Small business, big pressure: talking about mental health

Small business, big pressure: talking about mental health
Grow London Local
Grow London LocalMatching London small businesses to support

Posted: Tue 13th Feb 2024

Building a business often means spending a lot of time on your own – especially when you're in a big city like London and trying to build important contacts and connections. Lots of other entrepreneurs feel the same but there's help out there.

To continue the conversations from Time to Talk Day (1 February), we're discussing some of the common mental health challenges that London's small business owners might face.

Find out why talking about your mental health is the first step to improving your overall wellbeing.

You're not alone in your mental health journey

Growing a business comes with some pressure. Without colleagues to talk to, or a manager to check in with, you're relying on your own strength to keep the business going.

In recent research by Startup Snapshot, 72% of founders admitted that running a business had affected their mental health. They said they'd felt stress and anxiety at times, and in some cases the long hours they'd put in had brought them close to burnout.

So although you might be flying solo with the day-to-day work, you're definitely not alone when it comes to your mental health.

All entrepreneurs have these moments – the important thing is knowing how to move past them. More often than not, that involves talking openly about the issues you're facing and their effect on your mental health.

How to talk about your mental health

Accepting that you may have challenges from time to time is the first step to making things better. Talking it through with someone you trust can actually help you to see the bigger picture, solve any issues you've come up against, and even find the right support.

In the Lunch and Learn webinar below, clinical psychologist Dr Gracie McLaven shares tips on how business founders like you can protect their mental health. She says:

"Acknowledging that you're struggling and that you need to look after your mental health will have huge benefits on your business. A healthy leader helps to have a thriving business."


There are a few different ways to find help so that you've got the right support network for you and your business. And being in London, you have the benefit of some local resources:

  • Thrive LDN is a mental health partnership that works to make sure all Londoners have the same opportunities for good mental health and wellbeing – with lots of guidance and resources, including an overview of the support available from community groups.

  • Being open about your mental health challenges with fellow business owners can be very beneficial, too. Whether it's joining an informal business meet-up or posting honestly about your experiences on LinkedIn, you'll soon see that many other founders are going through the same thing.

  • Speaking to experts can also highlight areas where you could use additional support. Why not arrange a free consultation with one of our Business Support Managers? They've worked with lots of people in your position and are on hand to guide you to the most relevant resources.

What to do if you have people working for you

If your business has staff, it's great to encourage them to be open and honest about their own mental health. Make sure they know who they can talk to if they're finding things difficult.

You could also arrange for some employees to receive training in mental health first aid. After the sessions, they'll be able to spot the signs of mental health issues among their colleagues and direct people to the right support.

Mind in Haringey and MHFA England are two organisations that provide mental health first aid training in London.

Key takeaway

Talking through your mental health with someone who knows exactly what you're going through can help you stay focused, strong and in a great place to take your business forward.


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