Being an entrepreneur certainly has its ups and downs. For every peak, it seems there’s a valley waiting around the corner and vice versa. While a lot of the discussion surrounding entrepreneurship focuses on ambition, creativity and the sense of fulfillment people get when they build something out of nothing, the reality is that a lot of entrepreneurs sometimes feel lonely, stressed out, anxious, burnt out and empty.

In order to understand the cognitive, affective, and behavioral strengths and vulnerabilities of entrepreneurs, researchers at the University of California recently studied the link between entrepreneurship and mental illness. While the results don’t necessarily reveal the inventive genius present in many entrepreneurs, the study did reveal the lesser-known dark side of entrepreneurship — mental illness.

The research discovered that 49 percent of entrepreneurs surveyed were dealing with at least one mental illness (such as attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, addiction, depression or anxiety) and roughly one-third of entrepreneurs struggle with two or more mental illnesses. By comparison, only about 32 percent of all adults in the U.S. report being diagnosed with one or more mental illnesses.

In order to spread awareness about mental health issues amongst the Denver startup community, Thrive’s partner, Founder Institute, is hosting “Entrepreneurs and Mental Health” at our Ballpark location on Wednesday, March 8 at 6:30 p.m. The event aims to inform local entrepreneurs and the metro area’s startup ecosystem about its options when it comes to getting help with mental health issues. The event’s speaker — AJ Cohen, COO, Chaise™ by Mental Affect, LLC — will delve into the causes of some mental health problems and highlight options available in our area. The event is free to attend and anyone who is involved with a startup or an early-stage company, who is feeling overwhelmed and needs help or who feels that an acquaintance of theirs might need help is encouraged to join us.

If mental health issues go unaddressed, they can have debilitating side effects — some of which may be detrimental to business. Certain issues can have negative effects on decision-making and confidence, which can diminish an entrepreneur’s effectiveness as a leader. When you’re able to better understand why such feelings exist, you’re better equipped to deal with them. “Entrepreneurs and Mental Health” will provide resources that will help attendees better understand mental health issues and where to go for help.

As entrepreneurs, you must constantly be on your A-game. Clients, customers and employees all depend on you operating at full health — both mentally and physically. Feelings of anxiousness, stress and depression aren’t weaknesses — they’re reactions to events in your life. Mental health is important — as important as physical health, diet and the success of your company — and “Entrepreneurs and Mental Health” will strive to highlight that significance. The more aware you are about what makes you tick, what stresses you out and what puts you into a positive, fulfilled mindset, you’ll be more prepared to maneuver everything that comes with being an entrepreneur.

Join us for an informative evening and gain some valuable tools necessary to succeed as an entrepreneur today.