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New research: Small business and mental health through the pandemic

The Treasury has released a report looking at small businesses' mental health throughout the pandemic. The research took place in January and February of 2022, in which 1007 small business owners completed a survey that explored key issues relating to mental health and COVID-19. A summary of the key findings can be found below.

  • Almost a quarter of small business owners were diagnosed with a mental health condition by a doctor or health professional in recent months. Some industry groups had higher diagnosis rates, with around a third of respondents from manufacturing, retail, accommodation and food services, construction, and health care and social assistance industries reporting mental illness.
  • During the pandemic, the top stress for small business owners was finding a balance between work, family, and personal life demands. This was followed by the impact of lockdowns due to COVID-19 on business and social aspects of life.
  • A quarter of business owners look after their wellbeing by connecting with others. A further 17% said that they just deal with the stress. Seeking professional help was the least common method for monitoring and maintaining wellbeing.
  • Small business owners preferred to seek support from a family member for their wellbeing. This was followed by looking online and seeking support from a friend or colleague.
  • Half of the participants preferred a face-to-face format for professional support services. This was followed by support online, over the phone, and via an app.
  • For roughly half of the participants, cost and lack of time were the main barriers preventing them from seeking help.
  • Stigma was a concern for business owners, with approximately half stating that they would be more likely to seek support if they could remain anonymous. In addition, people believed they would be treated poorly if they disclosed having been diagnosed with a mental illness.

If you would like more information on this research, you can read the full report by the Treasury.

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