NZBusiness and Management


It’s tough at the top. Owning and managing a business is also hazardous to your mental health. But there are ways to prevent or minimise mental health issues.

It’s a fact that our mental health can deteriorate, for a number of reasons, and left unchecked can lead to mental illness or mental disorders . The most common disorders are depression and anxiety – which is the focus of much of this story. However, it’s important to remember that mental illnesses come in many forms.

Bob Weir is an ex-business executive who experienced declining mental health a number of years ago and has documented that whole experience in his book Why Businesses Fail.

“Excessive stress, a toxic work environment, poor leadership, uncertainty, long hours, a lack of sleep, and so on, saw me burn-out and then, depression and anxiety followed,” recalls Weir. “The result was that I simply could not go back to those roles and I spent the next four years managing my way back to health.

“Mental illnesses are not something you get over quickly,” he says. “The impact can be devastating and long-lasting.”

Weir acknowledges that small business [ownership] can be tough because there are few support structures for owners. “They are responsible for everything. The lines between personal and family pressures and work are blurred or even non-existent,” he says. “And financial pressures are very real as it is the owner’s money [at stake],

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