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Campaign #FSBwellbeing

It’s okay to talk about mental health

FSB knows how important good mental health is – whether it’s for yourself as a business owner, or for those working in your business. Our wellbeing hub aims to empower you to learn more about mental health, challenge stigmas and show it’s ok to talk about mental health in the workplace.


Running your own business can be richly rewarding. When I talk to people who have made the brave step, they give me a number of reasons for doing it – the ability to realise a dream, employ people in their local community, achieve a better work/life balance, or simply be their own boss. 

Despite all the positives, the reality is that it does bring challenges that can make it harder to look after your mental health or cope with poor mental health – and when poor mental health affects you, or your staff, it can be difficult to know where to turn.

I know, all too well, the impact this can have. My own father suffered from depression for many years, something which impacted his ability to run and manage the family business. In fact, it was partly due to this that I decided to leave school when I was only sixteen in order to help run the business. Although, I have no regrets about that decision - and have enjoyed a very rewarding career running my family business - it has made me very conscious of the impact poor mental health can have on small business owners, as well as employees.

Mental health is a huge challenge for society. Government, business owners, and each of us as individuals can work together to help destigmatise mental health and create an open environment where we can all talk about, and take care of, each other’s mental health.

An estimated 300,000 people lose their job each year due to a mental health problem, something no employer – most of whom rightly take great pride in their role employing people – should want.

Despite this, many employees are still reluctant to talk about mental health at work. I believe that we, as business owners, must play a critical role in talking about mental health in the workplace and lead the way in both destigmatising mental health in the workplace and acting to help our people when they are struggling. By both talking about it and addressing it, we can help promote an open environment where people feel comfortable talking about the issues that are affecting them, work out what positive changes we can make in  the workplace, and make some progress to help each other.

Our campaign aims to provide a better understanding of mental health and how it can affect you and your employees. It aims to provide you with some simple ideas and actions that you can take to help destigmatise mental health and address it in your workplace.

Alongside this practical advice, you will find a number of stories from small business owners talking about their own experiences with poor mental health and how they have tried to promote good mental health in their businesses. You will also find great links to free resources from organisations including Heads Together, Mind and Mental Health First Aid.

It is my hope that this information will empower you to learn more about mental health, your role in challenging stigmas, and that it’s OK to talk about mental health in your business.

FSB National Chairman, Mike Cherry 

It's ok to talk about mental health

It's ok to talk about mental health: a guide for small businesses

The guide offers advice and tips on how small business owners and the self-employed can approach mental health in the workplace. It also provides further information to organisations that can provide detailed information and advice on mental health in the workplace.

Download the guide

Common Mental Health Problems

Explaining depression

Depression causes people to experience a long lasting low mood that can heavily impact day to day life.

Anyone can experience depression. People with depression might feel down, hopeless or numb and may have difficulty sleeping, or sleep too much. Some people may think about taking their own life. 

Depression can be caused by a number of different events in a person’s life. It can occur after a physical illness, a bereavement, unemployment, family problems even pregnancy. But not everyone who experiences depression will identify a particular cause.

To find out more about depression and the different types of depression visit here.

What are personality disorders?

Everyone has their own individual personality that makes them who they are. Situations, different people and other factors will change the way we act, think and feel.

If someone has a personality disorder, they may think, feel, behave or relate to others in ways that can cause problems in their relationships and affect how they cope with everyday life.

Some people welcome the diagnosis of personality disorder, but others find it stigmatising and unhelpful. It’s important to be sensitive to how someone feels about their diagnosis and to focus on what support they need.

For more information check out the Mind website.

Phobias and mental health

A phobia is an extreme fear or anxiety which can be triggered by a number of factors, including a particular situation (being in crowds), or an object (germs), even when these factors don’t present a real danger.

Someone who has a phobia may even start to feel anxiety by just thinking or talking about it.

Everyone experiences fear but it becomes a phobia when that fear is out of proportion to the danger or if it has a significant impact on how someone lives their day to day life.

To find out more about phobias please visit here.

What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder.

People with OCD have obsessive thoughts. These are repetitive or distressing thoughts that the person cannot control. Even if they are irrational, the person may find them very hard to resist or ignore. These thoughts can make them feel very anxious.

Someone with OCD will have compulsions - actions that they feel that they must repeat to feel less anxious or to stop the obsessive thoughts. This could be the simple task of checking they have their keys in your pocket.

These thoughts and compulsions can be very difficult for them to manage and can have a big effect on their day to day life.

What are anxiety problems?

Anxiety is a feeling of unease, worry or fear that can be associated with something that has happened, about to happen or happen in the future.

Everyone feels anxiety in their life, be it before starting a new business or sitting an exam, however,  some can  find it very hard to control their worries.

Anxiety can become a mental health problem when someone’s worries are very powerful or long lasting, or if they affect their day to day life.

People with anxiety problems may also avoid certain situations or find it hard to control their worries.


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