The World Economic Forum recently published a report on the future of health and health care, addressing the growing challenge of mental health around the world. It is now estimated that direct and indirect costs of mental health amount to over 4% of global GDP. This is more than the cost of cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory disease combined. Earlier in 2018, health insurance company Blue Cross Blue Shield reported from its database that depression has risen 33% since 2013.
While this number reflects the general population, people in certain professions are more prone to mental health challenges than others. Some of the highest rates of depression are found among entrepreneurs, law and health care professionals, teachers and social workers.
As a health care entrepreneur, I wanted to dedicate this post to my fellow entrepreneurs. My background for the last 13 years has been in medical devices and digital health. In the last few years, I’ve been building a company that specializes in helping people with depression, the single most costly and burdensome mental health issue. I founded the company because I lost my brother Peter to depression.
For entrepreneurs, dealing with depression, anxiety and other mental health issues can be especially difficult. Entrepreneurs tend to be independent, driven and overworked. Unaddressed mental issues can easily lead to burnout, and finding help can be next to impossible in an increasingly stressful world.
Entrepreneurs are especially sensitive to the stigma of being labeled. They often try to deal with their problems alone and wind up sinking deeper into despair, a condition that affects business success, family and quality of life. Friends and family often have no clue and are surprised to learn of major challenges that even highly successful people are facing. Tim Ferris and Elon Musk are examples of this.