Loneliness, Depression, Fear: All Contribute to Mental Health Issues

Some, but not nearly enough has been written about entrepreneurs & celebrities and their battles with mental health. Loneliness and depression continue to occur within the ranks of both groups at an increasing rate and although failure (or fear of failure or a drop from superstar ranks) may be a driving force, it’s often not the sole deciding factor.

Is it the quest for perfection? Is it a blinding passion that nothing else is visible? Or a control issue where no one can do it better, so it’s dealt with alone?

Michael Dermer has written a great book, The Lonely Entrepreneur and has developed a membership site of the same name that is a great resource for entrepreneurs. Strategic Coach has developed a great program for entrepreneurs. There are others, as well.

But are current efforts enough to slow down the alarming rate of suicide among entrepreneurs – and often more in the spotlight than entrepreneurs, celebrities? As successful as they were, what were the deciding factors leading to the suicides of chef and TV personality Anthony Bourdain and fashion designer Kate Spade?

The deaths of Bourdain and Spade by suicide have thrown the spotlight on celebrities and depression. Instead of bringing them happiness and freedom, for many, being sought-after, rich and at the top of their game leads to an identity crisis and ruminations on their self-worth.

And now, Naomi Judd, one-half of the iconic country music duo The Judds, reportedly died by suicide after years of struggling with mental illness.

This is a topic that must be brought front and center as we continue to grow as an entrepreneurial society with approximately 60% of the labor force in some type of self-sustaining endeavor whether it’d be as freelancers, sole practitioners, professional service providers, contractors, solopreneurs, and increasingly, musicians, artists, and authors.

Why is suicide more common among entrepreneurs, celebrities and creatives?

Noted Bollywood actor and television star Sushant Singh Rajput committed suicide a couple of years ago. His demise came as a shock to many as it was the fourth death of a famous personality from the Hindi film industry to pass away within months of each other.

Suicide is not a new issue, especially not in celebrity circles. These tragic deaths are also not limited by lines of work, ranging from boxers, designers, politicians and writers to actors, musicians and yes, entrepreneurs. What about influencers that have achieved celebrity status along with becoming rising stars in this relatively new class of entrepreneurs?

There was a string of influencer suicides in 2021. All unfortunate and tragic occurrences that took young lives, they left entire fan communities in mourning for their favorite stars who had secured places as standing icons of inspiration across fields, from beauty to travel to farming to sports. But what often goes ignored when reviewing these moments of tragedy is the kind of impact the internet is having on our mental health, every single day.

It isn’t just online celebrities or creators partaking in influencer cultures who are burdened with the impossible expectations and virtual validation that the internet has become the one-stop destination for. Sadly, it can happen, and is happening, to many of us plugged into social media.

There is no conclusive line on whether all these influencer suicides came about as a result of social media impinging on mental health. But there is no doubt about the fact that a direct or indirect correlation between our use (or abuse) of the internet and offline consequences.

So, why do wealthy people kill themselves? Don’t they have it all?

The reality we often forget, however, is that celebrities are human beings, just like us. “We only see one version – one of glamour, fame and fortune,” explains Nance Roy, Ed.D, Chief Clinical Officer at The Jed Foundation. They may struggle with relationships, finances and illness. Adds Dr. Roy: “Celebrities may feel more pressure to perform, to be perfect and to keep up their image for fans, often making it more difficult for them to reach out for help.” Another critical point: a person rarely takes his or her own life because of just one reason. “Suicide is complex, and we often don’t know all the factors involved.”

Bullying, even of celebrities and other notable individuals is certainly a contributing factor as it is for our younger generations. In fact, the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. and 2nd among people aged 10 to 34 (a person dies every 11 minutes), suicide was identified by the National Institute of Mental Health as a major public health concern. Suicide rates increased 35% from 1999 to 2018, briefly declining in 2019. However, reports of depression and anxiety – risk factors for suicide – had increased during the pandemic.

Discussing Mental Health Issues

We need to reduce the stigma faced by people experiencing a mental illness. How? As Martin mentioned, we need to talk about it. Stigma remains a major barrier to treatment and care. Dr. Fink agrees: “How do we grieve and process except by speaking and sharing with others?” When people die of cancer, their illness is almost always part the public conversation. From his Haitian roots, Dr. Arty provides a global perspective: “As a world community, we need to be bold and unashamed in discussing this sensitive and painful topic. The discussion itself may save a life.”

Dispelling myths is also key. A common myth? “Asking someone if they are suicidal will not increase the risk that they will die by suicide,” clarifies Dr. Roy. Inquiring about potential self-harm in a compassionate way may instead provide an opportunity for the person to express their feelings and reach out for help.

Proclamation from The White House on National Mental Health Awareness Month

Each May we raise awareness about the importance of mental health and its impact on the well-being of all Americans, including children, adults, families, and communities across our Nation. We also give thanks to the dedicated mental health providers whose service and support improve the lives of so many Americans. We stand in solidarity with those who are experiencing mental health conditions, renewing our commitment to providing them with the support they need and deserve. 

