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Record Numbers of Business Owners Seek Counselling During the Covid Crisis

The number of business owners seeking the support of counsellors for themselves and their staff has skyrocketed throughout the COVID-19 crisis.  Stress and anxiety in particular have become epidemic across the UK, as businesses struggle to cope with the complications of Coronavirus and three consecutive lockdowns.

A recent report published by online counselling firm Healing Clouds suggested that almost twice as many businesses are looking to find local counsellors compared to the same time last year. Healing Clouds was providing counselling services for around 1,900 people in March 2020 - this has skyrocketed to more than 3,500 today. 

In order to highlight the plight of the UK’s business community and workforce, Healing Clouds interviewed several business owners spanning a variety of sectors.

Harper James Solicitors

The CEO of Harper James Solicitors, Toby Harper, commented on the potential loneliness many people are experiencing as a result of COVID-19 complications.

“The pandemic has made it harder to separate family life from work life. And running a business, particularly as a sole founder, can be a very lonely place. The Government obviously has a massive job in rebuilding the economy and supporting businesses who have faced such a challenging year will be very important,” he said. 

“But it’s vital too that those in charge of Government policy show awareness of the impact the last 12 months has had on the mental health of those running businesses. For many it will be a long road back.”


While many delivery services have thrived financially throughout the pandemic, many of their workers and owners have struggled to cope with the effects of indefinite lockdown.  

Rob Kniaz, Deliveroo founder and former winner of The Apprentice, told Healing Clouds that his mental health had been severely impacted by the events of the past 12 months. 

“It’s drained me being locked inside most days,” he said. 

“Is this issue discussed enough? Probably not. Being a founder is mentally exhausting all of the time and you only see the success stories and not the other 95 per cent of cases that end poorly for founders. It’s an excruciating job full of highs and lows and being isolated makes getting through the lows even harder because you can’t see friends in similar scenarios and share their journeys.”

His sentiments were shared by Leah Totton - a business partner of Lord Alan Sugar - who highlighted the importance of acknowledging just how prevalent and problematic mental health issues are across the UK right now. 

“It doesn’t matter who you are or where you work, everyone needs to take time out to look after their mental health,” she said. 

“As a society we need to be mindful that long after this virus has gone many people may still be struggling to cope with the impact it has had. They must be given proper care and support.”

Intqual Pro

Meanwhile, the managing director of Intqual Pro, Barry Searle, stated that an extensive research should be a priority for the government, in order to highlight the shortcomings and inadequacies in the country’s current mental health support system. 

“We need an urgent study to understand the extent and long-term impact to the population,” said Searle, who oversaw several webinars dedicated to mental wellbeing during the height of the COVID-19 crisis. 

Access to mental health support in the UK was already way underfunded and barely available. I don’t feel that the Government understands or wants to prioritise the potential drastic increase in demand.”