Now, perhaps more than ever, looking after your mental health at work is crucial. It’s been a really tricky few years with many challenges including the Covid-19 pandemic, political instability, and now the cost-of-living crisis. The truth is, our mental health is impacted by all parts of our life. And as we spend more than a third of our time working (for small businesses owners that time is likely to be higher) taking care of your wellbeing at work has never been more important. And the good news is, it doesn’t have to be difficult. Making small changes can have a huge impact.
So, how are small businesses feeling, right now? The statistics speak for themselves. A recent survey of more than 600 small business owners revealed that one-in-five rate their current mental wellbeing as ‘bad’ or ‘very bad’, while just over half of those asked reported feelings of stress. Simply Business’ 2022 Insight report on 1000 SMEs found that 70% said rising costs was their biggest concern to business survival.
But the cost-of-living crisis isn’t the only factor affecting small businesses. The Covid-19 pandemic pushed businesses to the edge with constant restrictions which are still being felt today.
It’s easy to understand how the current economic climate is impacting the mental health and wellbeing of SME owners. In a separate study of 550 small business owners between 2021 and 2022, 58% of the self-employed said they suffered from poor mental health. 30% reported depression and 52% said they had anxiety. It’s clear that something needs to be done.
When it comes to support around wellbeing at work, the self-employed are often overlooked – on top of this it can be tricky to prioritise your mental health when you’re running your own business. Wellbeing isn’t always at the top of the to-do list. Helping SMEs with workplace mental health has never been more important and the mental health charity ‘Mind’ want to support as many business owners as they can.
The Mental Health at Work Programme, curated by Mind, exists to ensure that all employers and employees – regardless of background, role, sector, or business size – have access to mental health support so that they can thrive. The Mental Health at Work website is the first stop to help people find what they need for better workplace wellbeing. It’s also free to use. The website showcases original content that includes a range of tips, ideas, examples, and thought pieces on workplace mental health as it relates to different issues, people, and industries.
With more and more advice, recommendations, and tools to support workplace mental health available, the opportunity is here to make a real change. But where do you start? The Mental Health at Work Commitment can help.
Designed for organisations of all sizes from all sectors, the Mental Health at Work Commitment is a simple framework that builds on what we know about good workplace wellbeing. It’s based on the Thriving at Work standards, uses up-to-date research, and pulls from existing pledges and standards out there already – so it’s the only roadmap you need to follow to achieve better mental health at work.
By signing up to the Commitment, you’re declaring that the mental health of your employees is a priority for you – and you’re joining the movement of almost 2,500 likeminded employers, businesses, and organisations across the UK.
Support doesn’t end there. To further help SMEs, Mental Health at Work have partnered with Simply Business, one of the biggest business insurance providers in the UK. To kick off the partnership they’re in the research phase to understand the specific challenges and needs that these groups face when trying to access mental health support. They’ll build the results of the findings into recommendations for action to support the self-employed and small businesses on a national level.
We all have mental health, and everyone’s experience is different. By shedding light on these struggles, the Mental Health at Work programme seeks to normalise mental health, and support organisations of all sizes in making a positive change.
By checking out the website, or signing up to the newsletter, you’ll get access to everything from resources on supporting yourself and your workplace in working towards better mental health, guest blogs and other resources in the world of workplace wellbeing. It’s also where you’ll find a dedicated SME support page, once they launch.
Whoever you are and whatever you do for work, Mental Health at Work is here to support you.