The Australian Government recognises that the mental health and wellbeing of small business owners is integral to the health and wellbeing of their business, and that small business owners need targeted support. That is why the Government is investing in mental health and wellbeing initiatives—such as BusinessBalance and Ahead for Business—that are specifically tailored for small business owners.


Small businesses may be under increased financial and emotional pressure as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Australian Government is investing $11.6 million from 2020-21 through the BusinessBalance initiative, to help small business owners to access tailored mental health support and take proactive steps to improve their wellbeing. BusinessBalance includes two components—NewAccess for Small Business Owners, delivered by Beyond Blue, and Counting on U, delivered by Deakin University.

BusinessBalance has been designed to overcome the significant barrier of stigma that can be associated with mental ill-health. Research shows that small business owners trust their business advisers and turn to them for advice. BusinessBalance is holistic in approach, providing coaching to small business owners to improve their mental health and wellbeing, as well as providing mental health training to their business advisers.

NewAccess for Small Business Owners

The Australian Government is providing $8.4 million in funding for Beyond Blue’s NewAccess for Small Business Owners program to deliver tailored, free and confidential mental health support to small business owners.

NewAccess for Small Business Owners is designed to support small business owners manage life stress by providing up to six structured sessions with a trained mental health coach who has a background in small business. No doctor’s referral or mental health treatment plan is required. The program is available nationally and can be accessed via phone or video call.

Learn more about the NewAccess for Small Business Owners program.

Counting on U

The Australian Government is providing funding to Deakin University to deliver Counting on U, a professional development program for small business advisers.

Counting on U, is run in partnership with the Institute of Public Accountants, CPA Australia, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers, Beyond Blue, WorkSafe VIC and Mentally Well Workplaces. The program integrates mental health first aid training with relationship-centred, business mentoring to empower small business advisers to better support the mental wellbeing of their small business clients.

Learn more about Counting on U.

Read the BusinessBalance fact sheet.

Ahead for Business

Ahead for Business is the only bespoke digital hub designed to promote the wellbeing of small business owners. Through the Ahead for Business digital hub small business owners can access tailored resources, connect to the online community and track their mental health and wellbeing journey.

The Australian Government is providing an additional $0.9 million over four years from 2020–21 to continue the Ahead for Business program delivered by the mental health organisation Everymind. This builds on the Government’s earlier $3.1 million investment in Ahead for Business announced in the 2018–19 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook.

Learn more about Ahead for Business.

Read the Ahead for Business factsheet

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