Originally published in the Bay Street Bull, on December 12, 2018 by Sam Duboc, Chair and CEO of MindBeacon Health
It’s like riding a rickety roller coaster with a decades-old seat belt: a total thrill but stressful enough for you to question why you got on in the first place. Consequently, it’s not unusual to see entrepreneurs pushing through life in a less-than-ideal mental state, often repressing once-manageable emotions until they reemerge unexpectedly and with a vengeance.
I know because I’ve been there.
By the time 2011 came to a close, I was recovering from two heart operations and the loss of my dad, all of which was exacerbated by the sudden death of my brother. When combined with the constant demands of my professional endeavors, I didn’t stand a chance against the depression that eventually hit. At that time, I felt as though a fog had set in over me…and I wasn’t the only one: my family, friends, and colleagues were all impacted by my depression, and I realized that I needed help. Learning how to identify my issue, come to terms with it, and admit that effective treatment would require professional assistance was the light that started to pull me out.
Finding help wasn’t easy. It’s a difficult landscape to navigate with long wait times in the public system and extremely high costs in the private sector. I realized, though, that if I struggled to find the support I needed, others must too. Like any entrepreneur, I wondered if there was a better way. That moment of clarity inspired my mission of making effective, evidence-based mental health care affordable and accessible to all Canadians.
Unfortunately, the statistics are alarming. One in five Canadians will experience mental illness this year, and it continues to be a leading cause of disability across the country. But that doesn’t cover those who are impacted by mental illness, like the families, friends, and colleagues of those suffering. It takes a toll on everyone. Entrepreneurs possess no special immunity to these numbers.