How has the Pandemic affected the PEM Of the Entrepreneur?

How has the Pandemic affected the PEM Of the Entrepreneur?

As the Pandemic approaches a full two years, we have seen the devastating effects it has had on the world economy (rising prices, unemployment, closed businesses, etc.); health (deaths, stress, long-term physical impairment); education (falling grades, lower test scores). But not often nor openly discussed are the psychological, emotional, and mental effects (I term it: PEM) Covid-19 has wrought on people in general.

According to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, in April of this year, 45% of Adults said that stress and worry about Covid-19 had a negative effect on their mental health. That’s a very high percentage. Of those, one in five reported that the pandemic has taken “a major toll on their mental well being.” We might hear statistics, on a daily basis, being reported on covid infections but the mental effects are hidden statistics because there is far less attention focused on it.


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According to Kevin Murphy, MD, Covid-19 affects your mental health in the following ways: the fear of getting sick; the emotional and physical isolation of social distancing; the worry about finances; the emotional pain of losing a loved one. Not taking the time to seek help the way you would do if you are physically sick could result in serious consequences. But how did the Pandemic affect the entrepreneur class? Was it the same as the general population, or were there marked differences? Were entrepreneurs as a group more vulnerable to the vagaries of the health crisis?

A global study conducted by King’s Business School, in the UK, has found that stress increased significantly and satisfaction with life dipped 12%. While the effects were similar for the general population, they were more exaggerated for the entrepreneur class. It begs the question why?


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Entrepreneurs are in a special class because they employ themselves and they often employ others as well. In crises like the present they see their entire livelihoods being threatened and the jobs of their employees become tenuous. They not only worry about themselves but about the fate of their employees whom they have, often, become to regard as family. So the emotional burden and stress becomes doubled. So essentially while all the elements that affect the general population in a Pandemic affect the entrepreneur, he suffers the multiplier effect of having to be responsible for “taking food out of many mouths” if he has to lay off workers, who have families. And while the government had programs to help to retain workers, we all know that many small businesses got no help because the bigger businesses sucked up most of the funding.

But the threat of mental and emotional breakdowns could be allayed by seeking professional help. Counseling could be the valve that releases the pressure that can cause serious damage. It’s something that entrepreneurs rarely think about because they are often the fixers of everything and they never see themselves as needing to be fixed. It’s an option worth considering in these trying times. You can lose many things and recover but if you lose yourself there would be no comeback.


– Chester Peters


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