As we meander into June, aside from the much-anticipated bursts of summer sunshine and the hopeful rustling of vacation plans, it’s also time to focus our attention on a rather profound topic that often gets overlooked. Yes, you guessed it – it’s Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month.
PTSD isn’t a distant concept. It isn’t confined to the battlefields or to harrowing incidents on TV news channels. It’s real, raw, and sometimes regrettably close to home. And guess what? It doesn’t just affect individuals. It has a unique, albeit silent, impact on small businesses too, particularly here in the UK.
Impact of PTSD on Small Businesses
Running a small business can be exciting, exhilarating even. But, let’s face it, it can be equally stressful, especially with the challenges presented by our post-pandemic world. Small businesses often bear the brunt of significant life events, including those that can lead to PTSD, such as the sudden loss of a business partner or the struggle to keep the business afloat in turbulent times.
The mental health of business owners and their employees is intertwined with the health of the business. When PTSD kicks in, the symptoms – sleeplessness, anxiety, irritability, and difficulty concentrating – can seep into the workplace, affecting productivity, creativity, and overall job performance. In the intimate setting of a small business, the ripple effects can be particularly potent.
But here’s the thing. As a nation, we Brits are known for our grit, resilience, and ‘keep calm and carry on’ spirit. And it’s during PTSD Awareness Month that we need to bring this spirit into our small businesses more than ever.
Encourage others to seek help
We can begin by acknowledging that it’s okay to seek help, to reach out. Businesses need to foster a culture where mental health isn’t stigmatized but recognised as an essential part of our overall wellbeing. Employee assistance programs, mental health days, resilience training – these should be on the top of our business to-do list.
Improve culture within the workplace
Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, representing an impressive 99.3% of all private sector businesses at the start of 2021. Their success hinges not just on economic factors but also on the mental health of the people behind them. So, during PTSD Awareness Month, let’s remember that the conversation around PTSD is not just about raising awareness. It’s about creating an environment in which those who are suffering can seek help without fear or shame.
Take the lead and undertake Mental Health First Aid Training
If you’re a small business owner, take the lead in fostering this culture. Start conversations about mental health. Offer resources, flexibility and a listening ear to your team members who might be struggling. After all, a business is only as strong as the people behind it.
You probably have a First Aider in your business as it is law, but do you have a Mental Health First Aider?
Know that help is at hand
And to those living with PTSD, know this: your struggles are real, but they don’t define you. Reach out, speak up, and take it one step at a time. The storm may be raging now, but remember, even the most violent storms do pass. You’re not alone in this journey, and help is closer than you think.
So, this June, let’s remember that while we’re making strides in our businesses, we must also make strides in looking after each other. Because, at the end of the day, our businesses are built on people, and people matter.