Looking after your mental health
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Creating a mental health plan
Why create a mental health plan?
When you’re focused on running or growing a small business, managing staff and dealing with challenges that emerge, you might not think to prioritise your 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
The Victorian Small Business Commission (VSBC) worked with Beyond Blue and drew on insights shared by small business owners with lived experience to develop A small business owner’s guide to creating a mental health plan.
Our guide helps you to identify stressors that might come up, such as maintaining your customer base, managing cashflow and trying to pay rent when you’ve had disruptions to 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 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.
Headway – small business wellbeing
Headway is Business Victoria’s wellbeing initiative. It’s all about supporting small business owners, their employees and trusted advisers with helpful tools and services. Free supports under the initiative include:
- the Partners in Wellbeing helpline (1300 375 330, 9am–10pm weekdays, 9am–5pm weekends and public holidays), which offers access to:
- business advisors who can help you to address critical challenges in your business, including in relation to financial management, strategic planning, risk management and business closure
- financial counsellors who can help with understanding options and priorities when it comes to debts and processes when it comes to insolvency, and negotiations with insurers, lenders and creditors
- wellbeing coaches who can help you to improve your wellbeing and develop strategies to cope with anxiety, depression and stress
- WorkSafe Victoria’s WorkWell Toolkit for Small Business, which offers step-by-step advice and practical resources to help create a mentally healthy workplace
- Mindarma wellness app, where business owners can access short sessions teaching mindfulness and other cognitive skills
- Workplace Wellbeing Hub that includes translated information and services to help with workplace wellbeing.
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 a series of 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.
Beyond Blue’s guidance and mental health counselling service
For information and strategies to improve your mental health and wellbeing, access Beyond Blue’s website. If you need mental health support, access Beyond Blue’s free and confidential mental health counselling service via telephone (1300 22 4636) or online (Beyond Blue Webchat).