Mental Health and Wellbeing in Australian Small Business

Principal Researchers 

Ms Jaelea Skehan
Dr Gavin Hazel
Dr Ross Tynan

Research status
- In progress

Small business account for almost 98% of all actively trading businesses in NSW. Despite this, the majority of current workplace mental health programs are not designed or suitable for small business, and there has been limited investment in research that has specifically targeted the mental health and wellbeing of small business owners and their staff. There are a number of unique risk factors faced by those who work in small business that may impact on their mental health. Some of these include financial pressures; high work demands and long work hours; maintaining business growth and long-term viability; market variability; and a lack of focus on self-care and work life boundaries. 

Overall, there is a gap in our knowledge about the mental health and wellbeing needs of small business operators, their employees and families. To address this gap, the research project aims to explore the mental health and wellbeing needs of those in small business in NSW. The study will be divided into two components including:

  1. Quantitative – A brief online survey will be used to measure the attitudes and behaviours of small business operators and employees relating to mental health and wellbeing. The survey will also explore participant preferences and current options for support.
  2. Qualitative – The study will also seek to understand the perspectives of key stakeholders, subject matter experts, and sector representatives on mental health in small business through qualitative interviews.

Overall, the results from both the survey and interviews will be used to inform the development of recommendations for practice in the area of mental health and wellbeing of small business.

Research findings

Release: Whitepaper reveals the hidden cost of running a small business

Findings from our research in to the mental health and wellbeing of small business operators in NSW has been launched by the icare foundation.

The Whitepaper provides evidence that small business-owners and their workers are experiencing many stressors and that tailored supports specifically related to small business are limited, despite the fact small businesses represent 98 per cent of all trading businesses in NSW.

A copy of the Whitepaper is available to download below.

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