Accessible on its Heads Up website, the course covers four key topic areas:
- An introduction to mental health and how to recognise when someone needs support
- How advisers can look after their own wellbeing in the workplace and at home
- How to have a conversation with a small-business owner you are worried about
- How advisers can proactively support small-business owners
According to Beyond Blue, many small-business owners seek advice and support from trusted advisers including accountants, bookkeepers, tax agents, industry associations and representative bodies who are often the first to notice when a client might be experiencing mental health issues.
However, it also said that advisers also want to know more about the signs to look out for, how to start a conversation with a client they are worried about, and how to connect small-business owners to appropriate support.
Beyond Blue director and Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell called the initiative a life saver for small businesses.
“There has never been a tougher time to be in business and the psychological distress caused by this pandemic cannot be underestimated,” Ms Carnell said.
“Given small business loans are often secured against the family home, the stakes are incredibly high and that is understandably taking a huge toll on small-business owners’ mental health.
“Equally, small-business advisers are in a good position to notice if their client is struggling to cope.
“This practical support can save lives. It equips advisers with the tools and confidence they need to play a crucial support role that goes beyond financial advice.”