Small Business Owners: Alarming Rates of Depression, Stress and Anxiety


An alarming number of cases of stress, anxiety and depression have been reported among UK small business owners as many still struggle with the fallout from the pandemic.

The Small Business Insurer Study Simply business, published to mark UK Mental Health Awareness Weekfound that three in five small business owners report feeling stressed, more than half (53%) suffer from anxiety and a third (30%) from depression.

Well over two-fifths (46%) of small business owners have also suffered from sleep problems or insomnia and a quarter (25%) report low self-esteem.

Overall, more than three-quarters (78%) of self-employed people say the pandemic has had a negative impact on their mental health and wellbeing, with one-third (35%) describing it as severe.

A changing landscape brings new challenges

After two tumultuous years of closures, restrictions and uncertainties, the challenges facing homeowners today are proving no less difficult to manage.

A whopping 70% of small business owners now say rising costs are their biggest challenge. Meanwhile, nearly two-thirds (63%) say they have lost customers recently, and another third (35%) are struggling to manage supply shortages.

The threat of future restrictions

The study also found that two in five (38%) remain concerned about another lockdown or the possibility of tighter restrictions, given the impact it would have on their business.

One in five (20%) fear that the possibility of permanently closing their business will soon become a reality, should restrictions be reintroduced, while another fifth (20%) are expected to close temporarily.

It comes as 70% of small business owners say rising costs are their biggest challenge post-pandemic. Almost two-thirds (63%) are facing loss of customers and another third (35%) are facing supply shortages.

Financial worries are widespread

Incredibly, 87% of small business owners have lost money in the last two years, averaging £20,981 each, and financial worries remain one of the biggest stressors and anxieties for the self-employed.

While many have been able to recoup at least some of the losses from the pandemic, one in three (32%) still fear running out of money. More than one in 10 (13%) are also worried about being able to repay government loans taken out during the pandemic.

Perhaps most alarming is that more than one in 10 small business owners (12%) say they are at risk of bankruptcy in the coming months.

Call for more help from the government

Overall, two-thirds (63%) of small business owners say they don’t feel supported by the government after the end of Covid-19 restrictions and in the face of broader economic challenges.

Landlords are mainly asking for more financial support from the government to help them get back on their feet (46%) after the restrictions, while almost a quarter (23%) believe there should have been more consultation with the small businesses before restrictions are lifted. .

Alan Thomas, UK CEO at Simply Business, said: “Few people have been hit harder by the effects of the pandemic than the self-employed. Livelihoods are at stake due to Covid-19, with small business owners facing unprecedented pressure. This has clearly had a huge impact on the well-being of owners, with 78% of them believing that the pandemic has had a negative impact on their mental health.

“At Simply Business, we feel compelled to highlight this issue and provide practical support where we can. Supporting over 800,000 small business owners and owners helps us understand the specific wellness challenges. be faced by the self-employed and the underlying reasons for the data.

“Financial worries, rising costs and ongoing supply issues are having a significant impact on the mental health of many owners. That’s why, in addition to shining a light on the emerging wellness crisis within the small business community, we’ve partnered with a range of experts to offer free wellness advice and resources suitable for freelancers. »

Simply Business launched its Better for Business Wellness Center for small business owners – working with a range of experts to bring free personalized resources and wellness advice to the self-employed.

Read our latest findings on the impact of Covid-19 on small businesses in 2022 here:

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