Mental Health Support Options for Business Owners
Running a business can be hard, and lonely, at the best of times. Add in the effects of Coronavirus and it’s not a surprise that so many business owners are feeling the strain.
Last Saturday was Mental Heath Awareness day, and in this episode we’re talking about mental health, and where you can find support and advice, whether for you or for members of your team.
Full details are in the video, but I’ve listed the main numbers and web addresses below too.
Time to change
Info line: tel 0300 123 3393 (9am-6pm Monday to friday)
Helpline Tel: 0300 304 7000 (4.30pm – 10.30pm)
24/7 text service, free on all major networks
Tel: 116 123
Do please get some advice or support if you’re feeling that there are more bad days than good, or if recent events are proving too much.
Saturday was the 10th of October and it was Mental Health Awareness day. I wanted to just touch on the subject in this episode because it is enormous.
Owning and running a business, it ordinarily is a lonely place to be and it can be really isolating.
- You may have family and friends saying, what are you doing, questioning the hours that you’re putting in and the effort and the sacrifices and all of those things that go with running a business.
- There’s lots and lots of decisions to be made, and you need the support of friends and family to actually get through that, particularly if you are a single director running a business or a single person running a business on your own.
- You can start to doubt yourself and it’s really key, as we always say, to have the right people around you, to make sure that you have the right support.
Add coronavirus to that and there’s a million and one decisions to be made that you didn’t have to consider before!
There’s the finance issues, the support, the HR considerations, all of those things.
We’ve had so many conversations with people since March around the pressures and just the thought process that they need to go through and what do they do in this situation, what should they do, what are their options, all of those things.
We actually had a conversation with somebody a while ago now who said he’s making decisions, the level of which he didn’t even make when he was setting up his business, because at that point there was just him.
- He didn’t have a team, he didn’t have premises.
- He didn’t have all of those other levels of complexity that he’s now having to consider with COVID in the frame.
So there’s more stress, there’s more hassle, there’s more anxiety and there’s more worry.
And actually we’re a lot more isolated too, because a lot of the things that we would historically have done to let off steam and to sort of get away from the business, we’ve been stopped from doing.
- It’s difficult to get abroad.
- You may not be able to do the social things that you would have done previously.
- You may not feel able to do them, even if you can under the current lockdown and restrictions.
So all of the coping mechanisms have been affected.
And so that’s kind of balancing against, badly balancing against all of the increased considerations and issues that we’re all having to deal with.
All of this may be affecting your mental health as a business owner, or it may be affecting people within your business.
So people that work for you may be finding that their mental health is being negatively impacted because of coronavirus:
- they’ve had months and months with the kids at home
- they’ve got problems with perhaps their partner facing job worries
- they may have cashflow worries
- amongst all of those sorts of things!
There’s a million and one different things that could be affecting either you or somebody within your business, which will affect you and it will affect the other people in your business and in your team.
Mental Health Day was a brilliant day to highlight the potential issues, which is why I want to use it as an opportunity to suggest things that you can do and people who can give you help and support, and places where you can get some guidance and maybe just to get some clarity.
So where are those people, who are those people?
There are also lots of different elements of mental health that you may not be aware of and you may not be thinking about.
A few examples include anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress and personality disorders.
There are lots and lots of different types of mental health issues. But all of them will affect how you or people around you see the world, your perspective of it, your ability to cope with challenges, how you interact with other people; they will all affect you.
And if it’s more than just a tough time, which let’s face it, it is a massively tough time for everybody.
But if you’re feeling that there’s more than that then that’s when you need to say ‘actually I need to speak to somebody. I need some additional support here’.
You need to acknowledge that you are at that point.
People have said in the past that going to a GP sounds very formal. It’s putting it onto a level beyond which they’re comfortable to do.
Friends and family.
They may not be the best people. They may not understand. They may feel, oh get over it or go and get a proper job. That isn’t necessarily going to solve the problem!
There are lots of organisations out there who can help.
The primary one to start to look at, if it’s somebody within your business and not you as a business owner, visit Time-to-change.org.uk.
They’ve got a lot of resources on their website including a workplace pack to give you some guidance as to how to make sure that your workplace is as positive as can be in terms of providing mental health support to people in your team.
Also they’ve got links to people who can give you help.
Mind have an information line which is manned 9a.m. to 6p.m., Monday to Friday.
They can also provide links to many information services, many of which are local. So they are people that actually know your area who potentially will know that you’re going into a local lockdown or what your local situation is if it is being heightened by COVID.
MIND also have guidance about what to do if you are facing a crisis and you are at the point where you cannot cope. If you haven’t been able to get something sorted previous to that and you are at the point, you just cannot cope, MIND will give you support at that point.
This is a national mental health helpline.
This is a text line, open 24 hours and seven days a week. It’s a free service on all major networks. Amongst their support, they will give immediate support if you or somebody local to you is having a real crisis, they can give you text support straight away.
They’ll be able to help you and give you some support, on their phone line, which is available 24 hours, seven days a week. They also have an email contact open constantly.
All of these people also tell you how to support someone else, so how to give the right support and the right level of support to people around you.
It’s not necessarily about being able to solve the problem for them but it’s how to give them the support, how to be that right shoulder for them and to listen constructively, potentially, or just listen and be there.
We aren’t experts in mental health at all; this is not something that we can help you with.
BUT, if you’re worried about your business and the government supports that are available for your business, then of course we can help and we would be very happy to.
- There’s a lot of confusion building.
- There’s a lot of concern that, you know, we are going back into, potentially into a different type of lockdown.
- There is going to be increasing complexity about what’s going to be available, what’s going to be possible where.
All of those things we can shine a light on, we can provide some clarity to those, so please don’t sit and worry about those. We can help with that!
Mental health issues, it’s important to realise, are really common. They are increasingly common at the moment given everything that’s going on.
There is no stigma attached to it any longer. Historically there was but I think we’ve got through that hopefully as a society now and the most important thing is, as I’ve said before, to get the right help, make the call, have the conversation, whatever it takes, please don’t ignore it.
The reality is that your business needs to survive at the moment if it is at all possible.
You’re trying to manage your business through something that we’ve never been through before.
On top of that you’ve got all of the normal day-to-day events happening.
The loss of a loved one, challenges, health issues, all of those things, they will make life more difficult.
And the most important thing is to realise that we all have bad days. If you are having more than your normal share of bad days, then get the right support.
Hopefully some of those numbers I’ve given you which I will post across the bottom of this screen and I will put down below, hopefully some of those will be helpful.
If there is anything at all we can do to help then please shout, otherwise, I hope some of that is helpful and we’ll speak to you very soon.