MYOB on Thursday released the results of its latest Business Monitor which showed 46 percent of small business owners felt anxiety and depression as a result of running their own business, while 26 percent ranked mental health as an “immediate” concern.
The latest figures show that the pandemic is taking a toll on small business leaders beyond the economic impacts imposed upon them by lockdowns and withdrawn federal support.
Of the business leaders surveyed, 52 percent reported feeling stress as a result of operating over the last 12 months, up 7 percentage points from the same period last year.
Meanwhile, 45 percent of respondents reported experiencing anxiety, and 26 percent experienced depression, up from 20 percent from the same period last year.
Stress and anxiety levels surged highest among business leaders in the retail and hospitality sectors, as 68 percent of the business leaders working across these sectors reported feeling stress, while 45 percent reported having experienced feelings of anxiety and 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 toll the last 18 months is likely to take on their mental health.
“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,” Ms. Lea said. “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 as a result partnered with mental health not-for-profit Smiling Mind to offer support and activities to small business owners suffering as a result of a trying pandemic trading period. The partnership will focus on key issues like 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.”
The partnership is the latest in a series of efforts from across the profession to offer mental health support. In April, the accounting and bookkeeping peak bodies launched the Counting on U program.
It was made available for free to about 5,000 members of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, CPA Australia, the Institute of Public Accountants, and the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers after a successful pilot phase in February.
The program, dubbed as “one of the best courses” on the market, aims to upskill up to 5,000 practitioners with mental health first aid training by the end of the year.