Did you know that entrepreneurs are more prone to mental health issues? According to a study by Michael Freeman, a psychologist and psychiatrist, founders are 50% more likely to go through a mental health-related condition. In his study, he uncovered that entrepreneurs are twice as likely to suffer depression, six times more likely to suffer Attention Deficit Hyperactivity, and ten times more likely to suffer from bipolar disorder, among others.
BGV believes Black and Brown women founders face unique and more nuanced mental health challenges than their counterparts. Therefore we champion that our founders become aware of any signs to maintain their health and wellness throughout the entrepreneurial journey. If you’re a founder facing mental health challenges, here are a few reasons why they might be occurring.
Founders focus all their energy and available time on their businesses. As a result, you end up with little to no time available for friends and family. This non-traditional career path brings about social isolation. The alienation reduces the access to support as you experience the challenges of starting and growing a business. This creates an environment brewing of mental health challenges.
2. No access to mental health resources
Most entrepreneurs bootstrap their businesses. With a relatively tight budget solely focused on business needs, it’s impossible to factor in premium healthcare coverage. Most bootstrapped founders have basic (or no) insurance covers, limiting their access to mental health services when needed.
3. Fear of failure
Competition is always lurking above entrepreneurs like a hungry hawk ready to pounce. While competition has proven helpful in multiple ways, it brings about great uncertainty. Not knowing whether your business will succeed brings about overwhelming anxiety. And if this goes untreated, it can result in more serious mental health issues.
4. Impression management
If there’s one thing entrepreneurs know how to do well, it’s acting as if everything is okay even while on the brink of collapse. Keeping up with the facade creates a disconnect from reality. As a result, entrepreneurs hardly ever seek help when needed so as not to appear weak. This increases stress levels and could consequently lead to other mental health diagnoses. If you have faced this, it’s essential to understand that the roller coaster of entrepreneurship is part of the journey. Use these lessons as a learning tool for personal and professional growth.
5. Multiple roles in a company
Founders within the early stages have multiple roles in their companies. For example, you might find a founder of a clothing store as the stockist, the photographer, the social media manager, the accountant, and so much more. They have no other alternative but to do so as their capital is limited. This often leads to overworking, sleepless nights, and poor eating habits, driven by stress.
There’s nothing wrong with having multiple roles in a company. In fact, in the beginning, it can be quite necessary, but it’s important to know when to delegate. Therefore, ask for help when it’s needed.
Mental health is one of the most important aspects of a wholesome entrepreneur. The foundation of a powerful leader is the importance of having a balanced emotional and mental mindset as a founder. You need to take care of your well-being which positively impacts your business.
You can start today by creating routines that allow you to take time off work, create support systems, and make it a point to ask for help. Ensure you have enough rest, and time for physical activity, join support groups with other entrepreneurs, meditate and attend workshops and events that build you professionally and enhance your emotional intelligence.