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SunLive - Mental Health: Stressful Work Struggling

The Bay of Plenty Butcher says more business owners need to talk about mental health after working every day for two years.

Doug Jarvis, owner of two Doug Jarvis Butchers specialty stores in Mt. Manganui and Papamoa, says he worked seven days a week because he had fewer than eight employees.

Moreover, earlier in the year Jarvis, who had been a butcher for 38 years, was on the verge of collapse after break-ins and thefts from his stores.

“It’s just depression and how things get over you,” he says.

“And I’m not alone, but there are a lot of people I talk to.”

The MYOB 2022 Business Monitor, a survey of more than 1,000 small and medium business (SME) owners, revealed that about a third (32%) of them have experienced a mental health condition since starting or taking over their business.

RNZ’s Detail podcast delves into the state of mental health units, and the staggering price tags for overhauling their crumbling infrastructure. (First published June 14, 2021). Video: RNZ.

Among those who experienced a mental health condition, 85 percent reported being affected by stress, while 71 percent said they experienced anxiety and 39 percent experienced depression.

The fallout from Covid-19 continues to have the greatest impact on public well-being, followed by lack of sleep, a large workload and political uncertainty.

In May, Jarvis’ blood pressure reached dangerously high levels due to stress.

“It just got worse, worse, worse. Your mental state is clearly affecting your health.”

After Jarvis said things He hasn’t had a day off in over two years due to staff shortages, he’s had people from all over the country send in job applications, and even retired butchers are offering to work for free, so he can take a break.

Then his staff got together, redistributed their shifts to cover Jarvis’s, and surprised him with a Brisbane vacation to see his son for the first time in two years.

“It was excellent. I really, really needed it. It’s amazing that you don’t realize how much you need it.”

Although there is a significant proportion of SME owners or leaders who struggle with mental health, the research highlights that most SMEs do not discuss mental health and wellbeing in the workplace.

Photo: John Boren/SunLive.

“It’s just depression and how things get over you,” says Doug Jarvis.

Jarvis says he has a one-on-one meeting with employees who may be suffering, and he’s talked about it a lot in the community as well.

“I try to be a supportive person where I can. I think it’s just you being there to make sure you can do something for these people.”

He says all companies should talk about mental health in the workplace.

“It shouldn’t be a taboo topic. Everyone should talk about it. Just talking to that person can make such a difference.

“Just reach out to people, that’s the main thing. Don’t be afraid to talk.

MYOB spokesperson Joe Tozer says business owners have to overcome many additional challenges in addition to the usual stresses they face, which have a direct impact on their mental health and well-being.

“Given the current economic and employment challenges, it is understandable that SMEs are feeling overwhelmed, leading to increased stress and anxiety, but it is important for business owners and leaders to remember that they are not alone,” Tozer says.

“We’ve seen that more than half of SME owners and decision makers choose to spend social time with friends and family to help improve their mental health, and with this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week focusing on the importance of reconnecting with the people and places that have given us a boost.”

– Brianna McElrath/Staff.