A campaign headed up Olympic swimming champ Libby Trickett is trying to get Australians talking about mental health issues, with struggling business owners among those causing most concern.
This week (8 to 14 October) marks Mental Health Week, and the Australian Psychological Society (APS) is promoting a message that help is available and that positive change can be achieved.
“It’s great that more and more we can have this conversation and be open about mental health issues,” Ms Trickett said.
“Throughout my life and career I have sought assistance from psychologists to help me achieve peak performance and also deal with challenges.”
For Ben Fewtrell, one-half of business coaching consultancy MaxMyProfit, business owners trying to maintain control while chaos reigns is an all-too-common sight.
“One of the largest challenges you’ll face as a business owner is staying strong and keeping the illusion of appearing to have everything under control… when in reality, you’re like a duck kicking madly under the water whilst looking all calm a collected on the surface,” he said.
“Many business owners that come to us have a lot of stress and worry, and this leads to relationship, health and self-esteem issues, and ultimately, bad business decisions. It’s just a vicious cycle that is going to get worse.”
Moreover, Mr Fewtrell said that a business mirrors its leader, meaning a business owner not performing at their best will simply drag their business down the same dark hole without any help or support.
“They get so overwhelmed by deadlines and the pressure to look like they have everything under control, that they forget to stop and look after themselves. It can be difficult to let down their guard and ask for help,” he said.
With one in five Australians suffering the effects of mental illness each year – including anxiety, depression and substance abuse – the APS is urging anyone feeling under pressure to take a stand for a better future and reach out for help.
“We can now have public discussions about mental health. But that’s not enough, we need to encourage people to seek professional help and an important part of that is demonstrating how those conditions can be managed and overcome,” the society’s executive director, Professor Lyn Littlefield said.
“People do get better and often thrive, but the right professional support is critical.”
For support for yourself or someone you know, reach out to Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14 or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.
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