Small Business and Mental Health - Through the Pandemic

Publication type


The report, Small Business Mental Health: Through the Pandemic, is based on the findings of a survey conducted nationally over 6 weeks in early 2022 with 1,007 small business owner participants.

The findings indicate that there are high levels of mental ill‑health within the small business sector, suggesting a continued need for tailored small business mental health initiatives.

  • Twenty‑two per cent of small business respondents — just over 1 in 5 — reported having been diagnosed with a mental ill‑health condition by a doctor or health professional in recent months. In some industry groups the figures were higher at around one in three.
  • A key cause of stress for small business owners was finding a balance between the demands of work, family and personal life followed by lockdowns due to COVID‑19.
  • Stigma associated with mental ill‑health is still an issue with 46 per cent of respondents thinking they would be treated poorly if they disclosed they had been diagnosed with a mental illness.
  • Barriers to accessing support include the cost (54 per cent), lack of time (49 per cent), and services not understanding the needs of small businesses (39 per cent).

This report is a follow up to an earlier 2020 report, Small Business and Mental Health: Supporting Small Business when they are Facing Challenges.

These reports are intended to help to increase knowledge of the issues affecting the wellbeing of small business owners and inform their support needs.