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14 May 2018

Wellbeing in small business: More conversation needed to address workplace stress

The focus of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is on stress. It’s an important issue – figures from the Health and Safety Executive suggest that stress accounts for nearly 40% of all work-related illness. Yet many employees are still reluctant to talk about stress at work. If we can help them all to talk about it and then address it, we can go a long way to tackling mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, and, in some instances, self-harm and even suicide.

Running your own business can be hugely rewarding, but it can also be a source of stress itself. I know this from personal experience. 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 learn the business earlier than I might otherwise have done.

Although, I have no regrets about that decision and have enjoyed a very rewarding career running my family business it has made me very aware of the impact of stress on small business owners as well as employees.

That’s why FSB is proud to be working with Mental Health First Aid England, the mental health charity Mind and Public Health England to raise awareness of the issue of stress in the workplace.

The importance of looking after your mental as well as physical health has been highlighted recently – with the young Royals, Princes William and Harry, working with the Heads Together campaign. By encouraging conversations around stress in the workplace, I would hope that people can be more open and bring down barriers around an issue that affects so many.