Together, we can deal with it.
In September, "R U OK?" day was promoted across Australia, October saw "Mental Health Month" recognised across several states, and November will see the return of bristles to the upper lip of men everywhere. The importance of these mental health initiatives and maintaining an awareness of the challenges people face and the help available cannot be understated.
Financial stress is recognised as a significant contributor to adverse mental health. A Beyond Blue survey in March found that 1 in 3 people reported cost-of-living pressures had negatively impacted their mental health, and more than 30% of respondents reported financial stress and difficulties on their current income in a poll conducted by the Australian National University. Recent inflation reports predict a cash rate increase by the Reserve Bank of Australia in November, which will impact interest rates and further stretch household budgets and tip people into some degree of financial stress.
It is well known that long-term stress can lead to severe physical and psychological problems. Professional advisors have a role to play in recognising when clients may need help and what appropriate resources they can be referred to.
While we are not mental health professionals, we do have significant experience dealing with people in financial stress. Many of our staff and Principals have undertaken mental health training, and we look to maintain an empathetic and respectful approach when dealing with people facing financial distress. This often involves working to remove the stigma commonly associated with an insolvency appointment and reframe it for what it's intended to be: financial relief or rehabilitation.
When people come to us for assistance, many are already in a state of heightened mental stress. The relief becomes significantly apparent when some form of action to address their financial issues is implemented e.g. by appointing a bankruptcy trustee or liquidator, or developing a restructuring plan via a small business restructuring to save a business without the burden of unmanageable legacy debt.
You would have heard countless times that early intervention leads to better outcomes, which is not only true financially for a business's viability but also for the sake of a person's mental and physical health.