What Makes Entrepreneurs Vulnerable to Mental Health Issues?

By Korir Isaac / Published October 7, 2021 | 3:08 pm




KEY POINTS

Entrepreneurs are 50 percent more probable to report having a mental health breakdown, with some particular conditions being more prevalent among founders.


mental health

Too often, entrepreneurs and other business people spend too much time focusing on their business that they fail to realize that it is breeding mental health issues eating away at their wellbeing.

Frustrations, emotional outbursts, anger, and a little bit of smashing desks or computers in the office are some of the tell-tales that all is not well. And by not well, I mean, mentally.

While browsing the web this afternoon, I came across an informative piece from www.sheleadsafrica.com written by Maureen Murori, a journalist and a blogger, on why entrepreneurs are vulnerable to mental health issues.

Her arguments are based on recent investigations by Michael A. Freeman, a psychiatrist, and psychologist serving on the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine.

According to Freeman, entrepreneurs are 50 percent more probable to report having a mental health breakdown, with some particular conditions being more prevalent among founders.

His survey on mental health issues found that entrepreneurs are:

  • Twice as likely to suffer from depression
  • Six times more likely to suffer from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Three times more likely to suffer from substance abuse
  • 10 times more likely to suffer from bipolar disorder
  • Twice as likely to have a psychiatric hospitalization
  • Twice as likely to have suicidal thoughts

The mental health crisis in start-ups

With such alarming and scary statistics, the question is: why are entrepreneurs more likely to experience mental health issues?

In her piece, Ms. Murori isolates 6 facts that are worth a discussion when it comes to mental health (also known as mental-well-being).

  1. Fear of failure/uncertainty

Fear of failure has crippled many people even before trying.

Uncertainty and anxiety contribute negatively to our mental well-being. With so much competition, uncertainty is ever a looming phenomenon among entrepreneurs.

Remaining positive and pressing on in the time of our powerlessness should be the ultimate goal for any businessman/woman.

  1. Social isolation

Incognizant of how they contribute to mental problems, those close to the entrepreneurs can create a social gap through alienation.

While entrepreneurs are excited about the new venture, often, the society including friends and family fail to offer the needed support.

ALSO READ: Dear Entrepreneur, How Do You Take Care of Your Mental Health?

Choosing to the non-traditional path can bring about social isolation as one focuses all energy and time into succeeding in the business.

  1. Stress

In the formative stage, in particular, entrepreneurs require more time to start and ensure the business survives.

During this time, many people in business are pressed hard in managing both business and social life.

Over time, the stress leads to sleepless nights, overworking, and lack of appetite or skipping meals due to work and the problems keep spilling over, which can lead to depression if the stress is not addressed well on time.

  1. Impression management

One thing that entrepreneurs do well is acting like everything is working even at the edge of failure.

By creating this facade, entrepreneurs do not seek help even when they need it as they do not want to appear weak.

This disconnect between personal experiences, and what they share with the public creates insecurity, and a sense of confusion, further leading to stress, and consequently depression.

  1. Inadequate resources to address mental health

Mental health resources in entrepreneurship, as is the case in other fields, receive little or no support.

As organizations and firms come together to fund and support budding as well as existing entrepreneurs, factors such as the mental wellbeing of the businessmen and women should be factored into the budget.

  1. Too many expectations

Carl Rodgers, a renowned psychologist, warns that human beings are disturbed when expectations are not met. Always hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

An entrepreneur’s mantra should be “expect nothing, and be prepared for anything,” as the saying by the Samurai of ancient Japan goes. We should be open-minded about the eventualities that might come; both positive and negative.

More importantly, entrepreneurs must have a go-to person (s) who is ready to support and invest in their well-being.

Moreover, establish a routine that allows you time off business or any other work-related duties. Use this time to rest and rejuvenate physically, spiritually, and mentally.





About Korir Isaac

A creative, tenacious, and passionate journalist with impeccable ethics and a nose for anticipated and spontaneous news. He may not say it, but he sure can make one hell of a story.

View other posts by Korir Isaac


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