The Victorian Government’s $26 million wellbeing initiative for small business owners and workers will save lives, according to the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell.
“The enormity of this second wave lockdown and the psychological distress it is causing for small business owners cannot be underestimated,” says Ms Carnell.
“Given small business loans are often secured against the family home, the stakes are incredibly high and that is understandably taking a huge toll on small business owners’ mental health.”
Under the program, St John Ambulance will provide accredited mental health support training to chambers of commerce across Victoria.
“Local chambers of commerce have direct links to the small business community,” explains Ms Carnell.
“It’s logical to provide them with training to not only respond to small business owners experiencing stress, but even more critically – to identify the signs of someone who needs support.”
Ms Carnell encourages small business owners to seek help if they need it as there are plenty of free support services available.
“Our My Business Health web portal provides free practical resources to help with running your business and also links to leading mental health organisations, such as Beyond Blue.”
The Partners in Wellbeing telephone hotline is 1300 375 330 and Beyond Blue’s Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service is at coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au.