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Small business owners get government support and budget funding top-up for mental health

Karen Tan
17 May 2021 1 minute readShare
mental health

The Morrison government has invested heavily on mental health and suicide prevention in the 2021–22 budget to the tune of $2.3 billion over four years, acknowledging the importance of this vital support for all Australians who need help. Small business owners are among them.

Aware of the impacts, the Australian government will provide an additional $0.9 million from that funding, to continue its online Ahead for Business initiative, specifically targeted for small businesses. It builds on its earlier $3.1 million investment from the previous year.

The mental health organisation Everymind hosts the Ahead for Business digital hub, which offers small and family-run businesses resources, including articles, videos, podcasts and toolkits to assist with mental health struggles.

Sixty-five thousand Australians attempt to take their own life each year. The latest funding boost hopes to help deliver vital mental health reform by investing in preventative, compassionate and effective care.

Small business owners, like most Australians, endured so much in the past couple of years, with droughts, bushfires, floods and, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sadly, we saw many businesses go under from the strict, but necessary, lockdown enforcement laws, and so many staff were laid off work. Many still grapple with an uncertain future.

The government is aware small business owners have a unique set of pressures and responsibilities, including isolation, financial stress and excessive workloads, often with little support.

Another Australian government mental health program already underway to support small business is BusinessBalance, to overcome the barrier of the stigma that can be associated with mental ill health.

BusinessBalance received $7 million in 2020–21 funding to provide mental health coaching to small business owners, plus mental health training for their business advisers.

The support is divided into two components: NewAccess delivered by Beyond Blue to provide six, structured sessions with a trained mental health coach, and Counting on U, delivered by Deakin University, which is a professional development program for small business advisers.

The investment in Australians’ wellbeing in budget 2021–22 comes off the back of advice from the Productivity Commission and National Suicide Prevention Adviser about getting better outcomes for those battling mental health concerns.

Scott Morrison’s total recent budget investment in mental health and suicide prevention in the health portfolio alone is $6.3 billion.

It’s hoped further support efforts will be delivered with the states and territories through a National Agreement on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan.

For 24/7 crisis support, contact:

Lifeline –13 11 14
Beyond Blue – 1300 22 4636

Small business owners get government support and budget funding top-up for mental health
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Karen Tan

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