Mental Health First Aid
Over the last few weeks, I (Melissa) have undertaken training to obtain my certification as a Standard Mental Health First Aider.
It has been somewhat confronting, but most definitely thought-provoking and useful.
What does it mean though?
Well - hopefully - it means we can be of more assistance to you, our clients.
2020 and 2021 have been rather difficult for so many people and it's only exacerbated the stresses and pressures people were already feeling. Add in working from home as opposed to an office with your team around you, and the feeling of isolation became all too real for so many especially during what seems like never-ending lockdowns, quarantines and restricted lifestyle.
For us, it was the added pressures the Governments has placed on accountants to provide services to clients to obtain JobKeeper, Cashflow Boost, State grants etc in addition to meeting the normal compliance and lodgement deadlines. Suffice to say, we've all been extremely busy and that doesn't appear to change any time soon.
Personally, my partner and I were in quaratine (among 17,500 or so others) in August 2021 as my partner's teens attend Indooroopilly State High School. We weren't set up to work from home, we rushed to get things together to give us some chance of getting some work done, but with my 2 bulging discs in my lower back, I ended up in a lot of pain as I didn't have the physical support I needed to sit or stand at my workstation. Until I realised I had a backyard and walked circles each day in the yard - yes - we are lucky to have a backyard and I am extremely thankful. That pain, it hinders any ability to focus, to sleep, to do anything including curling up in a ball as that's extremely painful too. It doesn't affect just my sit area in my back, it affects my entire left leg down to the toes and on occasion, my right leg. This is why we've been going to the gym since March 2020.
Unfortunately, even though we were in quarantine, my business, this business, it doesn't qualify for any Government support because aside from myself, I don't employ anyone (yet). When I read the eligibility criteria, I cried. What else could I do? My heart sunk feeling like all the work we do for our clients, the pain I went through to rush to work from home and stay there for 2 weeks, well, like I simply don't matter. That my business, the one I've been operating since 2011 and helping clients through some of their tough times and some of their best, that it doesn't matter.
So here's the thing - this is something I wouldn't normally talk to my clients about. Why? Well, because we feel we need to be professional, that we shouldn't talk about ourselves, that we should only talk about them and help them and that we don't want to be a burden. We forget that we are people too, and like many, we have our ups and our downs and really, without building rapport, without getting to know each other, how can we really trust each other? How do we know that we are the right fit for each other? That if I can't talk with you as you do with me, how do you know that you are comfortable with us looking after you and your finances and know that we do understand?
Depression, anxiety, substance misuse; it is common in our society and it shouldn't be taboo to talk about. Avoiding paperwork, avoiding looking at bank balances, avoiding picking up the phone; they are signs that something is going on. We can certainly help you with some of those things, and we can certainly talk with you about your struggles and stresses. If we can't help you, we can provide you some resources and contacts to reach out to who might be able to.
It's kind of funny. Before COVID-19 affected all our lives, our tagline was "we're all in this together" - because we are. We know how it is to run a business from an office, from home, from client's premises, from the passenger's side of your best friend's ride. We know how it is to have employees and need to pay them before we can pay ourselves. We know how it is to feed others before we feed ourselves. We know that we need to take time for ourselves but something else comes up that we need to take care of and we end up on the bottom of the list again. We know how it is to stretch ourselves so thin that we are worried we will never pick back up again. We know the black hole that feels insurmountable to get out of. We know how it feels like there's no hope and to wonder for weeks on end what the point is to any of it and why do we even bother.
But we also know what it is to have a support network of people around us to talk to with, to listen to us, to do things with, to work through the tough times with and enjoy the good times with. And that is what's helped us this past couple of years (and previously).
So with that, we are here to help where we can. We want to work with you to develop your ideas, to grow your business, achieve your goals, assist with your finances and the boring old compliance work like tax, bas, etc. We will listen to you, and we will do what we can to be there for you and help you build your support network.
This went on longer than I anticipated, but hey, here's a little about me, Melissa, that you may not have known before.