A mental health crisis is looming among small business owners, according to a study by small business insurance provider Simply Business.
According to the study, 82% of those surveyed reported that their mental health has already declined due to the pandemic, as more challenges await the self-employed.
The survey also revealed that almost half (47%) of respondents were worried about their mental health in 2021, with one in five (19%) believing their mental health was in a ‘bad’ place due to the pandemic.
Overall, a third (30%) experienced depression, three in five (62%) have been affected by stress and over half (55%) have suffered from anxiety. With SME owners still facing challenges in 2022, there continues to be a risk to small business owners’ mental health, Simply Business suggested:
“These statistics are particularly concerning when paired with the difficult circumstances many still find their businesses in, due to the pandemic. More than half (52%) live in fear of future lockdowns and the impact it could have on trade.”
“Meanwhile, one in five (21%) believe supply chain issues will hit them hard – with ongoing challenges in getting goods to customers, or sourcing the stock they need. A further fifth (20%) have experienced difficulty bringing in enough customers to help with their financial recovery from COVID-19.”
On the upside, many small business owners are taking deliberate steps to improve their mental health.
Two in three (67%) are spending more time outside and in nature where possible, while a further 64% are exercising more frequently and dedicating more time to connecting with friends and family (also 64%).
A third (32%) have used reading as a tool to improve their wellbeing, while 27% have turned to gardening. Other activities which small business owners say help their wellbeing include mindfulness and meditation (25%) and exploring arts and crafts (21%).
Alan Thomas, UK CEO at Simply Business, commented: “Small business owners have encountered countless challenges during the course of the pandemic, with COVID-19 costing owners over £20,000 each on average. Livelihoods are on the line, and understandably this has had a huge impact on people’s wellbeing – with a staggering 82% reporting poor mental health last year.”
“Entering 2022, it’s clear that many of these challenges remain – from staff shortages to supply chain issues. This worrying situation should concern us all, because small businesses are crucial to our economy and communities – and will be central to our collective recovery.”