This is an understandably sensitive topic that we’re going to be dealing with. We’re taking off our usual brash-styled writing hats and putting on a more thoughtful and introspective one to discuss this issue.

We’ll start off with saying that in this office we are lucky in that we can safely say we don’t suffer from depression nor have we suffered before. However, this doesn’t mean it might not affect us later on, so we’re grateful to be living in the moment.

From our conversations with friends, colleagues, and peers throughout the region, we’ve come to realise that depression is seemingly a part of the startup culture. This shouldn’t be the case.

We did some research and here are some things that you should know about depression in the startup life.

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A mixture of long hours, tight deadlines and constant fear of the burn rate can cause stress, which leads to depression for some.

Startups fail… a lot

The stats vary slightly, but most startups – 9 out of 10 – fail miserably for a multitude of reasons. This leads to lost jobs, stress and maybe depression.

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Working in startups is very emotional

If you’ve worked in a great startup or a really exciting one, you notice a few things. People are emotional – when it comes to work, building the culture or even just carrying out their job.

Environments like this can often be rollercoasters of emotion, which can leave you drained afterward.

Depression is often the result of working towards a goal that may change in a minute and having to adjust to the new reality can be jarring for most.

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A common theme about startups is the hard work

If you’re not working hard in a startup, it is likely you’re not really working in a startup, you just think you are.

Hard work is often accompanied by stress… You know the drill by now.

Startups don’t understand depression

We’re geared towards hard work and picking yourself up after setbacks. There isn’t a strong support system within the typical startup and dealing with it can be a challenge.

What can we do?

The good news is that it isn’t all doom and gloom. There are actually some things you can do to help yourself and others around you.

  • Be compassionate to those who seem to be going through a hard time. This isn’t easy when everyone’s working 16 hour days, but might help someone get through a tough period.
  • If you’re a founder of a startup, build a simple system that allows people to get help if they are feeling depressed or overwhelmed. Work with your insurer to have mental health coverage if it is possible.
  • Don’t work in isolation. We’re remote at Tech Collective, but I see my colleagues over Skype or over coffee way too many times a week. It has really helped get us through tough periods.
  • Acknowledge and demystify depression. It isn’t something we should hide or feel embarrassed about.

If you feel overwhelmed or know someone who may need help with depression, you can contact the following groups for support.

Please note we are not affiliated with the above organisations, but through online research and recommendations, have included them in this article.

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Tech Collective Talks is a new segment where we discuss matters that our partners, startup founders, and staff feel is important enough to spend time around it. We discuss it as a group and from it, we craft a story to share with our readers.

If you’ve got something on your mind, drop us a note here and we’ll see if we can include it in the next session.

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