The world of entrepreneurs and start-up founders goes well beyond the traditional office or what’s considered the usual workday flow. Long hours, high-stakes pitches, being constantly on the move, and the pressure to succeed are part and parcel of the culture.
So it’s no surprise that many struggle with their mental well-being. A widely shared statistic from a 2015 University of California study says that 72% of entrepreneurs admitted to self-reporting mental health concerns, and 49% said they deal specifically with ADD, ADHD, bipolar disorder, addiction, depression or anxiety.
The key issue for entrepreneurs, according to Abdullah Snobar, Executive Director of Ryerson University’s incubator DMZ, is that few are talking openly about mental health—an issue that costs the Canadian economy over $50 billion in lost productivity each year.
And if few are willing to share their mental health concerns, it’s also unclear if many entrepreneurs are taking the time or space to build in a lasting commitment to mental health for themselves and their growing teams.
But if you’ve got three minutes, there’s a short, easy onramp to long-term mental health support and productivity.
Enter MindsMatter, a free online assessment by CivicAction that gives users a three-point action plan with links to resources on how to build mental health awareness, knowledge and supports into workplace culture early.
The questions in the assessment give a sense of what can help: Does your business do things to support employee mental well-being (e.g.: Host company socials, offer flexible work hours)? Does your business talk about mental well-being (e.g.: How to manage stress at work and at home/family) and available supports (e.g.: Company social events, community support groups)?
MindsMatter can help entrepreneurs and small business owners start that first conversation of what next step to take when it comes to mental health. A simple conversation can make a big difference and remind team members it’s not about giving up, it’s about taking a rest.
Taking the MindsMatter assessment also signals the priority you’re giving to this topic, and brings you into a community of nearly 1,000 organizations across Canada of all sizes and sectors, who now have the actions to benefit over 2 million employees.
CivicAction and the Mental Health Commission of Canada recently hosted a webinar with the DMZ and KPMG on how to support employees in non-traditional work environments, like entrepreneurs and consultants who don’t work in a 9-to-5 office setting. One of the tips included was how technology and more customizable supports like online therapy can be an important way to begin a conversation on mental health and the ways it impacts work and productivity.
The bottom line: Consider mental health as another tool in the toolkit for the start-up that wants to grow to scale, by providing a foundation and culture for a healthy, high-performing team.