The area of mental health is a murky one when considering the Zimbabwean context, or most of Africa in general. So many have suffered, are suffering, and most have even died due to mental health-related issues. It is because mental health is still largely an area that is largely overlooked or not understood in Zimbabwe. In this article, I shall look at mental issues in general so that you get an appreciation of them. Then I will specifically look at mental health issues you must be aware of before getting into the business.

The Epidemic Nature Of Mental Health Issue

We all can relate to the pandemic nature of COVID-19 because it is a topical global issue. There have been cases of infection, deaths, and even recoveries. It is usually easy to acknowledge the existence of such a problem because of the many tangibles that are apparent. Unfortunately, it is not really so for mental health issues – especially here in Zimbabwe. I personally think that the prevalence of mental health issues is actually an epidemic in Zimbabwe and most countries. The only challenge is that most of the people struggling with this suffer in silence. I can bet you that most of the people you know have some mental health-related issues right now. Some of them know and are ashamed to admit, whereas some do not even know.

Briefly Breaking Down What Mental Health Is

Mental health simply refers to the overall state of one’s mental faculties, which have a bearing on thought patterns and subsequent conduct. Thus when we are addressing mental health issues we are dealing with the incidence of imbalances in those mental faculties. In some cases, it is so abundantly evident when those imbalances are there. Sadly, it seems in most cases, the imbalances are masked or subtle and often time are interpreted as or as being caused by other things far removed from the real issue which will be mental health.

Some of the relatable mental health issues are anxiety, substance abuse, depression, panic attacks, and a wide range of disorders or conditions such as major depressive episodes, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and so on. Scientifically it has been proven that any form of negative behaviour exhibited by anyone can be traced back to some mental health-related issue. I would encourage you to watch a series called Criminal Minds to better understand this.

In Entrepreneurship, It Gets More Serious…

Founders of startups or businesses are some of the most heavily affected when it comes to mental health issues. When one chooses the path of a founder the chances of them getting depressed are doubled. They become 3 times more susceptible to resort to drug abuse. It has also been found out that the likelihood of them developing a bipolar disorder is increased 10 times. Suffice to say, when you think of getting into business you must be aware of the mental health issues so that you take necessary precautions.

The Importance Goes Beyond Just The Individual

Dealing with mental health issues or avoiding them does a lot for the entrepreneur. If unaddressed, the entrepreneur ends up generally performing dismally, making costly decisions, and ruins his or her social relations thus alienating themselves in the process. Worst case scenario their health ends up taking anosedivee and ultimately they might even die. I can tell you for a fact that most businesses are what are they are because they are reflecting the poor mental health of the founder or owner.

Did you know that over 60 per cent of businesses crumble because of irreconcilable differences in partnerships? Studies have shown that this is so and usually worsened by the poor state of the involved part or parties’ mental health. For example, being depressed or bipolar can lead to fallouts in business partnerships. Even in the overall business operations, staff might end up being demoralized due to toxic superiors. Several people I know quit their jobs because of toxic bosses – all traceable to some deep-seated unaddressed mental health issues on the part of the bosses. So let us not kid ourselves that mental health issues are not a big deal.

Some Ways To Address Mental Health Issues

The entrepreneurship terrain is gruesome; the level of risk and uncertainty is sky-high. Most founders attest to how largely lonely the journey is. Surely if you are not careful you can sink because the odds are usually morbidly against you. Here are some things that should be done to address these issues:

Maintain Human Connections

Often time when people deteriorate mentally they alienate themselves. It is important to always have a social circle that you interact with – be it family, friends, relatives, or colleagues. This is a framework through which you can confide in someone or get general support. Have time for hangouts with loved ones; spend time with family and so on. Get to open up when you are going through some hurdles.

Be Particular About Your Wellness

It is interesting to note that a significant lot of mental health issues can be addressed by eating healthy and bodily exercise. You must understand that at the core, mental health issues are chemical imbalances inside one’s body. This means eating healthy, exercising, getting enough rest, drinking enough water, and so on, can greatly improve your mental health. Even the tough scenarios founders contend with can be easier to deal with when one is in good health. This clearly shows you that the state of the body affects the state of the mind, and vice versa. Essentially making improvements on one reflects positively on the other.

Some of the tell-tale signs of mental health issues needing attention are downward spirals in eating habits, sleeping habits, mood swings, increased feelings of irritability, not being able to think straight or focus, incessant negative thoughts, feeling suicidal, increased affinity for seclusion, regular headaches, fatigue, and so on.