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New study finds 62% of business owners feel depressed at least once a week

TORONTO and MONTREAL, June 18, 2019—The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), supported by BDC, Canada’s only bank exclusively devoted to entrepreneurs, today released an in-depth report examining Canadian entrepreneurs’ mental health. The study, “Going it Alone: The mental health and well-being of entrepreneurs in Canada,” looks at the mental health and well-being of Canada’s entrepreneurs, in order to better understand the unique pressures they face, discovering that:

  • Two thirds (62%) feel depressed at least once a week
  • Entrepreneurs who are female, whose enterprises are in the growth or early stages and by those with fewer employees or less revenue are more likely to report mental health issues
  • Nearly half (46%) say that mental health issues interfere with their ability to work
  • One in five (21%) entrepreneurs feel satisfied with their mental health less than once a week. Among the general population, eight per cent of Canadians perceive their mental health as poor or fair.

“We want this report to start an open conversation and shift the popular view of entrepreneurs from ‘tireless innovator’ or ‘lone visionary’ to one that allows them to show their vulnerability and ask for help when needed,” says Fardous Hosseiny, interim National CEO and National Director, Research and Public Policy, CMHA. “There needs to be more discussion about entrepreneur mental health and more attention paid to it by entrepreneur networks and organizations.”

The nearly 500 entrepreneurs surveyed reported that barriers to seeking mental health support included the cost of mental health services, lack of access to support and limited awareness of support as well as stigma-related concerns, such as concern for reputation and discomfort discussing the issue.

“Entrepreneurs are often described as the drivers of our economy. As a society, we help support, sustain and grow the health of their businesses—and it is time to do the same for their mental health,” says Michael Denham, President and CEO at BDC. “We want to make sure mental health is included in discussions about entrepreneurship in Canada. The CMHA study has enabled us to take the pulse of entrepreneurs’ well-being and now we are better positioned to take helpful action.”

Based on CMHA’s findings, BDC will work with CMHA to develop easy-to-use tools and resources that support entrepreneurial well-being. Entrepreneurs who are feeling acute symptoms of stress, depression or other form of mental distress are encouraged to see their family doctor or visit www.cmha.ca for information about available resources at the local level.

About the Canadian Mental Health Association

Founded in 1918, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) is the most established, most extensive community mental health organization in Canada. Through a presence in more than 330 communities across every province and one territory, CMHA provides advocacy, programs and resources that help to prevent mental health problems and illnesses, support recovery and resilience, and enable all Canadians to flourish and thrive. For more information, visit www.cmha.ca

About BDC

BDC is the only bank devoted exclusively to entrepreneurs. It promotes Canadian entrepreneurship with a focus on small and medium-sized businesses. With its 123 business centres from coast to coast, BDC provides businesses in all industries with financing and advisory services. Its investment arm, BDC Capital, offers equity, venture capital and flexible growth and transition capital solutions. BDC is also the first financial institution in Canada to receive B Corp certification. To find out more, visit bdc.ca.


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