The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is urging the UK’s 5.5 million small business owners and the self-employed to make more use of business networking groups to help increase their wellbeing and mitigate mental health problems that can be caused by isolation. Feeling lonely can have a negative impact on mental health, according to the mental health charity Mind, which is supporting FSB’s current wellbeing in small business campaign. The number of self-employed people continues to rise and now totals 15.1 per cent of all those in work. FSB research reveals that isolation and working alone is one of the top three challenges of self-employment (25 per cent), and a report by Aldermore (March 2017) revealed that over a third (39 per cent) of Brits say they have felt lonely since becoming their own boss. Dave Stallon, FSB’s commercial and operations director, says: “Being a small business owner can often be very lonely – with no-one to share the responsibility and no-one to talk to about worries or concerns. This can escalate into mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. We’re urging small business owners and the self-employed to utilise business networking groups as a vehicle for connectivity to enhance their wellbeing. Networking also makes good business sense.” Better mental health support could save UK businesses up to £8 billion a year, as it is estimated that one in four people experience mental health problems in any year. The FSB wellbeing campaign presents a toolkit of creative and practical ideas to help small businesses improve wellbeing, from steps to enhance the air quality of the workspace to supporting employees. More people than ever are taking the brave decision to become their own boss, and with a growing number of self-employed people running their business from home because of a number of factors, including high business rates and technological advances, they can be at risk from loneliness and isolation. FSB offers free business networking throughout the UK called FSB Connect.