Simply Business warns over 90% of SME owners don't think the government is doing enough to support mental health

According to the latest research conducted by Simply Business and Mental Health at Work, mental health is a distinct problem within the small business community with over 70% of SME owners taking less than 20 days off annually.

Related topics:  Simply Business,  SMEs
Protection Reporter
26th May 2023
Small Business
"We know that small businesses and the self-employed are often overlooked when it comes to public workplace mental health initiatives."
- Andrew Berrie, head of workplace wellbeing at Mind

Of those surveyed (700), Simply Business has revealed that 73% of SME owners take less than 20 days annually which is drastically below the UK statutory annual leave entitlement. Despite recognising the importance of mental health proactivity, the broker noted that many SME owners feel that time off simply isn’t possible, despite 15% believing that reduced annual leave was directly impacting mental health.

Notably, 90% of those surveyed believe the government is currently failing to support the mental health of the self-employed. The broker highlighted that key aspects of government support which are currently inadequate include, statutory sick pay and holiday entitlement.

Considering these statistics, Simply Business has partnered with Mental Health at Work, donating £100k to support the self-employed who are struggling with mental health in the UK. Offering access to Mental Health at Work’s resources for SME owners, Simply Business has also announced it is offering the chance to win a £2k wellbeing package – including holiday vouchers, access to a virtual assistant, and financial and business coaching.

Commenting on these findings, Bea Montoya, chief operating officer at Simply Business, has said:

“The worrying state of small business owners’ mental health has been laid bare in our recent research – with over half suffering from poor mental health in the last 12 months alone. During a cost of living crisis, the self-employed are working at capacity. Long hours, rare breaks and sleepless nights are leaving many on the brink of burnout. 

“And the situation should concern us all. Small businesses are vital to both our economic recovery and the prosperity of our communities, and this will only compound the challenges of an increasingly economically inactive population. 

“It’s critical that the real people behind the country’s SMEs are given the support they need. That’s why we’ve partnered with Mental Health at Work to raise awareness of the challenges facing this audience, and create tailored resources designed to help.” 

Andrew Berrie, head of workplace wellbeing at Mind, said:

“We know that 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 have only made it more difficult for these small organisations and business owners to prioritise wellbeing at work.

“Results from our survey in partnership with Simply Business shine a light on how crucial it is that we act, right now, to support these groups. The results expose a mental health crisis, with over half of respondents struggling with poor mental health in the last year, many experiencing insomnia, working long hours, and very rarely taking breaks - it’s a recipe for burnout. 

“Simply Business and Mental Health at Work are working together to make a real difference in addressing this issue. Together, we're providing accessible, bespoke support for small business owners and the self-employed, to enable them to make positive changes to their mental health.”

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