While financial help from both federal and state governments has helped many small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new Victorian Government initiative is focused on an often-forgotten issue for those who own and work at them – mental health.
“This is an extremely difficult time for business owners and their workers and it’s important that we provide practical, accessible support across the board,” Victorian Minister for Small Business Jaala Pulford said when announcing the $26 million program.
While it’s common for big corporates to have employee wellbeing programs in place, sole traders and those who own or work at small businesses often rely on personal support networks for help – and some may not know who to turn to.
But this new initiative is designed to help ease the stress and strain of running or being part of a small business during an incredibly tough time, with Minister Pulford announcing three major programs as part of the $26 million spend.
Firstly, St John Ambulance have been tasked with providing accredited mental health support training those working in Victorian chambers of commerce – groups with direct links to local businesses. This is designed to boost mental health support amongst small business networks across the state.
Next, mental health professionals will be directly embedded with Victorian business and industry associations – meaning members of those associations and their employees will have immediate access to advice and training regarding workplace mental health.
Finally, the Partners in Wellbeing service – a way for all Victorians to access free mental health support – has had its hotline hours extended to 10pm and can now provide callers immediate access to business advisers and financial counsellors.
The Partners in Wellbeing mental health support hotline is 1300 375 330.
If you’re an existing RedZed customer, you can access an Employee Assistance Program through RedZed Rewards. This offers you the same access to counselling services that we provide our staff – through our EAP providers at Acacia Connection. You can find out more at redzed.com/rewards
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