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Nottawasaga Futures partners with nearby townships to expand mental health supports for the business community

August 21, 2020   ·   0 Comments

Small businesses and entrepreneurs across Ontario, including New Tecumseth, have been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some have closed down permanently, while others struggle to scrape by, which is taking a major toll on their mental health.

In an effort to assist the local business community, Nottawasaga Futures has partnered with the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury, Innisfil and New Tecumseth to support a pilot program that expands mental health consultation services for the local business community.

“In speaking with the partners and municipalities we found that this whole COVID situation has added a level of stress and uncertainty that’s increasing feelings of helplessness amongst business owners,” said Nottawasaga Futures CEO Martin Kuzma.

Running a business is stressful enough at the best of times. Over 60 per cent of business owners say they felt depressed at least once a week in a 2019 study conducted by the Canadian Mental Health Association and Business Development Bank of Canada.

The pilot program hopes to address an even steeper decline in mental health as the local business community adapts to the “new normal.”

It builds upon Nottawasaga Futures consulting program to include confidential support sessions with mental health professionals for up to five hours, free of charge.

“We are pleased to collaborate with our partners in South Simcoe on this sorely needed program” noted Kuzma.

“Accessible mental health supports are critical for business owners and entrepreneurs.”

Kuzma said it’s hard for business owners to be in good spirits through the pandemic as they are unsure when it will end, or if their business will ever return to what it was prior to the lockdown.

The pilot program is funded for 12 months, at which time Nottawasaga Futures and its partners will review the demand and how the mental health consulting services can be improved.

Kuzma said he encourages any business owner who has felt increased stress to reach out.

“Take advantage of this program…I think people can benefit from even sitting down for one hour and speaking with a mental health consultant,” he said.

Any entrepreneurs interested in accessing the program can contact Kuzma at or 705-435-1540.

The program is not designed to respond to crisis situations. In the event of a crisis, instead call 1-855-310-COPE (2673).

By Sam Odrowski
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter


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