A new report from the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) of 1,500 Canadian small business owners found that 45% experience mental health challenges weekly. This percentage is up seven times from last year. SME owners’ mental health decline has been believed to be a result of inflation and lack of a structure when it comes to work-life balance.
More than half of the respondents revealed inflation to be the cause of their stress and mental health struggles. An additional 54% indicate work-life balance struggles to be the root of their issues. The survey was conducted among SME entrepreneurs across the country from February 20 to March 3, 2023. The report is included in a segment of yearly surveys conducted by the BDC since 2018 in an effort to have a better understanding of Canadian business owners, the challenges they face, and the reason for them.
“Canadian entrepreneurs are facing a daunting challenge in today’s economic context, compounded by the scars left by the COVID-19 pandemic. Inflation rates and other factors are affecting their business in ways that are harder to control, leaving many entrepreneurs resorting to working even longer hours just to stay afloat. This is amplifying their mental health stresses because of the sometimes-devastating consequences on their personal lives and overall well-being,” explained Annie Marsolais, chief marketing officer and mental health advocate at BDC.
Younger Entrepreneurs Seeking Mental Health Help
The survey results found a drastic difference between young and old entrepreneurs. In fact, half of the respondents under the age of 45 years old have sought some source of professional aid for their mental health challenges in the last year. Whereas, only a quarter of small business owners over that age desired and registered for therapy or mental health support.“This stark divide underlines the pressing need for entrepreneurs to prioritize their mental well-being to thrive in the long term. The younger generation’s proactive approach to dealing with mental health sets a powerful precedent for future entrepreneurs, challenging the status quo and paving the way for a healthier business ecosystem,” stated Marsolais.
Stability and security for Canadian entrepreneurs is vital and is, unfortunately, being compromised at the cost of success in business. The survey intends to raise awareness surrounding mental health in the small business world. “Entrepreneurship is incredibly challenging on the best of days, and we know that still too many entrepreneurs struggle in silence. While making mental health support more accessible and affordable might not seem like something a typical bank would do, it speaks to the developmental nature of BDC,” Marsolais added. “We’re with entrepreneurs every step of the way, and if better mental health contributes to healthier businesses, then we will rise to the challenge.”