62% of business owners feel depressed at least once a week

June 19 2019 - A study by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), with the support of BDC, looked at the health of 500 entrepreneurs and found:-

  • Almost two thirds (62%) felt depressed at least once a week
  • Entrepreneurs were more likely to report mental health issues if they were:
    • female, or
    • those whose enterprises were in the growth or early stages, and
    • those with fewer employees or less revenue
  • Nearly half (46%) said that mental health issues interfered with their ability to work

Fardous Hosseiny, interim National CEO and National Director, Research and Public Policy, CMHA said:

"We want this report to start an open conversation and shift the popular view of entrepreneurs from 'tireless innovator' or 'lone visionary' to one that allows them to show their vulnerability and ask for help when needed."

"There needs to be more discussion about entrepreneur mental health and more attention paid to it by entrepreneur networks and organizations."

Mental Illness Costs Economy More Than Physical Ailments

Mental illness is associated with more lost working days than any other chronic condition and costs the Canadian economy C$51 billion annually in lost productivity according to research from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, published in the Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine in 2010.

In the first study of its kind, researchers analyzed data relating to short-term disability leave taken by 33 913 full-time employees in Ontario to calculate the actual cost of mental health leave. They found that it is disproportionate, on average costing double that incurred by a physical illness. A single individual on short-term disability leave for mental health reasons costs their employer an average of nearly C$18 000.

Dr. Carolyn Dewa, head of the work and well-being research and evaluation program said:

"In an average year, a firm with 1000 employees might expect about 145 disability cases. Of this, only a fraction are on disability due to mental illness, yet it costs employers the most."

The report suggests that workplace interventions can play a significant role in maintaining a healthy workforce and reducing costs. Implementing a continuum of care and support offers an effective preventative measure. Programs emphasising work-life balance, stress management, and access to physical fitness can improve employee health and productivity.

Carolyn Dewa commented:

"We know that mental health triggers in the workplace can lead to disability - things like stress, casual and part-time work, and uncertain economic conditions can really take a toll on workers - especially if there is a pre-existing mental health condition. And while it is important to support workers that are on disability leave, it is crucial that businesses make mental health and wellness a priority to prevent disability in the first place."