Skip to content

Mental health in business

Recognise the signs of stress and know what to do about it.

On this page

  • Mental health during coronavirus
  • Signs and symptoms of stress
  • Learn how other business operators manage stress
  • Find out about resources to help

Additional COVID-19 Mental Health Support

The Australian Government will provide 10 additional Medicare subsidised psychological therapy sessions for people subjected to further restrictions in areas impacted by the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Learn more on the Department of Health website

Running your own business can be a very rewarding experience, but being the boss can also be stressful.  Prolonged stress can be a major issue and a risk factor for your mental health.

Mental health during coronavirus

Coronavirus is causing disruptions to many business owners across the state, increasing stress levels and impacting mental health. It is important you know how to look after your own mental health, as well as that of your employees.

To maintain your mental health during this difficult time, there are some simple things you can do, including:

  • eating well
  • staying active
  • using phone and video calls to keep in touch with friends, family, and the community; and
  • making a daily routine including the above.

Telehealth services are now available if you or your employees need additional mental health support. Through Telehealth you can consult with a medical professional and request a mental health plan by phone or video call.

Coronavirus mental health resources

Beyond Blue has tips to help you run your small business from home and information for small business owners on managing mental health during coronavirus.

Heads Up has a page with information for employees including tips for self-care if you lose your job and how to work productive and safely from home. has a dedicated page on coronavirus and mental health where you can find a range of free mental health resources in Australia.

Mental health resources

Here is a list of existing mental health resources that you can reach out to.


Understanding your behaviour can help you put controls in place to minimise the risk of escalating stress. These may be noticed by others or even yourself.

Altered behaviour

Signs and symptoms you should look out for are:

  • irritability
  • aggression
  • mood swings
  • poor concentration
  • poor decision making.

Altered work performance

Signs and symptoms you should look out for are:

  • low threshold for handling demands and achieving higher order tasks
  • increased mistakes and accidents
  • inability to make decisions/difficulty maintaining focus
  • not wanting to go to work
  • over working issues – unsure/worry
  • general decline in performance (quality/quantity)
  • reduced efficiency/increased procrastination.

Altered habits

Signs and symptoms you should look out for are:

  • eating more or less
  • drinking more
  • smoking more.

Altered appearance – may be noticed by others

Signs and symptoms you should look out for are:

  • lack of care in appearance
  • looking miserable
  • looking tired
  • looking nervous
  • looking agitated.

Helpful resources

Heads Up for small business

This section of the Heads Up website is a resource developed especially for SME owners and managers. It contains Information and resources to help you manage your own mental health and mental health issues you may experience in the workplace.

Access Heads Up

Seek professional help

If stress is getting on top of you remember there is support for you.


Use Australian Psychology Society website to search for a psychologist in your area that will be able to provide you with professional counselling services.


Relationships Australia aim to support all people in Australia to achieve positive and respectful relationships.


Small Business Mentoring Service offer a diverse range of mentors that can help you to navigate difficult business decisions.

Suicide and crisis support

If you are in an emergency, or at immediate risk of harm to yourself or others, please contact emergency services on 000.

To talk to someone now call:

  • Lifeline: 13 11 14
  • Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467

Case Study: How I manage business stress

'If I'm really struggling I'll do the one thing I could never do in an office - take a 30 minute power nap. I always feel super-charged afterwards and even slightly smug that there's no-one to lecture me on being indulgent.'

Janelle Carrigan, Royall Media

Read more about How I manage business stress

Business man sitting, leaning over his desk holding his head in his hands