range of resources and news to support Australian small businesses below:
- Safe Work Australia: Information for workplaces on COVID-19 and work, health and safety
- Safe Work Australia: Information on mental health and the workplace affected by COVID-19
- National COVID-19 Coordination Commission: Toolkit for workplace readiness to be COVID safe once reopened
- Beyond Blue: Strategies for business owners, leaders and managers to help manage their mental health during the COVID-19
- Beyond Blue: Work and mental health tips for employees and owners
- Kochie's Business Builders: Tips for managing the impact of COVID-19
- ABC News: Coronavirus support package for businesses
- The Guardian: Australian Government stimulus package for businesses
- Mortgage Business: Big banks response for customers
- COSBOA: Scenario and response planning
- NSW Health: Practical guidance for prevention of COVID-19 for small businesses
- HelpHunter: Helping Hunter business survive to thrive
- WorkCover Queensland: Risk management support
- World Health Organization: Guidelines for getting businesses prepared for COVID-19
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.
- Life in Mind: Mental health support for bushfire affected communities
- Beyond Blue: Bushfires and mental health
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.