During what is likely the most turbulent and troubling period for the majority of the UK’s businesses, the government’s business interruption loans may simply exacerbate the existing financial pressures and mental health consequences facing Britain’s entrepreneurs.
Over 99% of all of Britain’s businesses are made up of small and medium sized companies with less than 250 employees, a huge portion of which will have no choice but to apply for the government’s recently announced business interruption loans to prevent their collapse.
One of the key caveats of such loans is that business owners may be forced to become the personal guarantor for any loans totalling over £250,000. However, a significant portion of small and medium sized businesses will likely need to apply for well in-excess of the £250,000 threshold, given that around 245,000 SMEs in the UK employ over 10 people – with the average turnover of a business of this size being nearly £3million. This results in the founders and entrepreneurs most in need of these business loans having to take significant personal financial burdens which are likely to have serious mental health consequences.
This news coincides with new data on mental health in the professional community from mental health treatment specialists Smart TMS which reveals the extent to which Britain’s entrepreneurs are already struggling with mental health challenges. The added pressure of potentially losing one’s personal possessions, finances and livelihoods as a result of business loans is certain to cause significant mental health consequences amongst Britain’s huge community of entrepreneurs and professionals:
· Over one in five (22%) of ABC1 professionals feel they cannot take time to prioritise their mental wellbeing as it would be a detriment to their business
· Three in 10 (29%) of ABC1 professionals suffer unmanageable levels of anxiety and stress as a result of their job
· Almost Three in 10 (28%) of ABC1 professionals feel they cannot discuss their mental health concerns with their peers for fear of judgment or loss of reputation
· Over one in five (21%) of ABC1 professionals have not sought mental health treatment or support because treatment would take too much time
Gerard Barnes, CEO of Smart TMS, offers the following commentary on the mental health struggles faced by many entrepreneurs and professionals as a result of Coronavirus and discusses the impact it could have on their mental wellbeing:
“Smart TMS’ research shows that a truly startling number of professionals are suffering severe mental health issues from the expectations and pressures that come out of their work; the added pressure of the circumstances brought about by Coronavirus mean that mental wellbeing of Britain’s entrepreneurs and professionals is likely to be further negatively impacted.
“Founders and entrepreneurs are already under huge pressure to keep their business afloat and keep people employed within it – potentially having to personally guarantee loans essential to the businesses survival will make this situation even more acute.”