Funding boost for small-business mental health program

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Protect your mental health psychology concept. Psychologist with protective hand gesture and symbol of brain and text mental health.

The Australian Government has committed to renew the funding for a critical mental health program for small-business owners, with Acting Minister for Small and Family Business Anne Ruston announcing an additional $4.6 million in funding for Beyond Blue’s New Access for Small Business Owners program.

In addition, the Government will provide a further $2.1 million towards the Small Business Debt Helpline for 2022.

“Small-business owners have endured so much over the past two years, pummelled by the pandemic and natural disasters,” The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Bruce Billson said in welcoming the announcement.

“The road to recovery has been lengthy and challenging and that has understandably taken a toll on the bottom line and wellbeing. Critically, Beyond Blue’s successful New Access for Small Business Owners program will continue to offer free one-on-one telehealth sessions with specially trained mental health coaches providing evidence-based advice on strategies for managing stress. The additional funding will allow Beyond Blue to provide an extra six coaches to meet the needs of our small business community.

“The success of the New Access for Small Business Owners program is built on it being delivered by coaches who have experience in small business,” Billson added. Being able to speak to someone who understands the mental load of running a small business makes a big difference. Small-business owners who look after their mental health, can also help their business. With this renewed funding in place, help is available to small-business owners who need it.

Billosn pointed out that both the mental health and financial counselling support will be especially valuable to small-business owners who have loans secured against the family home.

“We know the stakes are incredibly high and that losing the business often means also losing the home,” Billson said.

More information about the NewAccess for Small Business Owners program is available by calling 1300 945 301 or on the Beyond Blue website. And small-business owners can contact the Small Business Debt Helpline by calling 1800 413 828 or visit https://sbdh.org.au/.