Startups make money fast and fall apart quickly. Sometimes the challenges of working in this field are beyond human ability. Colin Kroll (co-founder of Vine), Austin Heinz (co-founder of Cambrian Genomics) and Judy Sherman (entrepreneur Ecomum) all started successful businesses, but their journey did not end happily and they ended their lives by committing suicide. Mental health is one of the most influential factors in the life of entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurship is accompanied by constant and exhausting challenges!
Entrepreneurship is accompanied by constant and overwhelming challenges these days; One step ahead of the competition, one hour more work, less dissatisfaction, learning from mistakes and moving on to success. This lifestyle is admired in motivational videos, many books have been written about it, and successful people (or people who pretend to be successful) have talked about it. There are countless quotes in this regard. However, no one talks about the consequences.
In 2011, Ilan Mask likened the new company to “eating glass and staring into an endless valley.” Although this phrase can lead enthusiasts to work harder, it actually depicts the sad state of the entrepreneurial world; A painful, difficult and unpredictable world. The combination of elements of this world will easily threaten people’s mental health.
Research shows that entrepreneurs are not in good mental health!
Statistics also confirm this. The University of California recently conducted a comprehensive study on entrepreneurs and their mental health. The purpose of this study is to investigate whether entrepreneurs are more prone to mental disorders than ordinary people. The results of this study were quite disturbing and showed that entrepreneurs are in a much worse mental health situation and are more prone to depression or drug abuse.
The point is, too much work and effort is the dark side of entrepreneurship, the part that depresses startup founders. Entrepreneurs need to talk about successes and ways to achieve them, but not about their challenges and problems.
Here we come to one of the most dangerous features of today’s startup community; That you should not talk to anyone about your difficulties and problems. Entrepreneurs do not even talk to the closest people about the dark moments of their business, let alone investors and team members. Eventually, most business executives shy away from consulting and treatment services. Unfortunately, the entrepreneur’s confession to mental health problems is not widely accepted in startup culture.
The modern entrepreneurial world does not talk about mental health problems
Even in Western societies where mental health problems are easily accepted, it is difficult to talk about current problems. There is usually an accepted formula: “I was depressed, the situation was difficult, but I was able to overcome it and now I continue on my way with all my strength.” In fact, you never hear a business manager say, “I’m struggling with depression right now and I need help.”
The attitude of the modern entrepreneurial world to the issue of failure is also interesting in its own way. Almost all failure-related quotes follow the same pattern: “Failure does happen, but you have to be strong enough to overcome it, not be afraid of it, and keep trying.”
This motivational thinking also has benefits, but it distorts reality. Sometimes you can not get out of failure on your own, and some mental health problems will be unsolvable without the help of others. If you have long-term depression, you should definitely seek treatment, not wait for it to go away on its own.
The more we talk about the inner “powers” of entrepreneurs to overcome problems and cope with psychological crises, the harder it becomes. Business managers need to talk about their challenges. We need to make asking others for help in critical situations a routine and make mental health a key component of a startup culture.