Even before the pandemic, millions of Americans were experiencing stress, trauma, anxiety, and heightened levels of depression. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated those conditions, creating an unprecedented mental health crisis across our country. Communities of color, frontline workers, health care workers, and individuals with eating disorders have been disproportionately impacted, and the rate of depression across the country has more than tripled compared to rates in 2019.

Read the full proclamation on the White House website.

‘Why’ is a question that is always asked by those left behind or hurt by these suicides – the answer or answers would never make sense to someone who loves life. As such, I look forward to thoughts on this with hope the discussion continues. Thank you!

If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273- TALK (8255). It’s free, confidential and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Mental Health: A Cause for Concern

I’d like to share a truly inspiring story as we begin Mental Health Awareness Month. It’s a story that can be related to current times when many may need to lend a helping hand to those who are tangled up in the seemingly insurmountable challenges as a result of circumstances not caused by themselves.

Some years ago, this story was in the San Francisco Chronicle. It was about a female humpback whale who had become entangled in a spiderweb of crab traps. The line was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her body, tail, torso and a line tugging in her mouth.

A fisherman spotted her just east of the Farallon Islands and radioed an environmental group for help. Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so bad off, the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her. They worked for hours and eventually freed her.

When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles. She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, and nudged them, pushed them gently around as she was thanking them.

Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives. The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth said her eyes were following him the whole time, and he will never be the same.

May you, and all those you love, be so blessed and fortunate to be surrounded by people who will help you get untangled from the things that are binding you. And may you always know the joy of giving and receiving gratitude.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness. During May, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) joins the national movement to raise awareness about mental health. Each year NAMI fights stigma, provides support, educates the public and advocates for policies that support people with mental illness and their families.

For 2022’s Mental Health Awareness Month, NAMI will amplify the message of “Together for Mental Health.” They will use this time to bring voices together to advocate for mental health and access to care through NAMI’s blog, personal stories, videos, digital toolkits, social media engagements and national events.

Together, we can realize NAMI’s shared vision of a nation where anyone affected by mental illness can get the appropriate support and quality of care to live healthy, fulfilling lives.

For more information, please visit the NAMI website HERE.

Back to Basics

Since 1949, Mental Health America and its affiliates across the country have observed May is Mental Health Month by reaching out to millions of people through the media, local events, and screenings. They invite other organizations to join in spreading the word that mental health is something everyone should care about by using the May is Mental Health Month toolkit materials and conducting awareness activities.

After the last two years of pandemic living, many people are realizing that stress, isolation, and uncertainty have taken a toll on their well-being. 

This year, the theme of MHA’s 2022 Mental Health Month Toolkit is “Back to Basics.” The goal is to provide foundational knowledge about mental health & mental health conditions and information about what people can do if their mental health is a cause for concern.

Request the Toolkit HERE.

Maintain Work Life Balance

Often, Saturday mornings feel like a much-needed rest stop after driving all day. You know the feeling, right?

You come to a stop and take a deep breath as your arms drop from the steering wheel. It’s then you feel the tenseness in your hands from gripping the wheel tighter than you had realized. A stretch before exiting the car helps the transition from the focus required as you managed your three-thousand-pound vehicle through traffic, turns, sudden stops, other drivers, less than ideal weather conditions, etc.

Upon exiting your vehicle, you stretch once again – this time just a bit longer as you work out the slight pains in your neck or knees. Maybe even a couple of sharp twists of the neck, without even realizing what has really become a habit of sorts – a routine to transition to relaxation and to your next steps, whatever those may be.

Saturdays are key to the transition from the past week. It’s key to the maintaining work-life balance that is essential to your well-being, and to your success. Sometimes, forcing yourself into the right mindset to establish a sense of calm is necessary. Determining ways to do so is essential.

Now you’re ready to move through the day of different activities that will take you further away from the mental weight of the work week. Whether it’s physical work in the yard or a heart-pounding bicycle ride or even a stroll through the mall, you’ll be recharging your batteries while re-energizing your mind.

Have you ever felt your computer was just a bit faster after restarting? And have you ever sensed your car drove just a bit better after washing it? One is actually a real experience while the other is perception, and that’s perfectly okay as both are positive experiences, each in their own way.

I believe Saturdays are “mindset” days. The song, Saturday in the Park by Chicago seems to pop into my mind quite often and for me, epitomizes that mindset, especially the last lines of the lyrics…

“People reaching, people touching. A real celebration. Waiting for us all. If we want it, really want it. Can you dig it (yes, I can)? And I’ve been waiting such a long time. For the day, yeah, yeah.”

I strongly recommend taking a few minutes to sit back right now and listen to the entire song or better yet, watch this video. I believe you’ll find your feet tapping to the melody as you visualize the experience, and wait for it, you’ll begin to smile. Trust me. It will happen!!

How to Improve Your Work-Life Balance Today

Relaxed. Recharged. Re-energized. I’m now ready for Sunday.

To many, Sunday is considered the end of the weekend. To me, it’s the start of a new week, a new beginning.

I love the quiet and solitude of Sunday mornings as I awake by 4AM. I use the time to think about possibilities as I catch up on reading, reviewing the many publications, newsletters & blogs to which I subscribe. Sunday afternoons are typically reserved for family time.

