Are entrepreneurs more depressed?

It is interesting to know that depression is more common among entrepreneurs than in the normal population. On average, 7% of the population suffers from depression, while a whopping 30% of entrepreneurs suffer from depression. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that entrepreneurs experience more anxiety than employees. In the latest Gallup-Healthways welfare index, 34 percent of employers (4 percentage points higher than other workers) reported that they were worried.

And 45 percent of employers said they were stressed, 3 percentage points higher than other workers. Considering how much the game of entrepreneurship is idolized and associated with words such as “freedom” and “autonomy”, the emotional side of building companies is not so often spoken of. A more controversial and well-known view is that entrepreneurs report mental health problems significantly higher than professionals who work every day. According to a study by the University of California at Berkeley, 72% of entrepreneurs in this sample reported mental health problems.

Employers were significantly more likely to report a lifetime history of depression (30%), ADHD (29%), substance use conditions (12%), and bipolar diagnosis (11%). NHS research from England shows that one in four adults suffers from mental illness. Being an entrepreneur increases your risk even more. According to research by Michael Freeman, entrepreneurs are 50% more likely to report having a mental health condition, with certain conditions that are more prevalent among founders and character traits that make them more susceptible to mood swings.

Entrepreneurs have a reputation (which barely precedes them) for lack of sleep, malnutrition, excess caffeine and financial restrictions. It also reignited a debate on entrepreneurship and mental health that began two years earlier after the suicide of Ilya Zhitomirskiy, co-founder of Diaspora, a 22-year-old social networking site. Rebuilding the damage that depression causes in the image of themselves, especially for entrepreneurs who are used to being high-performing, takes time. Some of the serial entrepreneurs who have enjoyed the greatest longevity and success simply enjoy going for a walk in the open air each day.

Well, the unfortunate reality is that these kinds of problems are everyday events in the life of an entrepreneur. The three main themes that entrepreneurs identify as triggers for their feelings are co-founders, investors, and relationships (whether at work or at home). The Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship is the Harvard Business School's champion of business education and training. Kip, a San Francisco-based startup launched by Erin Frey, offers a hybrid of in-person therapy and software services to entrepreneurs and startup employees.

Since most of us don't know the importance of mental health to success, many beginning entrepreneurs don't include therapy in their budget. While some entrepreneurs may turn to therapy after a tipping point, not everyone wants or can afford it, especially if they are in the early stages of a new venture. The University of California, San Francisco and its team investigated mental health problems among entrepreneurs. She challenges business owners, educators and legislators to reconsider toxic tropes about the “entrepreneurial mentality.”.

Muriel Bivins
Muriel Bivins

Wannabe bacon lover. Freelance pop culture maven. Unapologetic twitter buff. Hardcore pop culture specialist. General pop culture trailblazer. Amateur introvert.

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