Mental health a key concern for SME owners

Small to medium enterprise (SME) owners are feeling the strain of running businesses, with over half (53 per cent) experiencing emotional strain from family and friends as a result of their business, up from 49 per cent last year.

The Bank of Queensland’s (BOQ’s) annual 2018 Business Balance Report found that SME owners were facing significant challenges and pressure points impacting their mental wellbeing, with 13 per cent having been diagnosed with stress, depression or anxiety in the last year and 34 per cent struggling to sleep.

The biggest worry of SME business owners was missing out on spending time with their loved ones due to the demands of running a business, with 59 per cent flagging this as a key issue. Managing cash was the biggest cause of stress, with 46 per cent admitting this stress compared to 37 per cent last year.

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The strain was especially felt by younger generations, with more than half of SME owners aged 18-29 and almost a third of those in their 30s regretting starting their business. For those over 50, this figure was just 13 per cent.

Group executive BOQ business, Brendan White, said it was important to understand the pressures faced by SME owners to ensure they received appropriate support. This could include seeking professional help with mental health; the majority of SME owners, at 81 per cent, had not sought mental health advice to help manage the strains they felt.

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