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.

New guide for small business owners in response to coronavirus

The VSBC has worked with Beyond Blue and drawn 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 new 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.

Accessing mental health support

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, we encourage you to call their trained counsellors on 1800 512 348 for support 24/7.

Wellbeing and mental health support program

Wellbeing and mental health support for Victorian small businesses – program overview

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:

  • St John Ambulance Mental Health and Crisis Support training
  • Partners in Wellbeing telephone hotline (1300 375 330)

Additional programs will be released soon with details available on Business Victoria’s web page for this program.

For immediate access to mental health support, visit Business Victoria’s mental health in business web page.

St John Ambulance Mental Health and Crisis Support training

St John Ambulance accredited Mental Health and Crisis Support training is available to to one staff member from each council and key members who hold positions at chambers of commerce, business associations or business networks.

The training will:

  • build capabilities of participants to support the local business community with wellbeing and mental health challenges
  • certify participants in a nationally recognised qualification in mental health first response
  • help participants develop an awareness of the wellbeing and mental health support available for small business operators and other members of the community.

Register your interest.

Further support

Mental health specialists will also be embedded in industry and business associations to provide members with immediate access to expert advisors, and to provide on-the-job training for staff to identify and respond to people in distress.

The Partners in Wellbeing telephone hotline has been expanded to provide business owners under stress with free access to financial counsellors.

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

Roll out of these support services is expected to continue until 2022, with demand and future conditions set to guide further services.

For more information, visit the Business Victoria website.


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