Better Together: Mental Health – Let’s talk about it.
September 20, 2023 / Share:
A BI-WEEKLY COLUMN EXPLORING THE INTERSECTION OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND COMMUNITY BY SAM DAVIDSON
After two-and-a-half months at the EC, I’m starting to hear the same song. A lot of conversations I’ve had keep repeating, which to me means it’s time to act.
Many things resurface on a daily or weekly basis: entrepreneurs need help finding capital; we need to keep growing the ecosystem; access to advisors and mentors is crucial – you get the picture. These are all things the EC will keep investing in and prioritizing.
Another topic comes up almost daily: the mental health of entrepreneurs. And no one is talking about it.
On a walk with Will Acuff this week, he shared how his team’s work at Corner To Corner helps entrepreneurs use the word “grind” less and instead talk about “flow.” There will be long nights and early mornings, and you’ll need (and maybe even want) to work on your business when it’s hard and you’re tired. Doing it in a spirit of flow (“This is what I’m meant to do.”) is more helpful than a spirit of grind (“This is what I have to do.”)
I met Tina Phillips a few weeks ago. In that short conversation entrepreneurs’ mental health came up. It’s a topic she’s deeply engaging in at the moment, including some original research (take her open survey here, fellow entrepreneurs). I’m excited to see how she’ll use this as she shines a spotlight on this conversation.
But enough about my anecdotes and run-ins in my small corner of the world. This topic is getting national attention. Recently, this article in Pitchbook went deep and pointed out:
- 72% of founders reported that launching their own business had a negative impact on their mental health
- Neglecting mental health can lead to bad decision-making or hinder an entrepreneur’s ability to think creatively and solve problems
- Entrepreneurs were 10 times more likely to suffer from bipolar disorder and three times more likely to have ADHD than the general population
This idea will continue to get the oxygen it needs because investors see the ROI on it (finally).
It starts with a conversation, with someone willing to raise their hand first and say, “I’m an entrepreneur, and I struggle with this.” Just as it takes vulnerability to go first and admit what you don’t know about raising capital, growing market share, navigating a legal landscape, or finding a mentor, we need entrepreneurs to raise their hand and share that they need help emotionally and psychologically.
Taking care of one’s mental health as an entrepreneur can’t be done alone. While we have a lot of work ahead of us to fully engage this conversation, we at the EC are willing to have it.
Let’s get to work on this. Together.