“Intrinsically linked”: COVID-19 financial stress causing mental health challenges for small business owners

mental health

Kate Carnell.

Small business ombudsman Kate Carnell has urged business owners to take steps to look after their mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, amid concern the stresses associated with trading through the outbreak are weighing on entrepreneurs.

While Australia’s small business mental health crisis is well documented, results of an online survey published by accounting platform MYOB on Monday found COVID-19 is emerging as a contributing factor to mental health challenges.

Of 1,000 small business owners asked what their “key business-related cause of mental health challenges” were between April 17 and May 22, more than a third (36%) answered “COVID-19 and its wider economic impact”.

About a quarter (26%) answered “Financial concerns/cash flow” amid the wide ranging trading downturn that’s accompanied the coronavirus outbreak, including the impact of trading restrictions throughout April and May.

Carnell says while one-in-four Australians experience depression or anxiety in their lifetime, small business owners’ mental health challenges may be “intrinsically linked” with the state of their businesses.

“Many small business owners will be focused on staying afloat right now, but it’s important to balance that with looking after yourself,” Carnell said.

Carnell has pointed business owners struggling with the pandemic to the recently launched My Business Health resource, a website dedicated to guidance about prevalent small business issues and advice about navigating mental health challenges.

The website has several in-depth tools designed to help business owners understand what government support is available to them, state-by-state and industry-by-industry.

Struggling? Help is available:

NOW READ: Most entrepreneurs aren’t OK: We must address Australia’s small business mental health crisis

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