Preparing for the week ahead is reserved for Sunday evenings and typically takes me well into the night. This ensures a stress-free start to the week ahead and goes a long way toward achieving goals. Doing so actually helps plan for free evenings during the week. This allows me to maintain a work-life balance as family commitments & events are firmly in place on my calendar, not to be interrupted by work.

7 Ways Successful Entrepreneurs Refuel Over the Weekend

Here’s to a great weekend and a productive stress-free week ahead. Please share this with others as there are far too many that have a difficult time managing stress and especially so during what are seemingly uncertain times.

When the volume increases, there are positive solutions!

As we enter a holiday weekend, one with religious meaning for many, I know it’ll be a time of reflection, and of loneliness and depression and possibly, despair. Loved ones will be missed even more. Increasing costs and pandemic-induced fear may have prevented traveling to visit with friends and family. The news of the day full of horrific images of war to the seemingly endless political differences certainly can chip away at hope.

And despite several days away from work, if unhappy with work or if challenges have been mounting as they’ve been for many entrepreneurs and business owners, it becomes difficult, if not impossible to clear one’s mind. In fact, idle time may keep the difficulties more front and center without the distractions of work and operating a business. As such, I’m compelled to share the following article I had written a while back about a personal experience.

Recently, I was told about someone who had committed suicide. I had only met him once, but it got me thinking about what may have been going through that person’s mind.

Personally, I can only imagine the ‘noise’ being experienced without being able to control the volume either to drown it out or to hear it better. It’s like what we’ve all done at one time or another… turning up the volume on the car radio when hearing a noise that wouldn’t go away or that couldn’t be identified or when turning up the volume was just to hear something more clearly, and at times, just because a certain song was playing — sometimes stirring up memories. There could be other reasons.

There are also times the volume is cranked up to ‘disappear’ into deep, personal thought, essentially, to just get lost in the moment. However, turning up the volume could possibly be a form of denial akin to putting one’s head in the sand. Isn’t it interesting that similar actions are done for various reasons and possibly, for different results? Yet, the action taken is often done impulsively without nary a thought as to the action being taken and certainly with no thought as to the consequences thereafter.

Here is a quote about suicide from an episode of Yellowstone as John Dutton tries to reason with his son, Jamie who is sitting alone in a field with a gun in his hand…

You know the thing about suicide, you don’t just kill yourself. You kill every memory of you. This’ll be all everyone remembers, Jamie. Every second you spent on this earth will be reduced to how you chose to leave it.

Ultimately, how do we help others to help them think through what it is that’s on their minds before it’s too late? How do we help others toward better mental health, a necessity for better decision-making and in understanding and managing emotions? Of course, I really don’t know. It’s just hard to grasp the why in these situations. It’s all difficult to comprehend.

During this holiday weekend, and any time for that matter, please talk to someone and share your thoughts, feelings. Do not feel anything less than the wonderful person that you are. To put it bluntly, shit happens but there is always a positive solution to reverse course.

If you feel you have no one to talk to, contact me. I’m happy to help. You can reach out to me on any social media, on LinkedIn, by email to paul@acceler8success.com, or feel free to call or text me at (832) 797-9851. I will respond as quickly as humanly possible!

If you feel you’re at wit’s end, please immediately call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1–800–273–8255.

In any event, no one will think less of you if you reach out for help. You’re loved no matter what you may think. Please do not hesitate to reach out to someone!

When Faced with Failure…

Sometimes regardless of how well entrepreneurs plan and despite how much effort they dedicate to something, they often fall short of their goals and the end-results cause a multitude of challenges and problems. Ultimately, it can adversely affect their financial position, reputation, relationships, team spirit and much more. It can also start to spiral into personal life and affect family, health and overall well-being. 

Unfortunately, such situations are often perpetuated by denial when placing one own’s head in the sand. 

Think of it this way… If we are to put our own head is in the sand, our most vulnerable ass-et would be sticking out in plain view. Some will laugh. Others will point and snicker, definitely telling others. And a few will take advantage of the situation and current position of vulnerability. 

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F. Kennedy

Sadly, many business owners put themselves in that position. Not because they swung and missed. Not because they didn’t see the forest for the trees. And not because they just flat-out saw something that wasn’t there. Instead, it’s because they didn’t keep their head high, accept the situation, learn from it and move on, and with laser-focus. That is exactly what true entrepreneurs do when faced with failure.

Why Embracing Failure is Key for Entrepreneurial Success

Starting a business is anything but easy. From raising the appropriate capital to arming yourself with the right resources, there are a lot of steps to take and a lot of places in which one wrong decision can threaten everything. And while a small fraction of new business launches go off without a hitch, most experience at least a few roadblocks along the way. After all, over 50% of small businesses fail in the first four years.

In many ways, entrepreneurship is as much about luck as it is about skill, and there’s not always a way to avoid failure. However, learning how to rise above failure and turn problems into possibilities can be the deciding factor between making things work and shutting down your business. This is why embracing failure is the key to entrepreneurial success.

Read more HERE.