It's All Savvy - Mental Health Issues

Dealing With Mental Health Issues as a Small Business Owner

In today’s society, small business owners face many challenges. From running their businesses successfully while taking care of themselves and their families. One of the most common issues faced by entrepreneurs is mental health. Some studies finding around 80% of entrepreneurs may suffer from depression or anxiety at some point in their career. When you’re working full-time on your business, trying to be an active parent, and keeping up with everything else life throws at you, it can be hard to manage everything without feeling overwhelmed. However, the struggle of being a small business owner with mental health issues is real and common, you are not on your own.

What is mental health?
Our mental health refers to our overall wellbeing. It includes how we feel and think about ourselves, others, and our environment. Mental health is vitally important as it helps us manage stress, anxiety, difficult thoughts and feelings that can happen throughout life. Our mental health affects how we interact with other people and tackle challenges in everyday life.

When depression interferes with your job
If you’re in business for yourself, it can be challenging to find balance between your health and your career. Even if you are lucky enough to have a team managing things on-site, your day-to-day tasks still can stress you out, and since no one can see what you’re going through, it’s easy to convince yourself that there is something wrong with feeling down. Depression can be completely debilitating and it is incredibly tough running a businesses, taking care of staff or engaging and being cheery with customers with a silent tonne weight sitting on your shoulders.

When anxiety interferes with your job
The struggle of being a small business owner with mental health issues is real. If you’re an entrepreneur and you have anxiety, it can feel like your entire world revolves around managing your mental health symptoms. It takes up time that you could be using to think about new ways to market your business or to cut your costs. Even worse, if you don’t get enough sleep because of worries about work, it can contribute to physical problems as well as increased stress in your personal relationships which make your overall anxiety levels dip further.

When your colleagues are suffering
If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction, mental health issues, or physical illness that affects their job performance, contact your boss. You don’t have to tell them exactly what it is unless you want to. Simply let them know that something else is going on in your life and ask for their support. Bosses are often receptive to issues such as these if approached in a mature way.

How can I cope with mental health issues?
Having mental health issues can be extremely difficult, especially when you have to manage your own personal needs alongside business needs. There’s no easy way to get through hard times like these, but it is possible. Identifying stressors and triggers can help, and most importantly recognising that you need a hand and getting support is a big step.

Do I need professional help?
Maybe. If you’re going through major life changes (like having kids, dealing with health issues or losing your job), or if you have anxiety disorders, then yes. It’s important to note that most mental illnesses are highly treatable: In fact, 90 percent of people who seek and receive treatment recover from mental illness in their lifetime. But that treatment is more effective when it’s started earlier on—so don’t wait too long before reaching out for help.

Resources for further reading
Although small business owners have access to fewer mental health resources than large company employees, entrepreneurs and people looking to become entrepreneurs can turn to friends, family members and professionals for guidance. Here are some ideas for places you can start for all members of our Savvy Community…




New Zealand:


Crisis Services Canada