Small business owners have a crucial role to play in talking about mental health and helping to destigmatise it in the workplace, according to the Federation of Small Businesses.
FSB research has found that 19% of small businesses say that they have recruited an individual with a mental health condition in the past three years. And more one in five (21%) calls to FSB Care, the health and medical advice service to FSB members, were related to mental health issues in the last quarter.
In response to the research, FSB has launched the campaign to promote good mental health among small firms and the self-employed and give small business owners practical ideas to support them in helping to destigmatise mental health and address it in their workplace.
FSB national chairman Mike Cherry said: "Mental health is a huge challenge for society. Government, business owners and each of us as individuals can work together to help destigmatise mental health and create an open environment where we can all talk about, and take care of, each other's mental health."
Cherry also shared his own experiences: "My own father suffered from depression for many years, something which impacted his ability to run and manage the family business," he said. "In fact, it was partly due to this that I decided to leave school when I was only sixteen in order to help run the business. Although I have no regrets about that decision - and have enjoyed a very rewarding career running my family business - it has made me very conscious of the impact poor mental health can have on small business owners, as well as employees."
Despite the impact poor mental health can have on a business, many small business owners are still reluctant to talk about it, he added. "I believe that we, as business owners, must play a critical role in talking about mental health in the workplace and lead the way in both destigmatising mental health in the workplace and acting to help our people when they are struggling."