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When being your own boss comes at a cost: Entrepreneurs and mental health

There are numbers to crunch, problems to solve, and deadlines to make. That’s the life of an entrepreneur. The work never really ends. And unlike a typical 9-5, the lines between work and life are often blurred. Results from CMHA’s recent study titled, Going it Alone: The Mental health and well-being of Canada’s entrepreneurs, suggest that Canada’s entrepreneurs are struggling with their mental health.

As Jack, a photographer in the study, said “…there is no end. You could always be doing more, you could either be doing business development or you could be, you know, taking education programs to improve what you’re currently doing.”

The study, supported by BDC, surveyed and interviewed entrepreneurs across Canada and found that small business owners are experiencing fatigue, depressed mood and high levels of stress. In fact, about two thirds reported feeling depressed at least once a week and nearly half said that mental health issues interfere with their ability to work.

We rely on entrepreneurs in Canada to grow the economy, create new jobs and to find creative solutions to the problems we experience. These entrepreneurs are tenacious, determined, hardworking and seemingly tireless. But this doesn’t mean they aren’t struggling, and in some cases, burning out.

Running a business is no easy feat, but there are ways to better support entrepreneurs and help them thrive. This means developing flexible mental health supports, creating tools to improve work-life balance, including mental health in entrepreneurship education, and strengthening research on entrepreneur mental health. What this also means is working together to make space for entrepreneurs to be vulnerable and ask for help.

Let’s make workplace mental health a reality for all Canadian entrepreneurs.