Layla, in collaboration with KPMG, shares insights on pandemic impacts on small business entrepreneurs

September 19, 2022

TORONTO, September 19, 2022 – Layla Care, in collaboration with KPMG in Canada, is proud to release results from a recent study investigating mental health impacts on small business owners and entrepreneurs. The study, conducted between April and June of 2022, included a survey of 110 respondents across 30 industries, and 20 in-depth consultations and informant interviews. Two years into the pandemic, it highlights not only the stressors that entrepreneurs and small business owners have been facing on an ongoing basis, the majority citing work-life balance as a major challenge, but also the many ways in which the impacts of COVID-19 have exacerbated their mental health needs. Findings include declines in self-reported mental health among this population, accompanied by challenges accessing appropriate supportive services.

As of 2019, small businesses employed 8.4 million people in Canada, or nearly 69% of Canada’s total private labour force. Small business owners are a pillar of our communities and economy - but they also face numerous pressures that other types of workers may not. Compared to the general population, small business owners have been disproportionately impacted by widespread business closures, decreased profits, changing public health restrictions and near-instantaneous demands to pivot to online channels. All of these stressors come with mental health impacts, including experiences of anxiety, depression, burnout and fatigue. Almost two-thirds (65%) of survey respondents reported that their mental health had declined over the course of the pandemic, citing major stressors including work-life balance, financial worries/managing cash flow, and worries about the survival of their business. Study participants stated that poor mental health and periods of stress and sadness became more frequent for a number of reasons.

There hasn't been a specific moment I can point to, rather a rollercoaster of highs and lows. The rollercoaster has been present throughout my career, however during COVID the highs haven't been as high, and the lows have been lower and more frequent.”Study Respondent

While the study revealed a clear need for mental health support among small business owners and entrepreneurs, findings also showed that they experienced significant barriers to accessing mental health services. Many study participants indicated a lack of knowledge about “where to start” to access mental health supports, compounded by the social stigma associated with mental health challenges and larger systemic constraints like long wait times and high costs for services. Additional research is recommended to explore and better understand the types of support that would be most impactful for entrepreneurs’ mental well-being - from educational resources, financial support, workshops, peer support, access to appropriate therapy, or something else. 

Layla Founder and CEO, Samer Abughannam shared, “At Layla, we believe in empowering Canadians to take control of their mental health. We want to acknowledge and raise awareness of both the business and mental health challenges that business owners and entrepreneurs have been facing. Personalization is critical in creating support systems for better wellbeing, and as a first step towards that it is important to look at the unique needs of populations who have a shared experience such as entrepreneurs and small business owners.“

Download the study here

About LAYLA Care

Layla’s on a mission to empower Canadians to take control of their mental health. We use patient-centric innovation to understand and address gaps in the ever-changing realities in the mental health space. Layla's range of mental healthcare services today include facilitating individual therapy, couples counseling, group programs, and assessment and treatment services for vocational mental health. For more information, see

About KPMG in Canada

KPMG LLP (Canada), a limited liability partnership, is a full-service Audit, Tax and Advisory firm owned and operated by Canadians. For over 150 years, our professionals have provided consulting, accounting, auditing, and tax services to Canadians, inspiring confidence, empowering change, and driving innovation. Guided by our core values of Integrity, Excellence, Courage, Together, For Better, KPMG employs more than 10,000 people in over 40 locations across Canada, serving private- and public-sector clients. KPMG is consistently ranked one of Canada's top employers and one of the best places to work in the country. The firm is established under the laws of Ontario and is a member of KPMG's global organization of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International, a private English company limited by guarantee. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such. For more information, see

For media inquiries:

Charan Litt
VP, Layla Therapy
Layla Care