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Entrepreneurs Encouraged to be Vigilant About Their Mental Health

  • Entrepreneurs have been more likely than others to suffer from a variety of mental health issues
  • Challenges in creating and sustaining a business can lead to depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and other issues
  • Entrepreneurs are encouraged to be aware of warning signs, be open about discussing any challenges they face, and adopt other strategies to improve their mental health

Each year, World Mental Health Day is recognized on October 10 as a way of raising awareness of mental health issues and what can be done to address them. In a recent contribution to Forbes, Dan Murray-Serter says the occasion is a reminder to entrepreneurs to be aware that they are more likely to suffer from these problems.

Research has shown that entrepreneurs are more susceptible to mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, ADHD, and suicidal thoughts. There are several potential causes, including the challenges and responsibilities put on a founder when starting up a company, associating a business setback with personal failure, and financial risks. Unaddressed mental health issues can create negative reinforcement loops by causing poor performance at the company, such as a toxic workplace or conflicts with other founders.

Entrepreneurs can proactively address mental health issues by understanding the demands and pressure of starting a business and consulting with a mental health professional. They should also seek to maintain a healthy diet and exercise while also being aware of the warning signs of mental health problems, such as changes in mood, sleep, or eating habits.

Removing the stigma around mental health should also be a priority. Being a mentor to someone else is one way to create a means of mutual support. Murray-Serter recommends reaching out to other entrepreneurs regularly to see how they are doing and discuss any issues they are facing.

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