According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): 

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Since its inception in 1949, Mental Health Awareness Month has been a cornerstone of addressing the challenges faced by millions of Americans living with mental health conditions. Throughout the month, NAMI actively participates in this national movement, dedicated to eradicating stigma, extending support, fostering public education, and advocating for policies that prioritize the well-being of individuals and families affected by mental illness.

For more than a decade, this blog has promoted awareness of mental health issues in the entrepreneur and small business community. My favorite post, and the one that culminated in my commitment to shining light on these sticky topics, is “Compare and Despair: Entrepreneurs and Depression.”  I wrote this after we lost Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade in the same week. 

At that time there were so many respected entrepreneurs who came out and talked about their mental health struggles. But we need to have this conversation all the time, not just when we lose one of our own. 

On this blog we have posted helpful mental health resources, and strived to facilitate discussions about mental health and well-being, because entrepreneurs are even more likely to experience stress and burnout than the general population. 

Starting and growing a business is hard, and it can be very lonely. I strongly urge you to connect with other founders and business owners and create a safe space to talk about the emotional ups and downs and crushing self-doubt that is part of the entrepreneurial journey. 

Last year’s Startup Snapshot 7th Edition validated everything I was hearing from founders and consultants who were considering leaving their business because of stress, anxiety, depression, and burnout. They came to me because I am an expert in the entrepreneur to employee career transition

The great professionals I spoke with were not the only ones who experienced these issues. According to the Startup Snapshot, “The startup grind takes a major toll on founder mental health – 44% high stress, 36% burnout, 37% anxiety, 13% depression, 10% panic attacks.”

Depending on the severity, you may need to reach out to a therapist or other mental health professional. Sweeping this under the rug doesn’t work well, in my experience. With my entrepreneur coaching clients, I find it is easier to keep them out of the black pit of despair than to get them out after they have fallen into it. 

But maybe you are in a place where you feel like you could pull yourself out of whatever you are experiencing with some guidance and better habits? That also can be the case. 

There is a super simple mental health hack in my latest Substack post, “The Unexpected Healing Power of Birdsong.” (Seriously! Check out the research in it.) 

And my book, This Isn’t Working! Evolving the Way We Work to Decrease Stress, Anxiety, and Depression, might be a good place to start. I attempt to normalize this conversation and present case studies from professionals in corporate and from small business owners about how they worked through difficult situations. Also, in Chapter 10, Strategies and Tactics That Work Wonders, and Chapter 9, Cultivating Happiness and Joy, I share ways that you can start to feel better almost immediately. (The link above is to Amazon, but you can purchase a copy wherever you buy books.)

Photo by Nik Shuliahin 💛💙 on Unsplash