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150460 - Counting on U training to enhance trusting relationships and mental health literacy among business advisors, protocol for a randomised controlled trial.pdf (1.42 MB)

Counting on U training to enhance trusting relationships and mental health literacy among business advisors: protocol for a randomised controlled trial

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posted on 2023-05-21, 08:29 authored by Saxon, L, Bromfield, S, Leow-Taylor, SH, Vega, CE, Berk, M, LaMontagne, AD, Angela MartinAngela Martin, Mohebbi, M, Nielsen, K, Reavley, NJ, Walker, A, Conway, A, de Silva, A, Memish, K, Rossetto, A, Tanewski, G, Noblet, A


Financial distress is thought to be a key reason why small-medium enterprise (SME) owners experience higher levels of mental health conditions compared with the broader population. Business advisors who form trusting, high-quality relationships with their SME clients, are therefore well placed to: (1) help prevent/reduce key sources of financial distress, (2) better understand the business and personal needs of their clients and, (3) recognise the signs and symptoms of mental health conditions and encourage help-seeking where appropriate. The aim of this study is to compare the effectiveness of relationship building training (RBT) combined with mental health first aid (MHFA) training for business advisors with MHFA alone, on the financial and mental health of their SME-owner clients.


This is a single blind, two-arm randomised controlled trial. Participants will be business advisors who provide information, guidance and/or assistance to SME owner clients and are in contact with them at least 3 times a year. The business advisors will invite their SME-owner clients to complete 3 online surveys at baseline, 6- and 12-months. Business advisors will be randomised to one of two conditions, using a 1:1 allocation ratio: (1) MHFA with RBT; or (2) MHFA alone, and complete 3 online surveys at baseline, 2- and 6-months. Primary outcomes will be measured in the business advisors and consist of the quality of the relationship, stigmatizing attitude, confidence to offer mental health first aid, quality of life and provision of mental health first aid. Secondary outcomes will be measured in the SME owners and includes trust in their business advisors, the quality of this relationship, financial wellbeing, financial distress, psychological distress, help-seeking behaviour, and quality of life. To complement the quantitative data, we will include a qualitative process evaluation to examine what contextual factors impacted the reach, effectiveness, adoption, implementation, and maintenance of the training.


As there is evidence for the connections between client trust, quality of relationship and financial and mental wellbeing, we hypothesise that the combined RBT and MHFA training will lead to greater improvements in these outcomes in SME owners compared with MHFA alone.


Publication title

BMC Psychiatry



Article number









Menzies Institute for Medical Research


Biomed Central Ltd

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

© The Author(s) 2022. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License, ( which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made.

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  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Occupational health

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