The social impacts of COVID-19 pandemic such as the mental health of business owners and communities is an ongoing and global concern.
As the coronavirus affects the global population, safeguarding our mental health is especially important.
The PTI Network’s Pacific Business Monitor survey, a monthly pulse check of SMEs includes a section entitled ‘personal well-being’ that acknowledges the emotional toll a crisis has on a people can be as detrimental to a country’s recovery as a fiscal one.
In the fourth, and most recent, Pacific Business Monitor survey the proportion of respondents reporting the pandemic as having a negative impact on community well-being is declining slowly but steadily.
Positively, the proportion of those expecting a very negative impact has declined to 38%. from 45% as recorded in survey three.
Understandably the pandemic continues to have a significant impact on business decision-makers personal financial situations, with 82 % reporting a negative impact – a 2 per cent rise since early July.
Positively, the survey reported a drop of 5 per cent down to 55% in participants reporting a negative impact on their mental health. However, 55% is still high and part of this could be due to the uncertainty of when the pandemic will subside, when borders will be able to open, whether a Pacific bubble will be employed.
In recent weeks, Fiji Airways laid off 775 employees and souvenir business Jack’s of Fiji laid off 500 workers. In Vanuatu 70 per cent of tourism workers have lost their jobs. Cook Islands is estimated to have experienced a 60 per cent drop in GDP in the past three months.
With it being clear that we are only through the first stage of COVID-19, long term measures for good mental well-being need to be planned for.
Uncertain times are the perfect breeding ground for anxiety and PTI NZ continues to look for ways in which to help support our clients through this period.
The information we receive from participants in the monthly Pacific Business Monitor survey helps us to inform key decision makers about what is happening ‘on the ground’ within the Blue Pacific. It also helps us to design appropriate initiatives to assist businesses and collaborate with other agencies who can provide technical assistance.
It provides tangible evidence to support anecdotal reports we receive in our daily communications.
The survey will continue for another eight months. This way we will have 12 months of solid evidence to refer to for any future plans.