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Why we need to think small for big changes in mental health

17 August 2017

By Jaelea Skehan, Director, Hunter Institute of Mental Health

There is a strong reciprocal relationship between work and mental health

On the one hand, there is a positive influence of work on people’s health and wellbeing. Besides being an individual’s primary source of income, it also has an important role in providing a sense of purpose and identity and facilitating social connections.

However, the workplace can also have a negative impact on our physical and psychological wellbeing with a growing body of evidence showing a link between workplace stress and both physical and mental health problems.

The good news is that there has been some momentum nationally around workplace mental health in Australia, given it is where many people spend most of their waking hours.

The bad news is, however, that small business is missing out.

Small businesses bring significant economic and employment benefits to Australia and represent 97% of all active businesses. Yet current workplace mental health programs tend to focus on larger organisations and industries and are not addressing the unique nature or the specific needs of small business.

And that needs to change.

The time is right to take what we know currently about the factors that support people at work and ensure they are applied to the small business environment. It is time to co-design a response with small business that is fit for their diverse needs – providing the tools and resources they need in the formats that they need them.

Small business owners and those who work for a small business can take the first step to help shape this response by participating in the first comprehensive survey of small business and mental health in Australia. 

The survey is the first step in understanding of the unique needs of those who work in small business, and to identify options for a new response.

So why not take a small part of your day to help make a big difference to the future of small business. 

Take the survey

Survey link and further information: www.bit.ly/SmallMH

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