Mental Health & the Startup World

By: Alley Goodroad

By: Alley Goodroad

As an entrepreneur, I read startup industry news throughout the day. Today, an article stood out from the usual tips on pitch refinement, Series A funding, and agile workflows. In an interview with Fortune Magazine, CEO of Pivotdesk David Mandell, explains the importance of maintaining mental health and balance while leading companies. He references the first-hand struggle and says, “These are not just CEO or Founder viewpoints. This is life.”
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Depression is becoming more commonplace. In the United States, an estimated 16.1 million adults experienced at least one major depressive episode in the last year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. The nature of the startup rat race–long hours, starting capital, health insurance (?), investment, personal attachment to products, and the consistent pressure to produce–are causing a small, slow change within entrepreneurialism. Now, a couple of incubator spaces host mental health seminars, including Geekdom in San Antonio, to encourage startup team members to set aside personal time.

I’ve received several pieces of advice from business personnel in the nine months I’ve officially been in entrepreneurship. The first bit I’d pass along, that you will not easily find in a book, is “take care of yourself.” There will always be a secret side of entrepreneurship. It’s hard out here and you’ll learn the hard knocks along the way. Luckily, entrepreneurs who have “made it” are speaking out about being a business owner and maintaining mental wellness. For example, Kayak Founder Paul English spoke to Inc. magazine about his experience with bipolar disorder. In a nutshell, English notes how the ups of bipolarity may lead to increased productivity. However, as an entrepreneur, stability leads to longevity. As a now serial entrepreneur, English works to actively keep this outlook on a daily basis.


Alley Goodroad is a tech geek and digital media strategist at heart. She consults for start-ups, mid-sized businesses, and Fortune 50 companies. Recently, the Houston Business Journal nominated Alley for a Top 40 Under 40 award to honor advances in the digital space. Her other hobbies include coffee-ing, running, and playing with Brooklyn (an adorable Shih Tsu).

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