Why So Many In The Tech Industry Struggle With Depression

Roni Jacobson | Nextgov.com | September 11, 2014

...In tech circles, depression is “more prevalent than anyone really talks about,” Brad Feld, managing director of the venture capital firm Foundry Group, and co founder of TechStars told me. Building a company involves long hours, late nights and an enormous amount of stress. The competitive nature of the startup industry—less than 10 percent of ventures succeed—discourages people from talking about their problems and feeds into the myth that successful founders are confident and in charge at all times.  “The notion that you can be vulnerable, the notion that you can share a weakness, those are antithetical to the great CEO archetype,” Feld says.

As a result, many founders believe they are struggling alone, and slowly become isolated from social networks and resources that could potentially help them recover. Fortunately, some influential players have started to speak out, including Y Combinator President Sam Altman, who wrote an encouraging blog post addressed to founders dealing with depression and anxiety this past June. "Most of the founders I know have had seriously dark times, and usually felt like there was no one they could turn to," Altman wrote. "For whatever it’s worth, you’re not alone, and you shouldn’t be ashamed."

Depression is hardly exclusive to tech. The disorder is the leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, and costs employers billions of dollars a year in lost revenue. Multiple people I talked to for this story pointed out that entertainers are also known for melancholy...