Mental Health Support for Small Business Owners

The last year and half had seen COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions have tested the small business community in a way that it hasn’t been tested in decades. The toll of the financial stress, uncertainty and loss of control has been steep for many. Many non-profits alongside the Australian government have recognised the mental health risk that small business owners in particular face due to these times, and several new and free services catered specifically to owners of SMEs have been created to help.

In fact, Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Bruce Billson says on the ASBFEO site that the department’s recent big campaign drove specific awareness about Beyond Blue’s New Access for Small Business Owners program, which offers free one-on-one telehealth sessions with specially trained mental health coaches.

“It is vital small business owners know that help is available if they need it,” says Billson.

“New Access for Small Business Owners offers free one-on-one telehealth sessions with specially trained mental health coaches providing evidence-based advice on strategies for managing stress.

“Crucially, the New Access for Small Business Owners program is delivered by coaches that have experience in small business. It really helps to know that the person you’re speaking with understands what it takes to run a small business.

“We know many small business owners have been hit hard throughout the pandemic, particularly with going in and out of lockdowns and restrictions, and that has understandably taken a toll.

“New research released by Xero has found almost 7 out of 10 (68%) of 500 small business owners surveyed reported the past 12 months have been more emotionally draining than any other year they’ve been in business.

“It also found small business leaders have collectively lost more than eight million hours of sleep each week due to the demands of running their small business. Trouble sleeping can be a sign of stress.

“It’s important small business owners understand if they look after their mental health, they can also help their business.

“Our My Business Health web portal is an excellent support tool for small business owners and it links with the New Access for Small Business Owners program, while also providing easy-to-read, practical tips on the day-to-day tasks of running a small business.”

Beyond Blue’s New Access for Small Business Owners program is available now. Visit My Business Health at mybusinesshealth.gov.au

NewAccess for Small Business Owners

NewAccess for Small Business Owners is a free and confidential mental-health coaching program, developed by Beyond Blue to give small business owners, including sole traders the support they need. 

The program uses Low-intensity Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (LiCBT) that allows participants to recognise the way they think, act, and feel and break unhelpful thoughts. 

Over six sessions, coaches with a small business background will work with you to overcome difficult issues, providing you with practical skills to manage stress and get you back to feeling like yourself. 

At your first appointment your coach will complete an initial assessment with you, and develop a program tailored to your individual needs. 

NewAccess for Small Business Owners is available nationally by phone or video call. Enquire here.

Ahead for Business for SME owner wellbeing


According to business.gov.au, Ahead for Business is the only bespoke digital hub designed to promote the wellbeing of small business owners. Through the Ahead for Business digital hub small business owners can access tailored resources, connect to the online community and track their mental health and wellbeing journey.

The Australian Government is providing an additional $0.9 million over four years from 2020–21 to continue the Ahead for Business program delivered by the mental health organisation Everymind. This builds on the Government’s earlier $3.1 million investment in Ahead for Business announced in the 2018–19 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook.

You can find more information about small business support at business.gov.au as well.

Read more of our articles on mental health support for the beauty industry:

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