Small businesses owners are undoubtedly some of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.  With the threat of lockdowns in WA looming it is hard for small businesses to find certainty in their operations or finances. Ongoing lockdowns in Sydney and Melbourne have caused psychological distress to local business owners who are struggling to stay afloat.  This has led to increasing mental health challenges, costing billions in lost productivity and mental harm.

Research conducted by the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Centre has investigated the effects of COVID-19 lockdowns, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne, on levels of psychological distress, hospitalisations and suicide.

The cost of the ongoing lockdowns is estimated at $1 billion a year in mental health harm, and July and August have cost an additional $1 billion in lost productivity. Noting the longer the disruptions and lockdowns get, the worse the outcomes.

Financial Counselling Australia has reported an increase in the number of calls to its helplines from small businesses struggling with the financial effects. The Small Business Debt Hotline received 80% more calls in July than in May.

The most frequent concerns for businesses owners are the inability to pay commercial leases, uncertainty around government support and issues with debt collectors. Financial Counselling Australia also reported general feelings of financial distress and frustration at the ongoing situation.

The challenges small business owners facing are not effectively being addressed by public policy. The University’s research projects a cost of more than $100 billion over five years as mental health issues have a long recovery time and significant ongoing consequences.

Mental Health Resources for Small Business Owners.

For assistance with HR and Safety management in your small business ProcessWorx can help. If you have queries about anything above and want advice personalised to your business, contact us on (08) 9316 9896, or email

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Written by Danielle McNamee

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