Business owners life’s can be stressful enough just by navigating the day-to-day. Due to the energy crisis and the cost of living rising it seems like the next few months are going to be difficult. Figures suggest that business owners in Wales are experiencing the highest levels of mental health issues when compared to the rest of the UK.
Finance is a key reason
Why is this? Well, the smaller businesses are struggling due to financial constraints according to the Corporate Finance Network and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.
Research has shown that forty-seven per cent of smaller Welsh businesses are expected to run out of money in the next year. A survey which polled from different accountants representing more than 17,600 Welsh businesses shed light on some of the reasons they could struggle to survive, which include; the energy crisis, interest rates rising from 0.25 per cent to 0.5 per cent, the impending health and social care levy, and the surging cost of inflation. The Federation of Small Businesses have issued a warning that members will feel the impact from the record high energy market prices. It’s worrying to think about the future and whether or not the prices will continue to inflate.
A UK wide problem
Almost 45 per cent of SME owners in Wales have experienced some level of anxiety, 34 per cent have experienced a decline in their mental health, and 28 per cent have been having difficulty sleeping. These feelings of panic aren’t just happening in Wales, they are being spread throughout the UK with reported worsened mental health rising to 17 per cent.
The Welsh Government are ‘continuing to act’ and give help as much as possible to small and medium businesses.
“We have pulled every lever possible to support businesses across Wales since the pandemic hit, and we continue to act to ensure needs are met” said a Welsh Government spokesperson.
They also went on to say: “Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve provided over £2.6bn of support to businesses throughout Wales to help them manage their way through difficult circumstances.”
Help is being provided by the Welsh Government but perhaps not enough is being done as mental health difficulties continue to rise.
A side effect from the pandemic
The pandemic has definitely had an effect on everyone’s mental health. More cases of people reporting panic attacks and symptoms of depression are rising. Alarmingly, 86 per cent of female business owners have reported poor mental health alongside the 77 per cent of males who also did. Despite the number of people affected by this, a staggering 44 per cent of small business owners have never sought after mental health support.
Simply Business recently did a survey of almost 800 small business owners in the UK. They found out that 82 per cent had reported issues with mental health within the last 12 months. Furthermore, “more than half of all business owners suffered from anxiety, 62 per cent have been affected by stress, and 30 per cent experienced depression.”
It has become apparent that mental health needs to be cared for more within businesses, and it needs to be talked about more openly to build less of a stigma around it so people are more inclined to go seek help.
There are ways of combating mental health issues within the work environment and at home, including making sure you are getting enough sleep, as being tired can impact your mental state tenfold. Setting boundaries for yourself when working and making sure to take adequate breaks also help. And as obvious as it may seem, talking about your problems with family, friends, or colleagues will really help as well.
Mental health is being discussed more recently than ever before and has become a bigger problem post-pandemic, affecting employees and employers. There is a legal responsibility for an employer to help with their employees mental health problems at work. Also, everyone should be taking care of their wellbeing in work and at home, from the employers to the employees.
Hopefully things will start looking up for the business owners and UK businesses will get a better grasp on exactly how to manage poor mental health and its growth during the energy crisis.
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