28th October, 2022
Just in time to close out Mental Health Awareness Month, mindfulness app Smiling Mind is launching new course content within its ‘Small Business Program’.
For many people, managing stress and anxiety from work can often spill over into their general life.
Over half of Australian business operators report their work has a direct impact on feelings of anxiety and depression, with younger owners more acutely impacted than others.
In fact, a recent survey of 1,000 small and medium business (SME) owners showed 66 percent of Gen Y respondents said their venture has had a direct impact on their experience of mental health conditions.
Yet at the same time, 30 percent of business owners said they struggle to initiate conversations about mental health and wellbeing with employees.
The findings, contained within the MYOB SME Mental Health Report, were released in June – just a couple of months ahead of Mental Health
Awareness month – and serve as a reminder too all business managers just how important maintaining good mental health and wellbeing in the workplace is.
Dr Addie Wootten, CEO of not-for-profit mindfulness app, Smiling Mind, said MYOB’s survey results indicate a worrying trend, but it’s one business managers can begin to correct by taking a few simple, straightforward steps.
“The latest research shows mental health conversations are a tricky subject for many small business owners,” said Wootten.
“I’d encourage all business leaders to acknowledge that while it might be uncomfortable, it’s important to lead by example and create a safe environment to have open conversations to support your team members and colleagues.”
Opening a dialogue on mental health may be something many business owners would prefer to leave up to a psychologist, but Wootten says getting started isn’t about providing expert advice yourself.
“You don’t need to know how to solve problems,” she said.
“Simply letting employees know you’re available if they need, or directing them to resources that can help, can make a big difference.”
That’s why MYOB has partnered with Smiling Mind for the third year in a row, to continue developing and delivering the ‘Small Business Program’.
The Small Business Program offers practical mental wellbeing strategies — including meditations, exercises and discovery activities for business managers and employees — offering a unique solution to help prevent mental health issues in the workplace.
Originally launched in 2020, Smiling Mind’s Small Business Program is available to access for free, delivering psychologist-designed guidance on topics such as managing work-life balance, managing isolation and supporting growth.
But does it work? A 2021 survey of Smiling Mind users found that 73 percent found engaging in mindfulness meditation had helped them improve their work-life balance, and 64 percent found that, since using the Small Business Program, they noticed positive changes in their approach to running their business and in work in general.
In its latest iteration, the program doubles down on the valuable content it offers with new courses on mindfulness foundations, stress management and resilience, giving business owners and managers a more powerful resource against negative mental health outcomes.
“It’s crucial that mental health and wellbeing stays high on the agenda as we move out of COVID, as businesses are clearly still being impacted in various ways,” said Wootten.
“Supporting SME owners to equip themselves in managing their own wellbeing and that of their teams has never been more important.”
Managing mental health awareness and keeping the conversation going is everyone’s business. This Mental Health Awareness Month and beyond, make it your business with the help of Smiling Mind’s Small Business Program.
“We are proud to work with MYOB to deliver free, easily implementable tools that can help support small businesses during challenging times,” said Wootten.
“The Smiling Mind Small Business Program also provides proactive, preventative wellbeing support to equip SMEs before they reach a moment of overwhelm.”
For free access to the Small Business Program via Smiling Mind’s app, click here.