Looking after your mental health

Creating a mental health plan

Why create a mental health plan?

The impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic are being felt right across Victoria’s small business community.

With many small business owners focusing on trying to get their businesses through this difficult period and looking after their family and staff, they might not have prioritised their own mental health.

Creating a mental health plan is one way to make sure you have the strategies in place to look after your wellbeing. It’s also an important part of planning for business continuity and resilience.

Guide for small business owners in response to coronavirus

The Victorian Small Business Commission (VSBC) worked with Beyond Blue and drew on insights shared by small business owners with lived experience to develop Responding to coronavirus (COVID-19): a small business owner’s guide to creating a mental health plan.

Our guide helps you to identify stressors that might come up at this time, such as feeling overwhelmed over not being able to pay rent if you’ve had to significantly limit how you trade.

It also helps you to recognise changes in yourself that signal when you might need extra support. These might be personal changes like feeling anxious, depressed or low in energy, or work-related changes like having trouble concentrating or withdrawing from staff.

Downloading this free guide will give you access to a wealth of resources to help you plan actions that you can take in response – be it staying connected with friends online or getting accurate information about available supports.

Creating your own mental health plan: next steps

You can use our mental health plan template to create your own plan, using our example plan as a guide point.

Wellbeing and mental health support program

Through this Victorian Government program, Victorians dealing with the challenges of running a small business can get the mental health support they need to navigate through the impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Current support under this program includes the Partners in Wellbeing helpline (1300 375 330).

Partners in Wellbeing helpline

The Partners in Wellbeing helpline is there to support you and your employees.

It offers free and confidential one-on-one access to experienced wellbeing and mental health counsellors. They have the skills and insights to improve your sense of wellbeing, help you to develop coping strategies, and provide the advice and support you need to get through this difficult time.

The helpline also provides business owners under stress with free access to financial counsellors who can provide information, support and advice about managing debts and other financial issues.

If you are distressed or anxious about your business, please call Partners in Wellbeing on 1300 375 330 from Monday to Friday 9am–10pm, Saturday to Sunday (and public holidays) 9am–5pm.

Find information about this program, including in languages other than English, on Business Victoria’s program web page. For access to a range of other mental health resources, visit Business Victoria’s mental health in business web page.

Crisis support

If you are in a crisis or at immediate risk of harming yourself or others, please call emergency services on 000.

Lifeline (13 11 14) is a free, 24/7, confidential crisis support service for people who are feeling overwhelmed or having difficulty coping or staying safe.

Suicide Call Back Service (1300 659 467 or via online chat) is a free, 24/7 phone and online counselling service for anyone who is struggling with situations in their life, from feeling low or stressed to the more complex issues of suicidal thoughts and grief arising from suicide.

Further help in looking after your wellbeing

NewAccess for Small Business Owners

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

Over six sessions (by phone or video call), coaches with a small business background will work with you to overcome difficult issues and give you practical skills to help manage stress and get you back to feeling like yourself.

Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service

For information, advice and strategies to help you manage your wellbeing, access Beyond Blue’s Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service. If you are feeling worried or struggling to cope, their trained counsellors  can be reached on 1800 512 348 for support 24/7.

VSBC fact sheet

Download the VSBC’s fact sheet on looking after your mental wellbeing.


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