Mental health support services available

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//The federal government has recently provided funding towards a new dedicated COVID-19 mental health support service for small to medium-sized enterprises.

Many WA startups, small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) have undoubtedly faced immense challenges during this time of crisis.

In particular, although the new federal government’s recent $260B worth of stimulus may be enough to keep some people afloat and people in jobs, some will not be part of this, forced to take some of their own money out of superannuation and/or put under severe pressure during these uncertain times.

While the idea of dipping into your super may be an appealing way to get out of a tough time, but it may also have long-term negative financial implications.

“It’s absolutely vital that there is a specialised approach for SMEs and sole traders, who are under extraordinary pressure right now.” says Kate Carnell, the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO).

Kate Carnell, the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman

The life-saving initiative

Beyond Blue is a non-profit organisation which aims to assist those struggling with issues such as depression, anxiety and other related mental health disorders.

The federal government has provided substantial funding to Beyond Blue to deliver a coronavirus support line for those experiencing stress or anxiety related to COVID-19.

The service will offer free counselling by mental health professionals for all people in Australia 24/7, both online and over the phone.

The Beyond Blue website will also provide free and easily accessible information and advice around coping with COVID-19.

In addition, the ASBFEO will be working closely with Beyond Blue to ensure small businesses and startups are supported during this uncertain time.

“It’s essential we deal with the devastating impact coronavirus has had on small businesses in a holistic way. Make no mistake the toll this is taking on their mental health is huge, which is why this initiative announced today will save lives.”

Kate Carnell, inaugural Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman

The ASBFEO’s My Business Health web portal will also be a part of this initiative. It has been updated with a section for those struggling with the COVID-19 crisis.

The My Business Health web portal now contains updated information specific to COVID-19.

The organisations will continue building on the work they have done on mental health to ensure the most accurate, evidence-based resources are available on My Business Health.

The Chair of Beyond Blue and former Prime Minister Julia Gillard has also addressed the current concerns many of us are facing:

“It’s perfectly normal to feel a level of anxiety about events unfolding here and overseas, and question how they will impact on you and your family and friends.

“Uncertainty about what will happen next and disruption to our usual routines can make it difficult to stay grounded and can increase feelings of helplessness.

“But we are not helpless.

“At Beyond Blue, we will be doing all we can to provide connection and information. Please take the time to look at the Beyond Blue website.”

The Chair of Beyond Blue, The Hon. Julia Gillard AC

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24-hour telephone support is available via Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.

IMAGES: Supplied, or taken from various websites.