Depression is a very serious issue, and it can affect anyone, regardless of their profession. One such profession that has seen increases in depression rates in recent years is that of the entrepreneur. Despite the levels of confidence that the average entrepreneur can possess, along with a seemingly high comfort level with taking considerable risks as well as a passionate drive for success, this does not grant immunity from depression whatsoever.
The reality is, the difficulties of the corporate world can take a very serious toll on the mental health of any individual, says Scott Patrick Carson, an entrepreneur from Park City, Utah. This is why it is critical for everyone to be informed about the issue of depression amongst entrepreneurs, as well as empowered to make the necessary changes to both their mindset as well as their actions, in order to help those currently affected as well as take preventative measures for those not yet affected.
Scott Patrick Carson is the founder and CEO of MRP.io. As a worldwide leader in the distribution of medical aesthetic devices, He has set industry standards and changed the course of the medical supply industry.
While entrepreneurship is a valiant and noble pursuit, Scott Patrick Carson knows that it comes with its own set of challenges. Entrepreneurship can put an enormous amount of stress on a person, leading to depression and other mental health concerns.
How serious is the issue of depression amongst entrepreneurs today?
In my opinion, it is very, very serious at this point in time. It’s an issue that is far too often completely overlooked. In a world where we are just getting a grasp on the importance of maintaining mental health, depression is taking a serious toll on entrepreneurs. It’s about four times as likely to affect them, and they need both the understanding of the general public, as well as the support from professionals in order to get the help they desperately need.
What are the biggest contributing factors towards higher rates of depression in entrepreneurs?
The entrepreneur lifestyle in and of itself is the biggest contributing factor. The sheer amount of risk associated with starting up a company, aiming for success, and having to make dozens of sacrifices along the way, whether they are physical, mental, or financial, all add up to an experience that induces near-constant stress. Even the most composed of individuals can only deal with so much in their day-to-day routines.
Do you agree that there is, even in this day and age, a stigma against talking about mental health?
Absolutely. Half of the battle is talking about the issues affecting us as a society and the average individual is still not nearly comfortable enough with an open discussion. As the years go by, scientific discovery is only reinforcing the critical importance of proper mental health and my hope is that so too will the willingness of people to talk about it with one another and provide understanding as well as support see an increase in the years to come.
Is the stigma against open discussion of mental health issues further exacerbated in the entrepreneurial world?
Unfortunately, I also believe this is very much true in the modern world. The general perception of entrepreneurs is that they are somehow above things like mental health issues because of their tenacity and oftentimes public and lucrative successes. Not only is this as far from the truth as you can get, but if the public is currently hesitant to talk about mental health, it’s only more difficult for the discussion to occur amongst individuals with a perceived ‘elevated’ status.
Some entrepreneurs will go so far as to think that they can’t afford to be affected by their mental health, regardless of how intensely they are affected in the moment by all the pressures of working diligently, maintaining high energy, and pursuing success.
What are the best ways to navigate the stresses of entrepreneurial life?
It goes without saying that this is an exceptionally difficult task, when you consider that it’s already difficult to be an entrepreneur in the first place. But regardless, it can be done, and from a business perspective, it’s a long-term investment, one made to ensure that you’ll be able to continue doing what you love without the risk of breaking down or burning out.
Many of the best things to do are almost overstated in the business world, to the point where they go overlooked. Leaning on support from others, giving yourself credit where credit is due, taking time out of your day to spend on your family and other relationships, giving yourself enough sleep, taking the appropriate amount of time off — all of these things add up to a healthier entrepreneur, and every time that you tell yourself you don’t have the time or the means to invest in them, you’re selling yourself short.
What are some of the warning signs to watch out for regarding depression?
Depression can begin quite subtly within the entrepreneurial individual, and this is why it’s so important to be diligent, holding yourself accountable and watching for the signs. First, you have to look at how you frame your expectations, whether they are for yourself, other individuals, or your company as a whole. Are they realistic? If you find yourself setting the bar too high to possibly meet it and holding yourself to that standard, it can be a slippery slope.
Second, you also have to look at how you react to meeting or failing to meet these expectations. How hard are you on yourself? If the negativity of this inner monologue even remotely approaches excessiveness, it can be another sign of depression. Finally (and this can be the hardest step), you have to be honest with yourself regarding how your work makes you feel. Do you carry feelings of anxiety with you throughout your day, even after you get home? If your anxiety has a big enough presence in your life to the point where it is noticeably interfering with your work, it might be time to seek professional help; remember, there is absolutely nothing wrong with needing such help.
What is your advice to any entrepreneurs currently experiencing depression or other mental health issues?
The first thing I need you to know is that you are not alone. More importantly, it’s 100% okay to feel what you are feeling and you don’t need to put on an act for anyone. Finally, I would urge you to seek help from a professional and lean on the support your friends and family can provide in the meantime. Look to them for the positivity you need to hear that will reinforce your identity as an entrepreneur that is doing the best they can.
What are your suggestions for others so they can provide greater support?
Be vigilant. Always be on the lookout for any warning signs in the people you care about and above everything else maintain an open, empathic conversation with them if you are even slightly concerned about any changes in their recent behavior that indicate potential depression or other potential mental health issues.
Next, keep the conversation going. It’s one thing to talk with the people you care about regarding mental health on a personal level, it’s another thing to talk about it openly and publicly. Promoting awareness and communicating to everyone that they deserve to be heard, understood, and cared for is a powerful message, and one of the best ways to tackle the issue of depression, not just for entrepreneurs, but anyone who is affected by it.
Scott Patrick Carson is a worldwide leader in the distribution of medical aesthetic devices. With a highly developed insight and understanding of the industry, he has radically changed its course and expanded the opportunities available for practitioners worldwide.