Mental health

Mental health top concern for owners

by Angus Jones

Nearly half (46%) of small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) owners agree that running their own business has directly contributed to feelings of anxiety or depression. According to the latest MYOB Business Monitor, for a quarter (26%) of respondents, mental health is their most immediate concern.

The research of 1000+ small business owners and operators found that running their business over the last 12 months caused more than half (52%) of respondents stress, up seven percentage points from this time last year (45% in June 2020). Forty-five per cent experienced anxiety in this latest survey, and a quarter (26%) felt depression, up from the 20% who experienced it 12 months ago.

The retail and hospitality sectors have been hit particularly hard, with more than two thirds (68%) reporting their business has caused them stress. Fifty-seven per cent in the sector felt anxiety and 45% experienced feelings of depression.

MYOB Chief Employee Experience Officer, Helen Lea, said as the economy starts to recover it’s important that the country’s 2.29 million small businesses acknowledge the mental health impacts of the past 18 months.

“As rewarding as it can be, running a small business brings with it a range of stressors and challenges at the best of times, let alone in the midst of a pandemic. Last year was trying for small businesses and the data shows owners and operators may be feeling its effects for some time to come.

“As some businesses come out the other side of the pandemic and move from recovery to growth, we want to remind small businesses of the tools available to them to help manage their mental health.”

MYOB has partnered with Smiling Mind, a leading mental health prevention not-for-profit, to create mindfulness activities specifically for small business owners. These focus on key areas such as stress management, relationships and resilience.

“As the lifeblood of the Australian economy, small businesses need environments in which they can thrive, eliminating points of stress where possible,” Ms Lea said.

“This might include scheduling proper downtime or incorporating time to exercise or meditate into your day.” 

Resources available to small business owners include NewAccess developed by Beyond Blue, Smiling Mind Small Business Program and Lifeline.

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