Performance pressure is making start-up employees slip into depression and substance abuse

In the past two years, owning or working at start-ups has become a trend, not to forget the "cool" label that comes attached with it. However, what people forget in the start-up glory is that it barely offers you time to maintain a work-life balance.

The ill effects of start-up culture, i.e., volatile environment, the pressure to perform better and the continuous hiring and firing, are now shaping up, but it’s too late for some people, who have already started to sink into depression.

Clinical psychologists are of the opinion that start-ups need to be a bit more humane, understanding that their employees are humans, not something which can be replaced with numbers and profits.

"Depression is widely prevalent across startups. The glamour is fading away and it is a reality check for most entrepreneurs. Also, not many can handle multiple roles in a startup, making it difficult for them to survive," Archana Bisht, director,, told ET.

While owners are answerable to investors, they depend on their employees to bring out more and more productivity. Some of these employees, who move in from high-flying corporate jobs, find it hard enough to fit in the new work culture.

However, it’s not impossible to deal with the stress that start-up employees have to deal with.

Being open to dialogues is one of the techniques adopted by start-ups to help deal their employees with stress. "We have constantly kept an open dialogue with our employees through one on one sessions and town halls. This helps address any concerns they may have," says Ankita Dabas, co-founder of

Another way to deal with this stress is arranging an environment according to the stress, be it couches in sleeping rooms to Xbox playstations in activity area. Several start-ups are now looking out for such facilities, so that their employees can relax in the stressed environment.

As per behaviour analysts, these initiatives can go a long way in maintaining good health of both start-ups and employees, who eventually have one another to lean back on.

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