Small Business owner speaking out on Canadian mental health week.

Mental Health Week: Tools for SMB owners

Owning a small business can be a rewarding experience, but it comes with its fair share of obstacles. Small business owners frequently juggle multiple roles, manage various tasks, and work long hours to achieve their goals, often at the expense of their mental well-being. As we highlight Canadian Mental Health Week, it’s essential to recognize that mental health is just as vital as any other aspect of overall wellness and deserves serious attention. To assist small business owners in prioritizing their mental health, we’ve compiled a list of free tools and easily accessible resources.

What is Canadian Mental Health Week?

Canadian Mental Health Week is a nationwide movement that brings together individuals, communities, and organizations to shine a light on mental health. Every May, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) unites Canadians to participate in inspiring workshops, seminars, and community events, all designed to promote positive mental health practices and reduce stigma. This year’s theme, MY STORY, emphasizes the power of personal stories in fighting the stigma of mental illness. By sharing their experiences, individuals and communities can take meaningful steps towards building a more inclusive, supportive society where everyone can access the help they need.

Mental Health Resources for SMB Owners

Canadian small business owners are the cornerstone of our economy but also at the forefront of the mental health crisis. A staggering 66% of small business owners are at risk of burning out, according to a 2022 report by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) and Nexim Canada (PrimaSure). The sad truth is that many small business owners are struggling in silence, with only 27% seeking the support they need.

But here’s the thing: taking care of your mental health is not a luxury. It’s the key to running a well-functioning business and leading a fulfilling life. Whether you’re dealing with financial stress, long working hours, or a seemingly endless list of responsibilities, resources are available to help you and your team.

1. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)

The CFIB knows firsthand the challenges that small business owners face. That’s why they’ve launched an innovative new online platform called Workplace Wellness, designed to provide businesses with mental health resources and instructions on supporting wellness in the workplace. Created in collaboration with Nexim Canada (PrimaSure), this platform is a one-stop shop for everything from informative articles and engaging webinars to printable posters and customizable templates for creating a ”disconnecting from work” policy and respectful workplace guidelines.

2. BounceBack Program

The Canadian Mental Health Association offers a program called BounceBack®. This innovative program empowers adults to take control of their mental health by providing access to a range of self-help workbooks and trained coaches. With 20 workbooks and 12 booklets available, there’s something for everyone. Better yet, BounceBack® has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety by a staggering 50% upon completion. If you’re ready to bounce back and take charge of your mental health, this program is a great place to start.

3. Wellness Together Canada

The Government of Canada launched the Wellness Together Canada platform, an innovative online platform that connects Canadians with free mental health and substance use support. You can access confidential counselling, self-assessment and tracking tools, information and videos on mental health and substance use, and much more. With Wellness Together Canada available in English/French and accessible 24/7, you can get help when needed most.

4. Mental Health Commission of Canada

The Mental Health Commission of Canada provides a wealth of free resources, including tips for managing stress and anxiety, building resilience, and supporting employee mental health needs. In addition, for only $200, small business owners and their employees can access ‘The Working Mind’ program, a comprehensive mental health training program designed to help identify and manage mental health problems in the workplace. It might also be worth checking out ‘The National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace’. This invaluable roadmap can help you take the first steps toward creating a positive and supportive work environment for all.

Breaking the Taboo

It’s natural to feel a sense of pride and ownership over every aspect your business. However, being honest with yourself and recognizing your limitations is key to avoiding burnout. Overloading our brains can lead to mental exhaustion, just as overtraining can lead to physical injury. That’s why taking breaks, stepping away from work, and recharging are crucial to maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Mental health is no longer a taboo subject, and as Canadians, we must take the necessary steps to care for ourselves.