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Mental Health and Entrepreneurship

Mental Health and Entrepreneurship

Health & Wellness
6
min read
May 20, 2022
Written By:
Patricia Opsima

Mental Health has been a recurring topic since the Pandemic began. According to studies, there is an increase in the number of people experiencing mental health problems now than in 2019. This increase in number is related to the Pandemic that everyone is experiencing right now. Some people claim that they are experiencing adverse mental or behavioral conditions, increased levels of anxiety or depressive disorder, trauma-related symptoms, substance abuse, and even suicidal tendencies. 

Entrepreneurs also experience Mental Health problems. In most cases, they have a higher tendency to acquire a mental health problems than non-entrepreneurs. This is because they are exposed to many factors that can induce anxiety and stress, especially when they risk their finances. 

Entrepreneurs at Work

This new way of living took a huge toll, and many entrepreneurs suffered in their businesses because of the forced closure due to the varied lockdown protocols in different countries. Many small business owners went bankrupt because their business lost profit due to insufficient income to zero income in past years. Some choose to still open with very little income, but they still have expenses, including utility payments, rent (if applicable), and salary (if applicable).

Some people who risked their money on their small business might have tons of debts to pay despite not having any income generated by their business. This will take effect in their lives because they will think of ways how to end their cycle of debts. Mortgaging their businesses will surely make them lose it in the end, especially if they cannot generate any income. 

Mental Health is an issue that needs to be discussed thoroughly with a professional. You cannot diagnose yourself with having a mental issue if you have not sought any professional help. Adjusting to the environment and engaging with fewer people, humans who are social creatures are affected by the loss of social connection. Since entrepreneurs are more sociable than most people, the new mode of living, with everything and everyone engaged in online activities, still needs more adjustment from the people. Their passion and dedication for their business might slowly lose their flame, and they will soon suffer a tremendous loss. 

Many people seek the advice of professionals to keep pushing forward. Entrepreneurs should learn how to continue their journey as business owners, learn the right tools to cope with this situation and learn how to be self-aware of themselves and their business. 

According to Michael Freeman, most entrepreneurs are more likely to have strong emotional states. These states are depression, hopelessness, worthlessness, despair, loss of motivation, and suicidal thinking. These extreme emotions can be triggered by many outside factors, including loss of income, high expenses, unpaid debts, and business foreclosure. 

These are some of the most common mental health issues that entrepreneurs experience. 

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) 

OCD

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder or OCD is a common, long-term, chronic disorder characterized by recurring thoughts and behaviors that a person feels they need to do over and over. The person may be experiencing Obsessions like increased fear of germs or contamination, taboo thoughts about sex, religion, or harm, aggressive thoughts about self or others, or having things in symmetrical or perfect order. People who suffer from these obsessions act all flustered, anxious, and agitated especially if they see something out of their perspective. Compulsions, on the other hand, experience the following symptoms: excessive cleaning or handwashing, repeatedly checking things, ordering and arranging things in a precise way, and compulsive counting. People with Compulsions have these repetitive thoughts and behaviors. 

Treatment for this kind of disorder can be through medication or psychotherapy or both, depending on the severity of the case and the possible other mental health issues that the person experiences. Some people will have trouble recognizing that what they are doing is excessive. Entrepreneurs, like the co-founder of Techstars and Managing Partner of Foundry Group, shared their experience with his OCD. His issues, the struggles, and how he managed to change and cofound their business at Techstars. Brad Feld described what he experienced with depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder including the impact of it in his life, both personally and professionally. 

Depression 

Depression in Starting a New Business

Depression or Major Depressive Disorder is considered a common mental health illness that affects a lot of people. It is considered a serious mental and medical condition that affects your thinking, feeling, and action in a negative way. It causes a loss of interest in activities you used to do and it also causes you to feel extreme sadness. Some people have shown physical changes like loss of weight, malnutrition, dehydration, insomnia, inexplicable tiredness, and suicidal tendencies as well. In most cases, a patient diagnosed with depression is treated with medication (anti-depressants) and psychotherapy. 

Entrepreneurs also feel a great deal of depression especially if they lost everything that they built. Some people who experience mental health issues need a support group who will help and guide them into their journey back to a better version of themselves. Mental health experts answer frequently asked questions through various videos online. There are no self-help videos for those who are afraid to visit a psychiatrist but they are the best option for the patient. Most videos online serve as a guide on how to know if someone has a mental health condition. 

Burnout 

Burnout

A lot of people do not consider this as a serious threat or mental health issue. They think that taking a break, resting, or sleeping it off can easily get rid of this issue. Little did they know that burnout is a real and serious mental disorder. Burnout, according to the study, is the prolonged and excessive effect of stress where a person feels physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion. Constantly feeling overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and the inability to meet any demand are symptoms of burnout. Most people experiencing this mental health issue lose their interest and motivation to keep moving forward. They get stuck with nowhere to go. They would start feeling hopeless, worthless, useless, and later on, they will be restless and cynical about all the things around them. 

Coping up with burnout requires looking at work from a different perspective. You can also turn to someone to listen to your feelings, experiences, and thoughts. Finding the right balance between work and life can also ease your excessive emotion and can help you brighten up your feeling. 

Anxiety

Anxiety in Doing Work

This mental health issue makes a person respond to situations with fear and dread. This makes a person fearful of so many things and situations that arise from a simple problem. Sweating profusely, loud thumping of the heart, and uneasy feeling are a few symptoms of this mental health condition. Anxiety as a disorder hinders us from functioning, thinking, and acting properly. Overreacting when something triggers your emotion and the inability to control your responses are also signs of anxiety. 

Treatment for anxiety is tailor-made for every patient. This means that if you have symptoms of anxiety, you should talk to your healthcare provider because he/she is the only person who can help you with your condition. It is a combination of medication (which will improve symptoms) and psychotherapy that will help you overcome your disorder. 

To overcome mental health issues even before it becomes a real problem for any entrepreneur, they have to surround themselves with the right people. When you start your own business, you will encounter various issues and problems - from finances, funding, capital, stocks, raw materials, employees, marketing, sales, etc. All these things provide a portion in your anxiety and stress and these two are the main reasons why entrepreneurs eventually acquire mental health conditions. 

You also have to be financially literate, educated, and independent. You always have to look at your business from a financial point of view. You have to make sure that you are not going to lose everything - money, emotions, friends, house, and business, just because you put all your trust, heart, soul, bank account, and identity into your business. You have to keep something for yourself. With this, you have to learn how other businesses are playing in the field. Study the market, the flow, and how other businesses thrive on the playing field. There is no harm in asking questions from people who have long experience with you. These things can help you with your startup and will also affect how you can handle future issues with your business. 

Seeking Professional Help

If you still have issues regarding your mental health, seek professional help. Therapy is the best option to cope with any mental health issue that you may encounter as an entrepreneur. Visit your local healthcare provider, ask questions, seek professional help because it will be your best defense against losing everything. Starting up and risking your hard-earned money on an idea that has a 50/50 percent chance of working can easily make you feel overwhelmed and anxious. You have to keep yourself balanced especially in your relationship with your friends, family co-workers, employees, and clients. Your environment will also affect your mental health, so make sure that you are working in a well-balanced place, properly ventilated, and well-lit area. 

These are the things that can help you become successful in your business and you can overcome any mental health issue that might arise from your business.

Patricia Opsima

SEO Specialist
Mental Health
Entrepreneurship

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