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Take a Moment to Ask

The severity and duration of the drought, and the many bushfires so early in the season is taking its toll on farmers, business owners, firefighters and everyone in our communities. The Christmas and new year season, and the many associated get-togethers, provides an ideal opportunity to ask those around us how they are going and if they are okay.

The story of Lucy Gallagher is one that is shared by many. Lucy lives on a property near Halls Creek, and her story about reaching out for help went viral on social media and captured national media attention, including The Project. After battling the drought and making the best of a hard situation, Lucy broke down and reached out to Beyond Blue.  Lucy’s story highlights the need to not only look after those around us but ourselves as well and that there is no shame in reaching out, it is just part of being human. “Look after yourself, first and foremost. You owe yourself the time and love that you willingly and freely give to others. You can’t pour from an empty cup, and you can’t feed from an empty bucket.” She said.

If you are struggling and need someone to talk to, mental health support is available 24 hours a day via Beyond Blue (1300 22 46 36) and Lifeline (13 11 14). Beyond Blue also have a comprehensive listing of assistance lines and support groups on their website. You are not alone.

Many small business owners are also struggling, and advisers, families and friends because they were often the first to notice when small business owners experience mental health challenges. Beyond Blue has developed the Supporting small business owners to improve their mental health and wellbeing at work guide to provide business advisers such as accountants, bookkeepers, tax agents, industry associations and representative bodies, or family and friends, with practical tips about how to provide support without needing to be trained counsellors or clinicians.

The guide includes information such as:

  • How to provide immediate support to a small business owner who is distressed
  • Recognising the signs of poor mental health
  • Planning and having a conversation with someone you’re concerned about
  • What to do if the person doesn’t want to talk about their mental health
  • How small business owners can improve their situation

Small businesses owners can also obtain assistance through the Ahead For Business website. The website connects small business owners with information, programs and interventions that can help with planning, managing everyday business stressors and taking action for mental health challenges. Business owners can get tailored recommendations about useful information and programs by completing the 2-minute Business stressor screen and the 5-minute Mental Health 'Check-Up'.

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