One of the first major research studies into the mental health of UK business owners during this COVID-19 crisis has been launched by a Sunderland businesswoman.
Natasha McDonough, MD of market research agency MMC and chair of North East England Chamber of Commerce’s Sunderland area, developed the survey to identify what support is needed for business owners specifically during challenging times.
Recognising the significant responsibility that owners carry in terms of staff livelihood and the future health of their business, Natasha hopes that this study will identify opportunities to create peer support networks and useful resources to reduce feelings of isolation that business leaders may experience.
She said: “The population is adjusting to new ways of living and working and we don’t know the extent to which financial uncertainty will impact on the economy. Specifically, how the fallout from COVID-19 will potentially affect the mental health of those who own and lead businesses. I believe supporting fellow business owners will be fundamental to getting the economy back on track.”
Starting on 18 May, the start of Mental Health week, the survey will gather information for two months via social media.
The Chamber is supporting the project and its chief executive, James Ramsbotham said: “We have been promoting the importance of mental health in the workplace for the past three years and believe it is critical to support our business owners, in particular during this period. The findings of this research will be invaluable for people. It will enable them to identify the type of support available and what is likely to be the best route for their own well-being. We wish MMC every success and wholeheartedly support this research.”
Business owners will be asked to share insights into how the lockdown has impacted their mental health and wellbeing, what support they have been able to access, and what coping mechanisms they have used to alleviate the pressure. It will also ask them to consider what tools and support might be helpful for business owners specifically, to inform a practical and collaborative response to the findings.
Also supporting the project are North East Counselling Service, the Foundation of Light & Newcastle United Foundation, as part of their #BeAGameChanger campaign.
A link to the survey is here https://bit.ly/2yQrWC9