A survey of SME workers has found that close to 2 out of 3 people (65%) have suffered from mental health issues as a direct outcome of the pandemic, with women suffering marginally more than men.

The survey by Purbeck Insurance Services found 66% of women have suffered from issues such as poor sleep, feelings of isolation, stress and anxiety, plus general feelings of depression and anger.  25% confirmed they are not sleeping well and 39% felt stressed and anxious.

In contrast, 62% of men said their mental health had suffered and 20% of the men surveyed said they were suffering from poor sleep.

35-44-year-olds are the most impacted by mental health problems based on the feedback while those in the 55-64 age bracket least likely to have been affected by mental health issues.

Income appears to have little bearing on the likelihood of suffering stress and anxiety.  While those earning £10k-£20k per annum were more likely to have sleeping problems than those earning over £40k, across the board, close to 40% of people felt more stressed and anxious as a direct consequence of the pandemic.

Todd Davison, MD of Purbeck Insurance Services said: “2021 has not started in the way we hoped and fears are growing over the number of small businesses that will go to the wall this year.  Purbeck protects small business owners and directors from the risks of signing personal guarantees for business loans, so we have been on the front-line supporting firms facing significant financial distress, helping to work out their next best actions and in some cases acting as a point of liaison with the lender, which can take a huge burden off the business owner.  However, in many cases we have simply provided a sounding board and that has been really valued by our customers.’

“Talking can go a long way to helping with the stresses and anxieties we are all facing.  It is important to recognise when you are struggling mentally and seek support from friends, family and health professionals.”