A study by Ascent Foundation and Mariwala Health Initiative has found that Indian entrepreneurs have mental health issues and rarely take professional help.
Are Indian entrepreneurs able to shrug off worries after logging out of office? What issues haunt them the most?
In order to ensure that the firm does not lose its edge, it is not surprising that entrepreneurs are used to living under the cosh.
According to a study by Ascent Foundation and Mariwala Health Initiative, cash flow, management of team and fear of failure are the three major factors that lead to anxiety and stress among Indian entrepreneurs.
The study showed that 45 percent of the entrepreneurs experienced anger and frustration sometimes, and 35 percent of them experience this very often.
The survey of 186 entrepreneurs showed that financial cash flow is the top reason for stress for these individuals. This is true for both service sector and manufacturing sector entrepreneurs.
Stress among entrepreneurs came under the spotlight after Cafe Coffee Day founder VG Siddhartha in July, allegedly committed suicide over financial strains at his beverage company.
The study also has several anonymous anecdotes from entrepreneurs, where they expressed how failures at the workplace led to extreme anxiety and isolation.
For instance, a young entrepreneur (20-40 years age group) spoke about how in his consulting business that he started with friends, the entire journey was very rocky.
Not only did he have nobody to guide him, cash-flow management was an issue. After a life threatening accident, this entrepreneur took charge of his life and got help from a coach. Now he takes a week off every month and delegates work to help create a second rung of leadership.
What are the type of stressors?
The study showed that frustration is the predominant feeling experienced by entrepreneurs in family-owned businesses. On the other hand, anxiety is the dominant feeling experienced by those who run their own business (with or without partners).
Further, 8 percent of younger entrepreneurs (20-40 years) and 6 percent of older entrepreneurs (41-60 years) who are in family-owned businesses admitted that they had suicidal thoughts.
Rajvi Mariwala of the Mariwala Health Initiative said that interventions must be made as early as in business schools so that there is adequate awareness about this matter. She added it should be taught that is 'okay to fail' and there is a second chance.
The study showed that only 7 percent entrepreneurs take professional help for mental health issues. This is despite the fact that almost 80 percent of mental health issues do not require medication and can be resolved through consultations with counsellors.
Harsh Mariwala, founder, Ascent Foundation, said that at every stage of setting up a business, there are stressors.
Talking about how he deals with stress, Mariwala said that he would look at delegation of work and ensure that compliance is maintained at all levels.
"We have seen cases of companies who enter businesses that are not not their core. And they have failed. My belief is to focus on the core business and that is how I have operated," said the Marico founder.
He also advocated the use of having a support system and taking help of peer groups.
"Different coping mechanisms work for different people. I take off the stress by exercising and I religiously do it 365 days of the year. People should be open about their mental health matters and shouldn't consider it a taboo," he added.The Ascent Foundation is working with almost 500 entrepreneurs through peer groups with trained facilitators to help them discuss matters related to the workplace in a confidential setting.