Stressed-out small-business owners have been given free access to mental health and wellbeing support.
Leading educator The Mind Lab has joined with digital mental health and wellbeing website Clearhead to provide help to business owners.
One in five small-business owners previously reported their business would not survive another lockdown so the current level 4 lockdown has already resulted in increased mental health distress, said Clearhead CEO Dr Angela Lim.
"During previous lockdowns, we saw that financial concern was the number one concern for our users," Lim said.
"This will be prevalent again within small-business owners now that we are in another prolonged lockdown period."
Lim urged business owners to sign up to Clearhead, a digital mental health and wellbeing website and app providing 24/7 support across New Zealand.
The free service was available to all small businesses signed up to Digital Boost, a free skills training support programme run by The Mind Lab.
Digital Boost offered training in areas such as websites, digital marketing, small business accounting, customer insights and business growth, and future technologies.
So far, 35,000 small businesses had signed up for the free online training. All would have free access to the Clearhead support.
Lim said Clearhead's data was able to provide real-time information on the mental health of small-business owners around New Zealand.
"The lockdowns in 2020 showed the proportion of those with severe mental health distress including suicidal thoughts increased eight times and our public system is collapsing under the demand," she said.
"Clearhead is really helpful for people to figure out why they are feeling a certain way and direct them to seek help when they need it."
Lim said Clearhead, which was designed by New Zealand doctors, had access to 250 trained therapists and short wait times of around a week.
Support is given through a digital wellbeing assistant online or through text messages.
The app provided free mental health resources and helped find therapists and counsellors.
It also developed a personalised wellbeing plan so users could keep track of moods, set personal goals, and manage anxiety and depression.
Frances Valintine, founder of The Mind Lab, said free access to Clearhead for small businesses was invaluable.
"With the devastating news of another level 4 lockdown, this has left many feeling overwhelmed and anxious for the future," she said.
"We want to let small-business owners know Clearhead can support them through these difficult times, they don't need to suffer through it alone."
Small businesses needed to sign up for Digital Boost to access Clearhead. Both services are free.
To sign up to Digital Boost click here. To access Clearhead click here.