Nigel Morris is the co-founder and managing partner of. QED investors ..
The road to entrepreneurship has never been easier. This process is stressful, noisy, risky and requires ambiguous comfort. The victims are innumerable, sometimes at the expense of mental health.
Founders often run out of resources and commit too much. Chasing dreams is exciting, but responsibility to employees, investors, and customers can be overwhelming.
To make matters worse, there are many founders closest to them for fear that they might be viewed as “failures” or that they might not be equipped to carry out their work. You have to let people know how you feel. Imagine for a moment that the founder suffers from addiction and substance abuse due to the demands and pressures to run a business. Now imagine that having to make it clear to investors makes the anxiety and anxiety worse.
Michael Freeman, a psychiatrist and former CEO of the University of California’s San Francisco School of Medicine, studied the prevalence and characteristics of entrepreneurial mental health.
Founders suffer twice as often from depression, six times more often from ADHD, three times more often from substance abuse and suicidal ideation than demographically consistent comparisons. The chances are double.
He is twice as likely to suffer from depression, six times as likely to suffer from ADHD, and three times as likely to be drug abuse and suicidal than a demographically consistent comparison. I came to the conclusion that it was twice as likely. Freeman found that entrepreneurs were 50% more likely to report mental illness and that certain illnesses were incredibly common among founders.
The statistics are spectacular, but the real impact can be really disastrous.
Whenever I have pain in my arm or shoulder, I always say I get a job and I whine. But if you couldn’t sleep last night, were delusional about going out, took too many sleeping pills, or drank too much wine, I’m not going to talk about it.
He says he is going to the doctor to fix his shoulders, but he has no plans to speak to the therapist.
At QED Investors, we have seen the dire consequences of this silence first hand. In 2018 he lost his partner Greg Mazanec after a long battle against substance abuse. Since then, we’ve worked with Greg’s family to find out how we can do their part to prevent VCs and others in the startup world from suffering the same fate.
I can’t talk enough about Greg, either as a personal friend or as a colleague. He was an amazing human definition – an orthogonal thinker, tenacious, brilliant, and eccentric. We lost him way too soon. Today we carry him on his shoulder.
There was a team of 15 people at the time, so you can imagine how close everyone was. I vowed to myself and his family that I would speak of him at every opportunity. So whenever we stand in front of LPs and portfolio companies, we keep this topic open to address this caustic stigma directly.
Getting the mental health debate out of the shadows can significantly change the course of outcomes. Our venture capital world is full of people experiencing these kinds of difficulties even before the COVID-19 pandemic only adds to people’s fears and worries. People feel more and more isolated, depressed, anxious and helpless. Some people may have turned to opioids or other forms of addiction or substance abuse.
The research is clear – the support of friends, peers, and coworkers is critical to overcoming mental illness. When a company returns to the office or rolls out a home office hybrid, the company has a real chance to refocus on corporate culture, condemn addiction, and prioritize mental health. This is a unique window to focus on this disease.
Created by the Mazanek family lighthouse business to combat substance abuse and addiction in the ecosystem most important to Greg the founder and the business community. For QED it was the easiest decision to put a lot into supporting this wonderful initiative.
Earlier this year, QED ran a pilot program called Just Five with three portfolio companies. Created by the National Mental Health Nonprofit Shatter-proof, Just Five Five Minutes per lesson will teach you key concepts and facts about addiction.
We’re excited to be able to offer the same anonymous self-study program for free to more than 16,000 employees across all 50 QED portfolio companies based in the United States today.
The purpose of this program is to provide mental health education, enable informed discussion and, ultimately, reduce stigma.
During the year we plan to expand the scope of this program not only to international portfolio companies, but also to other VCs who wish to help their founders. The Spanish version is already planned.
Each of the six lessons has a specific topic. The first two lessons will explain the science of addiction and how certain factors, such as age of first use, genetics, and the environment, can explain why some people become addicted and others do not.
The middle lesson discusses the dangers of opioids and the signs, symptoms, and treatments for substance abuse, and the last topic describes how people can help. Most of the overwhelmingly positive feedback we’ve received so far relates to these last two lessons. We learned anecdotally what we already know. People want to help, but those who need it most don’t always know how to ask.
In the past few years, I’ve taken every opportunity to talk about mental health. I sincerely believe that if you blame it, people can handle it. It is a solvable problem. Like shoulder pain, it can be resolved. We need to do a better job of creating a culture where people can take the first step and talk about it openly.
We can – we have to ――It makes a difference ・ It is different. Add your voice to my voice.
Ending the Mental Health Stigma in the Tech Community – TechCrunch Source link Ending the Mental Health Stigma in the Tech Community – TechCrunch