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North East research and marketing agency, MMC, has launched a new business support hub in response to its survey exploring business owners’ mental health during lockdown.

MMC’s founder and owner, Natasha McDonough launched the survey to find out if others were experiencing the same feelings of worry and fear that she was feeling as a business owner.

Supported by the North East England Chamber of Commerce and NECS, the survey found more than half of business owners felt that their mental health had worsened since lockdown, with many citing worries and responsibilities around cash flow and staff livelihood of great concern.

Respondents also stated that the most important form of support would be peer-to-peer support, while exercise and meditation and mindfulness also cited as important.

Natasha McDonough, Managing Director, MMC, said: “The results come as no surprise – I know first hand how difficult it has been to juggle a business, protect and support staff, homeschool children while managing my own mental health during lockdown.

“But, while we might be approaching the end of lockdown in some respects, these concerns are always present and recovery from the crisis will be tough for some. Therefore ongoing peer support could really help business owners who might need somebody to talk to who is going through the same experiences that they are.

“I particularly relate to the comments about peer support and exercise being key, as I’ve found so much relief since talking to a fellow business owner on a regular 7.30am coastal walk. It clears your head and helps you remember that you are not alone.”

 In response to the survey, MMC has committed to creating a hub of useful content, helplines and a programme of activities, which have been scheduled to specifically address the findings.  MMC also donated £200 to the #BeAGameChanger campaign ran by Sunderland’s Foundation of Light and the Newcastle United Foundation, who also supported the survey.

James Ramsbotham, chief executive, North East England Chamber of Commerce said: “We have been passionate advocates of the need to focus on mental health well-being since our immediate past President John McCabe made it a theme of his term of office.  This issue is so important to each and every one of us in the business community, now more than ever. MMC’s research into this area is invaluable as it shines a light on employers in a way we have not seen before.  Based on these findings we will be exploring how best to give our members the support they need and ensure they have access to the right people and services.” 

Bethany Wright
Article by Bethany Wright
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