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The mental health of Alberta’s business owners

The mental health of Alberta’s business owners

Posted on: 10/26/2018 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team


Mental health is critically important. Thankfully, we’re talking about it more openly and more thoughtfully than ever before in Canada. Here at home, ATB Financial knows it’s a struggle for many Albertans, including small and mid-sized business owners, so we decided to focus the latest edition of our quarterly Business Beat survey on the topic.

Running a business can be a rewarding experience, but it can also be a stressful one with finding and managing staff, and the financial stability of the business cited as key sources of stress.

Happiness is by no means the whole story when it comes to mental health, but it is one way to assess how people are doing. Encouragingly, 76 per cent of the Alberta small and mid-sized enterprise (SME) owners surveyed say they are, overall, either “very happy” (16 per cent) or “pretty happy” (59 per cent). Still, that leaves almost one in four business owners who report being either “not too happy” (17 per cent) or “not happy at all” (7 per cent).

Just under 80 per cent of SME owners in Alberta agree that their business is at the core of their identity. When this is combined with the finding that 71 per cent typically place the needs of their business ahead of their personal needs, we can see how a struggling company may adversely affect the mental health of its owners.

While 97 per cent of current owners say they’re able to cope with the stress of running their business, the survey was not able to include owners of businesses that have gone under as a result of the recession and, in turn, who may be struggling mentally.

Whether it’s finding ways to cope with running a business or dealing with the impact of a failed business, seeking support from family, friends and professionals is a good idea as is working to remove the stigma that still surrounds mental health challenges in our society.

Take a look at the latest edition of ATB's Business Beat.

Business Beat, graph​ ​

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