Canada is literally a land of small businesses, with an estimate that more than 97% of the country’s 1.2 million business employers as of December 2017 were considered small businesses.
Globally, Canada is seen as a country that promotes productivity. The World Economic Forum ranks the North American nation 12th out of 140 countries assessed in its 2018 Global Competitiveness Index.
Canada’s political leaders present the country as a country that provides an environment that supports entrepreneurship through government investments and programs. However, the Canadian business sector is facing a new challenge: more than 3 in 5 entrepreneurs report feeling depressed at least once a week, according to a new study.
About 62% of entrepreneurs surveyed said they struggled with depressive episodes at least once a week, according to findings from the study, “Going It Alone: The Mental Health and Well-Being of Entrepreneurs in Canada,” a report produced by the Canadian Mental Health Association and published in June. About half of the entrepreneurs surveyed said they suffered from depressed mood or felt mentally fatigued at least once a week.
“Nearly one in two people (46%) felt that mental health problems interfered with their ability to work,” say the study authors. “Despite these mental health issues, nearly 4 in 5 people (79%) report being satisfied with their mental health at least once a week and only 1 in 5 (20%) feel the need to access support and mental health services.”
The research surveyed 476 entrepreneurs across Canada and included 20 one-on-one interviews. Among the other findings of the report:
- More than half of respondents reported experiencing feelings of inadequacy while 50% reported depressed moods.
- Over 65% of entrepreneurs surveyed said they struggled to maintain work-life balance due to work-related stress.
- More than half of the entrepreneurs surveyed said that stress had an impact on their level of concentration in the workplace.
- While more than a third (40%) said they had spoken to someone about their mental health, around 1 in 6 (16%) were likely to seek professional help.
- Only 6% said they were likely to access help from online sources or use a mental health app.
The study also found that 34% of subjects said the costs of mental health services were a barrier to seeking services, while 22% reported a lack of access to support and limited awareness of support.
In order to improve the mental health conditions of entrepreneurs, the authors of the study also recommend that the government, businesses and mental health organizations and academic institutions adopt a series of measures. They include developing flexible and relevant mental health support for entrepreneurs, creating tools to help entrepreneurs achieve better work-life balance, and strengthening research on the mental health of entrepreneurs.