You may have noticed a focus on our mental health providers and the wonderful work they do in recent weeks. The World Mental Health Day was on October 10th and provides an opportunity for stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide.

We all know that much more needs to be done in New Zealand to improve our mental health services. Unfortunately, our local businesses often need to deal with team members who are suffering, but with managers and owners who feel ill equipped to provide the right support at the right time.

In these tough economic times, many business owners are facing huge pressure to keep the work coming in, pay the bills on time and to keep the team happy, focused and on track. It is vital to maintain our own well being just to stay on top of things. Easy to say but not always easy to accomplish. So, what can we do as business owners to look after both ourselves and our valued people when it comes to mental health?

Firstly, maintain a work life balance as best you can. Stay physically healthy with lots of exercise and a good diet. Learn some stress relief techniques such as meditation, deep breathing and mindfulness. Learn to delegate effectively and build a support network with someone you can trust to talk to. Set yourself reasonable goals and be realistic. Consider getting yourself an advisor/coach and, if things are getting bad, seek help through your GP.

In the past three years we have noticed a considerable increase in helping clients deal with mental health crises with their staff and themselves having difficulty in dealing with the stress of coping. When we are aware of issues, we can identify areas to focus on so that things can improve and turn around. The old saying “a problem shared is a problem halved”, is never truer than in supporting our people in mental health.