Poor mental health is not uncommon amongst SME owners, and with the pandemic forcing small businesses to endure even more challenges than normal, it’s no surprise that this has worsened.

However, according to recent research from iwoca, only 30 per cent of small business owners have sought professional help from a counsellor or therapist.

Of over 1,000 business leaders surveyed, it was revealed that the biggest obstacle when it came to accessing help for mental health was a lack of information.

One in four (24 per cent) said they did not know support for small businesses existed, and one in five do not feel comfortable talking about their mental health.

Does owning a business negatively impact your mental health?

The survey revealed that more than a quarter (27 per cent) of small business owners believe owning a business impairs their mental wellbeing, while36 per cent suffer with anxiety and one in five show symptoms of depression numerous times a month –an increase of 57 per cent when the survey was last carried out in January 2021.

Three in four (72 per cent) business owners are worried about cash flow and 55 per cent are concerned about having to temporarily close their firms. This is compared with 51 per cent and 63 per cent respectively in January 2021.

How do we improve these statistics?

Seema Desai, Chief Operations Officer at iwoca, said: “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.

“So, 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.”

Desai added, “We’ve been providing mental wellbeing support via Spill for iwoca employees for over a year – it’s one of our most loved benefits. Given what we’ve learnt about the mental health needs of small business owners, we’re now excited to extend this offering to them – to ensure they have access to the best support out there, for free.”

Free therapy sessions for small business owners

To provide SMEs owners with the mental health support they need, iwoca is launching free therapy sessions in the UK – in partnership with therapy platform Spill. All SME owners will be able to partake in video sessions with trained mental health professionals.

What should you do if you are struggling?

As we await the launch of iwoca’s free therapy sessions for small business owners, it’s important to regularly check in with yourself, and seek help where available.

Many local areas in England have Urgent Mental Health Helplines that you can contact 24/7. To find out if your area has an Urgent Mental Health Helpline click here.

If you are struggling with your mental health and need someone to talk to, The Samaritans are available for free 24/7 on 116 121.