What’s the recipe for de-stressing entrepreneurs?
Entrepreneurs are praised as the lifeblood of innovation, but the stress and anxiety makes them prone to mental health conditions, according to numerous studies.
For tech entrepreneurs dealing with prospective multimillion-dollar overnight valuations, the pressure can lead to drug addiction, insomnia and binge eating, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Chad Dickerson, who left as Etsy’s CEO in 2017, described the marketplace’s 2015 IPO as “this moment of success and this feverish insanity.” Vaulting 86 percent on its first day of trading, Mr. Dickerson felt, “If we don’t maintain this price…it’s just going to be brutal.”
The pressures — from the isolation of juggling so many tasks alone and the natural pre-dispositions that aid their entrepreneurial drive — can be debilitating for smaller-scale start-ups as well.
According to a new survey of 885 entrepreneurs from the Canadian Mental Health Association:
- Sixty-two percent felt depressed at least once a week.
- Forty-six percent felt mental health issues interfered with their ability to work.
- Sixty-six percent face difficulty in maintaining work-life balance due to entrepreneurial stress.
According to a study by Michael Freeman, who serves on the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, entrepreneurs are:
- Two-times more likely than the average worker to suffer from depression.
- Six-times more likely to suffer from ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).
- Three-times more likely to suffer from substance abuse.
- Ten-times more likely to suffer from bipolar disorder.
Yet only 20 percent of entrepreneurs felt the need to access mental health support and services, according to the study from the Canadian Mental Health Association.
Psychiatry organizations often call for more resources and tools to help entrepreneurs achieve better work-life balance. For entrepreneurs, a primary challenge is overcoming the stigma of seeking treatment and moving past “hustle porn,” which glorifies entrepreneur’s extreme-working hours.
The Canadian Mental Health Association wrote in its study, “The popular view of entrepreneurs needs to shift from that of the relentless visionary to one that allows entrepreneurs to demonstrate vulnerability and ask for help.”
- Beyond the Confetti: The Dark Side of Startup Success – The Wall Street Journal
- Going it Alone: The mental health and well-being of Canada’s entrepreneurs – Canadian Mental Health Association
- Are Entrepreneurs “touched with Fire?” – Michael A. Freeman
- Highlights: Workplace Stress & Anxiety Disorders Survey – Anxiety and Depression Association of America
- Loneliness is ‘AS deadly as a lack of exercise and diabetes’: Poor social network ‘drastically increases risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer’ – Daily Meal
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What health advice would you give to retail entrepreneurs under constant pressure? Have you dealt with such pressures yourself during your career? If so, what did you learn from the experience?