Imagine if Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, or Elon Musk had been unable to handle stress, would we have Apple, Microsoft, or Tesla today?
The answer is probably not.
Entrepreneurs are visionaries that have changed human society for the better. They have created billion-dollar organizations and taken technology, science, and businesses to the next level. In the process, they have generated so many jobs and created a huge social impact.
However, being an entrepreneur is not easy. There are more moments when things are not going in your favor. An entrepreneur has to deal with various stresses at every step of the journey.
Some of them suffer from mental breakdowns or get serious health complications like a stroke. This is why conversations on the mental health of entrepreneurs are slowly gathering steam.
In this resource article, we speak to Cassandra Chiu, a leading mental health expert, counselor, and life coach. We ask her to shed some light on the challenges entrepreneurs face as far as mental health issues are concerned.
The Changing Nature of Entrepreneurship and its Engagement with Mental Health
In the good old days, a lot of stigmas were attached to mental health. Without even engaging with the subject, people were termed as ‘mad’, ‘out of their wits’, and given names.
For a business owner, saying that you suffer from poor mental health (anxiety, depression, or stress) was akin to saying you cannot lead. However, in the past few years, there has been a welcome change.
Younger entrepreneurs who are coming up through the ranks realize that seeking a professional is no longer a sign of weakness. On the other hand, it is a sign that you are strong enough to acknowledge that you need help.
The businesses that these younger entrepreneurs are starting also encourage engagements around mental health. Many of these enterprising start-ups have tied up with professional institutions that extend counseling services to young professionals.
List of 4 Major Reasons why Entrepreneurs are likely to suffer from Poor Mental Health
According to Cassandra Chiu, there are four reasons, why issues of anxiety, depression, and stress affect entrepreneurs. Let us look at them in some details:
1- No one to talk to for Mental Health Issues
The lone wolf, the solitary tiger…all these adjectives have somehow played into our minds and made us believe that showing signs around mental health is weakness. Even though entrepreneurs suffer from insomnia they are unable to talk to those around them. They also do not have the time to relax, take a few steps and acknowledge what is affecting them.
2- Failure to come to terms with the ups and downs of the business
Entrepreneurs are always multi-tasking. They are working to improve the product, running around to raise funds, holding webinars for personal branding, and so on. There is so much uncertainty of where the next funding or customer is going to come from that it starts affecting them mentally. The drastic ebb and flow of business lead to mental anxiety.
3- Being Independent, Alone, and Socially Isolated
When you are working sixteen-hour days, you hardly have time for your family, let alone your friends. If you have not spoken to someone for over a year because you were busy, you do not want to reach out to them and say that you want someone to talk to. This isolation plagues entrepreneurs. They create a huge space around them that becomes difficult to overcome.
4- Lack of Awareness and Information of who to approach
Entrepreneurs are struggling for time and want quick results. They do not want to invest too much time, energy, and effort in finding a therapist or a counselor who can help them individually. They go to the first Google search result, schedule an appointment, do not see results after the first meeting, and stop going for it. This prevents permanent treatment.
The Bottom Line
Entrepreneurs should realize that seeking treatment for mental health concerns can be helpful for them. It can help them improve their productivity, enhance their confidence levels and give them hope for the future. Rather than look at seeking counseling doubtfully, there is a need to embrace it wholeheartedly.