A New Podcast Telling the Stories of Entrepreneurs with Mental Health Challenges

Today, I’m officially announcing that I’m producing a new podcast, to be launched later this month (October 2018), where I will interview entrepreneurs who are living and working with a diagnosed mental illness. (We still need to choose a name for it! Have any ideas?)

On this podcast, I will interview entrepreneurs who will share their stories, their challenges, and the strategies they use not just to cope with their mental illness, but to thrive in business and in life. Then my friend and licensed therapist, Rebecca Ching, will join me to share insightas and takeaways from each story to benefit the listener.

The mission of the podcast is to empower entrepreneurs (and everyone else) to take charge of their mental health, to encourage them to seek support, and to help them understand that they are not alone in their struggle.

The Hidden Secret of Entrepreneurs and Mental Health Issues

Entrepreneurs are gifted with a special kind of brilliance, impressive grit, and passionate drive. Through resourcefulness, intuition, and a keen sense for finding unmet needs, they create, innovate, and solve problems to improve society’s quality of life. Yet underneath, so many entrepreneurs have unmet needs and closely held secrets that threaten their own quality of life.

Entrepreneurs are 50% more likely than the general population to experience a mental health condition in their lifetime. (source)

They are twice as likely to have depression, six times as likely to have ADHD, and have greater instances of bipolar and substance abuse as well. Those are some startling statistics. These mental health challenges breed doubt, shame, and silent pain that hinder their ability to make a mark with their creations. This is a cost to society, a hindrance to the innovation and elevation that would greatly improve the world we live in.

Equally as important to recognize and understand is the toll this takes happiness, well-being, and health of the entrepreneurs. So often, they suffer in silence, afraid to share the truth, worried about the effect it might have on their reputation, too ashamed to share what they feel is a weakness.

We Must Change the Narrative About the Unshakeable Entrepreneur

The current narrative of the consummate entrepreneur — one who has unshakeable confidence, grit, and hustle, one who faces the biggest risks of the world to attain great success — doesn’t leave space for these titan achievers to struggle with the doubt, fatigue, apathy, debilitating health issues, or any of the numerous other symptoms and effects of mental health conditions.

That narrative needs to change, both for the sake of the individuals who suffer because they don’t fit the perfect archetype, as well as for the sake of society who would reap exponentially more benefits from entrepreneurial innovation and creation if entrepreneurs were less hindered by their mental health issues.

We must learn more about the causes, effects, and even advantages of entrepreneurs with mental health conditions. We must raise awareness, educate individuals, and shift the stigmas that society has about mental health. We must provide better support for those who suffer.

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Why I Feel Compelled to Launch This Podcast

I have struggled with depression and anxiety since 2003. In 2017, I was also diagnosed with ADHD — something that had slipped through without getting noticed until I was 41 years old.

Because of a powerful societal stigma against taking medication or even discussing mental illness in public, I’ve had times where resisted getting the support and medication I needed. I’ve also gone years without speaking publicly about my own challenges.

The first place I ever spoke about my depression and anxiety was to a mastermind group of other successful entrepreneurs — 15 years after my diagnosis. It was then that I made an incredible discovery: rather than the ostracizing chill I feared, I was met with nothing but empathy and support. And perhaps most encouraging of all, I discovered that I wasn’t alone. Two other members of that 10-person group shared that they too struggled with mental illness. 30% of that small group was struggling with their mental health, and yet nobody was talking about it. That had to change.

It became obvious to me that day that not only were his challenges with mental health as an entrepreneur not unique, but there is a therapeutic power and release of stigma in summoning up the
courage to speak out about those struggles. The mere casual mention of a podcast on mental health for entrepreneurs provoked such a tremendous wave of enthusiasm that I knew I had to pursue the idea, and this podcast was born.

The podcast aims to shift the stigma of mental illness and raise awareness not only of the prevalence of mental illness but of the many resources and strategies available to entrepreneurs and anyone else struggling with their mental health.

A Team of Volunteers to Support This Labor of Love

This show is a labor of love run entirely by volunteers who are passionate about breaking the stigma of mental illness. I would like to thank the following individuals who have already committed and contributed to the success of this project.

Project Manager – Merideth Bisiker
Marketing / Promotion Lead – Jo Gifford
Professional Advisor – Rebecca Ching, LMFT
Guest / Influencer Relations – Jamie Broderick
Audio Editor – Trevor Twining
Press Release Writer – Tara Bradford
Site/Podcast Tech – Lauren Scalf
Show Notes Writer – Jill Wichner
Site Copywriter – Sharayah Pranger
Media Contributors – Tricia Brouk and Melody Wilding

How You Can Get Involved or Contribute

Here’s a list of things you can do to help get this podcast successfully launched. Please email me (jason@jasonvanorden.com) if you would like to get involved.

  • Volunteer to do some graphic design (We need podcast album art, a basic logo, and an infographic)
  • Volunteer to do some press relations and/or connect us with press outlets who can cover this when it launches
  • Donate to our Kickstarter (coming soon)
  • Send the guest application form to anyone you think has an important story to tell and should be on the podcast

Thanks go to Sharayah Pranger for help in writing this article.