Trying to find a healthy work-life balance can feel almost impossible in the startup world, but one WA group has found a way to make it at least a little easier…
The Perth Active Depression Support Group was founded by Rahul Seth in 2016 after his bipolar disorder diagnosis started affecting his work as an accountant.
Since then, the group has grown to more than 1,500 members, with around 300 events run in the past year, spanning everything from yoga to coffee catch-ups.
The benefits of strong social relationships are well documented, particularly when combined with some form of physical activity, with the WA Department of Sport and Recreation claiming participating in sport once or twice a week can reduce psychological distress by around a third.
Rahul told Startup News this is exactly what the group is trying to tap into.
“The group’s about being proactive in dealing with your mental health issues,” he said.
“What I envisioned a few years ago was a group that did more than just talk about mental health, it was about doing activities together with people who identify with a lived experience of mental health.
“You know you’re doing something active, but you don’t have to talk about mental health.
“So we do a range of activities including board game nights, origami, walks, ten-pin bowling, just everyday activities that gets people to be active and deal with their mental health in a positive way.”
Rahul also said the group is about more than just helping those with depression.
“The group is open to anyone who likes what we do,” he said.
“It’s also supportive of people with other forms of mental illness, other than depression.”
While mental health continues to be a growing concern for all Australians, a 2017 study from Everymind suggested small business owners, including startup founders, are around 50 per-cent more likely than the general population to be at risk of experiencing depression.
As for everyday lifestyle changes, Rahul said what’s important isn’t finding a perfect balance, but making an effort to take time away from work.
“I don’t think you can ever perfectly achieve a sense of balance. Rather, you need to have the perfect sense of imbalance,” he said.
“You need several domains in your life and you need to invest a small amount of time each week in them if you can.”
You can learn more about the Perth Active Depression Support Group here.