World Mental Health Day: Pandemic takes its toll on SME-owner mental health
We approach World Mental Health Day 2021 following almost two years of varying pandemic restrictions, economic stress and political turmoil. The turbulence from various events has combined to change the business landscape significantly, forging new challenges for business owners to navigate, impacting their mental health status.
Following recent research into entrepreneurs’ mental health, SME accounting experts at The Accountancy Partnership are urging small business owners to be aware of their mental state and how to seek help when necessary.
Lee Murphy, managing director at The Accountancy Partnership, said: “The events of the past 18 months have affected different people in lots of different ways, with the pressure of running a business taking its toll on many owners. Our research shows that six in 10 SME owners have experienced some kind of decline in their mental health which has led to them seeking help. For a quarter (26%), this involved speaking to a family member, friend or colleague and a further 12% have turned to a professional for support and guidance.
“When asked what has been most detrimental to entrepreneurial mental health, the pandemic (55%), general strains of running a business (25%) and Brexit (19%) were the most cited issues. Despite Covid restrictions being lifted, we are still experiencing its economic impacts, the repercussions of Brexit continue to be felt and the rigours of running a business are unlikely to ever change, so it’s clear that entrepreneurs need to access resources to support their mental wellbeing.
“A surprising finding in our research was the very few SME owners are turning to digital wellbeing means such as apps or online resources – just 4% in total. These are easy to access, often free and would offer confidential support to the 6% of business owners who are concerningly not comfortable asking for help.
“This World Mental Health Day, we are encouraging SME owners to take control over their mental wellbeing and be confident that nobody is alone in finding that running a business can be mentally straining. It would be positive to see more entrepreneurs openly discussing mental health, offering support to peers and removing the stigma around mental wellbeing in business.”