Floods, fire and pandemic – it’s been an incredibly tough 15 months for many Australian businesses. And with government support about to end, looking after your mental health will be just as important as taking care of your business’s financial health.
With the federal government’s COVID-19 JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme expiring on 28 March, experts are tipping as many as a quarter of a million jobs could be lost.
When you also consider that rental eviction moratoriums are coming to an end in several states, and flooding is taking place across large parts of Australia’s east, then there is a lot of pressure on small businesses owners across the country right now.
Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) Bruce Billson says it’s important for small business owners to consider their mental health and reach out if they’re not coping.
“Help is available to small business owners who need it. NewAccess 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,” he says.
Free mental health support
Developed by BeyondBlue, NewAccess is a confidential mental health program where coaches with a small business background work with business owners to tackle challenges.
Businesses can access up to six sessions, with the initial 60-minute assessment designed to talk through your challenges, develop a problem statement and create a personalised needs-based plan.
Subsequent half-hour sessions involve the business coach stepping you through your plan, providing practical tools for managing stress, and reviewing progress.
“Being able to talk to someone who understands the mental load of running a small business will make a real difference,” Mr Billson says.
“Small business owners who look after their mental health, can also help their business.”
No doctor’s referral or mental health treatment plan is required and the free service is available via phone or video call from 8am to 8pm.
Business health support
NewAccess has been incorporated into the ASBFEO’s My Business Health tool, which provides assistance in three key areas.
The section on how to keep your business afloat looks at government support, managing outgoings and cashflow.
How to manage your business explores COVID-19, staffing, workplace health and safety, resolving disputes and insolvency challenges. Where to access support includes a 5-minute wellbeing checkup, links to support services and natural disaster recovery.
And lastly, your business’s financial health
If it’s your business’s finances that are causing you stress, please know that there are lender support services to help you navigate financial challenges.
For example, Australian banks offer a range of financial support options to help farmers and small businesses affected by natural disasters, such as the NSW floods, which can include:
– a deferral of scheduled loan repayments
– waiving fees and charges, including break costs on early access to term deposits
– debt consolidation to help make repayments more manageable
– restructuring existing loans, without the usual establishment fees
– deferring interest payments on a case-by-case basis
– offering additional finance to help cover cash flow shortages.
If you’d like to talk through how some of these options may help your business, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us or your lender today.
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