- The entrepreneurial experience can be an emotional roller coaster, and it attracts ambitious, risk-prone individuals who have a higher-than-normal incidence of mental health issues.
- In fact, a 2015 study conducted by the University of San Francisco found that 49% of entrepreneurs have a mental health condition.
- The stigma surrounding mental health can discourage entrepreneurs and founders from discussing the realities of the industry, creating a culture of denial that exacerbates the issue.
- Business Insider has compiled a working list of prominent founders and entrepreneurs who have spoken about their mental health experiences, in order to foster a healthier environment for current and aspiring entrepreneurs.
- If you’re struggling with mental health issues, call the SAMHSA National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), or reach out to the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Entrepreneurship is a high-risk, high-reward endeavor, with failure rates hovering around 50% at the five-year mark.
Still, the prospect of windfall returns and the allure of professional autonomy has convinced nearly 31 million Americans, or 16% of the US adult population, to pursue entrepreneurship.
The rollercoaster nature of entrepreneurship, with its mercurial highs and lows, can strain the mental health of founders and small-business owners. Aspiring founders also report that the nature of their work can feel isolating, as if no one can fully understand the pressures they are under.
This unpredictability, coupled with the sense that outsiders are unable to fully understand the challenges of the industry, has led entrepreneurship to develop a reputation as a haven for poor mental health.
A 2015 study conducted by the University of San Francisco found that 49% of entrepreneurs have a mental health condition. It also found that entrepreneurs were “significantly more likely to report a lifetime history of depression (30%), ADHD (29%), substance use conditions (12%) and bipolar diagnosis (11%) than were comparison participants.”
As a result, entrepreneurs face high levels of burnout and even suicide.
Fortunately, in recent years entrepreneurs have grown more outspoken about the mental health crisis in their industry. Founders and small business owners now speak candidly about their struggles separating their personal lives from their professional ones, and communities have cropped up to connect entrepreneurs with support.
Below is a working list of entrepreneurs who have spoken openly about their history with mental illness, including how they manage their mental health.