The truth is, small businesses and the self-employed are often overlooked when it comes to public workplace mental health initiatives. These communities face unique challenges, and the events of recent years (like Covid-19 and the cost-of-living crisis, to name a couple) have only made it more difficult to prioritise wellbeing at work.
Stress, anxiety, and depression are common mental health problems for small business owners and the self-employed. And, typically, these groups work long hours – at least 10 hours more per week than the average UK worker – holidays are few and far between, and insomnia is a regular experience. It’s a recipe for burnout.
But how can you look after your mental health at work? It can feel really daunting – with so much information out there, what’s applicable to you? And where do you start?
Speak up, and reach out
Sophie from Mental Health at Work, a programme curated by Mind, the mental health charity, says the first step is often the hardest – but it’s the most important.
“Get talking,” she says. “Starting the conversation around how you’re doing right now, or asking your peers that very question, can feel scary but it’s crucial.” Creating an environment in which you and your staff feel safe to open up is the gateway to creating a truly supportive workplace culture.
“We know reaching out can feel vulnerable sometimes, but please know, you’re not alone in how you feel. You’re never alone.”
Knowledge is power
We know that, in business, time very often equals money. But, as Sophie says, “building your understanding and awareness of mental health conditions and experiences will help you better support yourself and your colleagues.” You may feel more prepared to spot the signs of poor mental health early, so you don’t reach crisis point.
Access content that’ll support you
Mental Health at Work has partnered with Simply Business – one of the UK’s largest business insurers – to create a growing collection of resources to support you and your wellbeing at work. To kick off the partnership, over 700 self-employed people and small business owners were surveyed on their mental health right now, and truthfully, the results expose a mental health crisis. Something needs to change.
This Mental Health Awareness Week, Mental Health at Work and Simply Business are launching their respective wellbeing hubs. Learnings from the survey will shape new content to really support small business owners and the self-employed. You’ll also find real-life stories, bespoke guides and resources, and mental health toolkits.