Only a third of small business owners experiencing symptoms of poor mental health have sought professional help from a counsellor or therapist, research claims.
A survey of more than 1,000 small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) owners by alternative lender Iwoca has revealed that a lack of information related to tailored support was the biggest reason for not accessing mental health support.
The research, ahead of World Mental Health Day on 10 October, found that a quarter of business owners are unaware of help for firms and one in five do not feel comfortable talking about mental health.
The analysis also found that 27 per cent of small business owners believe that owning a business negatively impacts their mental health, while 36 per cent experience anxiety and one in five show symptoms of depression several times a month.
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Overall, 61 per cent of respondents said they experience at least one symptom of poor mental health several times a month, an increase from 57 per cent in January 2021.
Iwoca is aiming to help by launching free therapy sessions for all small business owners in the UK – in partnership with therapy platform Spill – to make it easier for people to access support.
All SMEs will be able to talk to trained mental health professionals via video.
“Our research lifts the curtain on the impact that running a business can have on the mental health of SME owners and the pressures that many of them face have worsened throughout the pandemic,” Seema Desai, chief operations officer at Iwoca, said.
“We must do everything we can to ensure our coffee shops, hairdressers and electricians can access the right support – tailored to them – to help them cope with the challenges that running a business can foster.”
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