In the past couple of years of being an entrepreneur, I’ve become increasingly aware that my struggle with mental health is not an isolated incident that only I suffer from. As I dig deeper into understanding my own issues, I have found that challenges with depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and suicidal ideation affects 73% of entrepreneurs.

My guest today, Dennis Gillan, is an expert in the field of mental health with heartbreaking experiences in dealing with the stark realities of suicide. While Dennis is NOT a psychologist or psychiatrist, he is a world-class speaker who has spoken to the Army, Air Force, churches, homeless shelters and colleges across the country.

I wanted to bring him on today — not for a Debbie-downer episode — but for an inspirational call-to-action for all of us, the business owners, founders and the families that support us, so that we can take one more step to END the stigma of mental health in this country.

In this episode, you’ll hear Dennis share how he dealt with the suicides of his two brothers, and how we can support those around us, and reclaim our own lives if we, too, suffer in silence.

Dennis says that dealing with the word “suicide” brings on a tremendous amount of guilt and pride. Guilt for what you could have done to prevent it, and pride of not wanting to ask for help. Dennis shares how he found redemptive healing in helping others as a volunteer for a suicide prevention hotline, and getting trained in QPR, or question, persuade, refer.

“QPR is like CPR for mental health,” says Dennis. “I’m not a cardiologist, but I can keep someone alive until the pros get there.”

Dennis also speaks to why entrepreneurs and creative-types are susceptible to mental health issues and how “Bundling Up” can help you cope.

If you are thinking about suicide or self-harm, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text the Crisis Text Line, a free text message service available 24/7, at 741-741.

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Resources mentioned in this episode:

Mental Health Advocate Coming to Gardner-Webb
Mental Illness May Plague Entrepreneurs More Than Other People. Here’s Why (and How to Get Help).
The Dark Side of Entrepreneurship with Data & Resources for Help
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
World Health Organization: Suicide Prevention