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Almost half of business owners suffering from anxiety

New research from MYOB reveals the impact the pandemic has had on the mental wellbeing of Australian SMEs.

1 February 2022

According to MYOB’s recent Business Monitor, which sampled more than 1,000 SMEs in December, there is a significant presence of mental health issues among Australian business owners.

The research found that 45% of SMEs thought running a business over the past 12 months had caused them anxiety, while 24 per cent said it had led to depression.

In rating their own level of wellbeing from zero being “very poor” to 10 being “excellent”, 32% of SME owners and operators scored themselves five or lower, the report found.

The results see mental health come in as the most immediate concern for business owners, up 2 percentage points from June 2021.

The key reasons for business-related causes of mental health challenges among working Australians were identified as financial concerns/cash flow (29%) and the COVID pandemic and its wider economic impact (27%). 

“While the data is confronting, it is unfortunately not surprising given the difficult journey Australian small businesses have been on over the past two years. We have been talking to small business owners about their mental health and wellbeing during this time, as for many the ongoing pressures faced as a result of the pandemic have been substantial,” said Helen Lea, chief employee experience officer at MYOB.

“The extent of mental health concerns in particular sectors is evident, with 65% of those in transport, postal and warehousing, and 60% in retail and hospitality experiencing stress in running their business in the past 12 months.

“In 2020, MYOB partnered with Smiling Mind to create dedicated small business content for the 2.4 million small businesses in Australia, as one way of supporting the SME community.

“As we move toward a COVID normal world, it is important for Australians to be supporting the small business community and for business owners to take preventative steps in looking after their wellbeing.”

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