The ATO’s deputy commissioner for small business, Deborah Jenkins, said the tax office is aware of the “enormous” pressure facing Australian small business owners, in the lead up to World Mental Health Day on 10 October.
More than one in five Australians experience some sort of mental health condition, with red flags in the workplace including inability to concentrate, constantly thinking of work during personal time, being unable to sleep, or having changed eating and drinking habits.
The Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) has found strong links between an SME owner engaging a tax professional and decreased levels of mental stress, and is currently researching this issue of “epic proportions.”
“Mental health for small business, as an issue, has almost reached epidemic proportions,” said chief executive of the IPA, Andrew Conway.
“It’s important to make clear that it’s ok to talk about mental health and wellbeing in a small business context, it’s not a sign of weakness. It’s symptomatic of where the mental health agenda is nationally. As a nation, we are destigmatising mental health and talking about it more, and that should extend specifically to small business,” he said.