Date posted: 10/10/2019 5 min read

What to do when SME clients break

Business advisers can be the first to notice when their small business clients are experiencing mental health challenges.

In Brief

  • Almost one-third of small business owners report having high levels of psychological distress.
  • Beyond Blue has developed a new guide to help support business advisers whose clients may be facing mental health issues.
  • Chartered accountants and others can use the guide to identify if their clients are undergoing distress and to assist them to access help.

By Sally Rose

“Almost one-third of small business owners report having high levels of psychological distress, mainly due to long working hours, social isolation, customer demands, cash-flow issues and conflicting demands between home and work,” says Beyond Blue CEO Georgie Harman.

“These factors can sometimes increase the risk of developing mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression. Small business owners have told Beyond Blue they want mental health resources to be available through their business networks so they can access the information through established and trusted contacts.”

That is why Beyond Blue consulted with industry associations and representative bodies, including Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, to produce its new guide, Supporting Small Business Owners to Improve their Mental Health and Wellbeing at Work.

The guide provides business advisers with practical tips on how to provide support, without needing to be trained counsellors. It includes information such as:

  • How to provide immediate support to a small business owner who is distressed
  • Recognising the signs of poor mental health
  • Planning and having a conversation with someone you’re concerned about
  • What to do if the person doesn’t want to talk about their mental health
  • How small business owners can improve their situation.

Read more:

Download the Beyond Blue Supporting Small Business Owners guide at

The Ahead for Business website and app has tools to help the mental health of small business owners at

Beyond Blue Support Service has mental health professionals available via phone 24/7 on 1300 22 4636.

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