More than four in five (82%) small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) owners in a UK-wide survey said their mental health had declined due to Covid-19.
Nearly one in five (19%) described their mental wellbeing as in a “bad” place.
The study by small business insurance provider Simply Business also revealed almost half (47%) of the SME owners were worried about their mental health.
Livelihoods are on the line as a result of Covid-19, with small business owners facing an unprecedented amount of pressure.”
Alan Thomas, chief executive, Simply Business UK
Nearly one-third (30%) said they had experienced depression since the start of the pandemic.
More than three in five (62%) had suffered the effects of stress and in excess of half (55%) reported anxiety.
On top of this, more than half of small business owners (51%) reported problems with their sleep.
Nearly one in five reported loneliness
In addition, more than a quarter (27%) of self-employed people had suffered low self-esteem since the start of the pandemic, while nearly one-fifth (19%) had experienced loneliness – heightened by various lockdowns.
More than four-fifths (82%) of self-employed people had suffered poor mental health.
Small business owners have been among the hardest hit by Covid-19, with the pandemic – and the various lockdowns, restrictions, and changing regulations that have come with it – causing severe disruption to business operations and, therefore, income.
While restrictions have lifted and small businesses are in a post-recovery phase, many are still working to recoup lost earnings.
According to Simply Business, this equates to £126.6 billion in total for UK SMEs.
One-third (33%) of SME owners have had to shut their business at various points of the pandemic, and well in excess of two-fifths (44%) were operating at a reduced capacity, the Simply Business survey found.
Relationships have suffered
More than one-third (35%) had struggled to switch off, one in five (21%) said it had affected their confidence and in excess of one-fifth (22%) reported a negative impact on relationships with family or friends.
And nearly one-third (28%) felt demotivated to continue with or restart their business.
Simply Business UK chief executive Alan Thomas said: “Few have been hit harder by the effects of the pandemic than the self-employed.”
He added: “Livelihoods are on the line as a result of Covid-19, with small business owners facing an unprecedented amount of pressure.
“Clearly this has had a huge impact on their wellbeing – the scale of which can be seen in the results of this study.
“Small businesses are vital to our economy and communities – and will be central to our collective recovery.
“We must continue to protect small businesses and, crucially, the individuals behind them as much as we can.”