First coined back in 1990, various types of business are beginning to tap into the benefits of Neurodiversity . The neurodiversity paradigm suggests that, because neurological differences are normal and have existed throughout human history, they should be respected, understood, and supported, rather than pathologized or viewed as disordered. There is nothing to cure.
Gradual acceptance has gained speed over the past decade or so as well know entrepreneurs, actors, and other famous people have public come forward about their own respective battles. The disease and the stigma around it was truly rifled into public discourse when beloved public figures such as Robin Williams,
Scientists and doctors now know that neurological differences are normal and have existed throughout human history. In fact, one in five adults in the U.S. (46.6 million people) experience mental illness in a given year. This means that every year, our economy leaves more than $193 billion on the table every year. Now mental illness should be taken very serious at every level of business and those affected can no longer be discarded or viewed as inherently wrong or defective.
Recently, as a culture, we have been making headway tackling the stigma associated with many types of mental illness, including bipolar disorder . And although corporate programs have so far focused primarily on autism, Bipolar Disorder has been garnering an increasing amount of press and water cooler talk. The gist of it all is that right now, the iron’s hot. It’s time for entrepreneurs to acknowledge the risks, eliminate the stigma and take preventative action around mental health.
<blockquote> Researchers estimate that about a third of them seemed to have some type of mental health condition. fact, bipolar disorder can be a leader’s secret weapon.
Bipolar patients also gain – Work can give people a sense of structure, reduce depression, and increase confidence. This may help to enhance overall mood and empower you.
A Few Entrepreneurs with Bipolar Disorder
- Paul English – Kayak founder
- Ted Turner – Turner Broadcasting, CNN Founder
- Eric Salvatierra – helped found ebay, CFO at Skype, AP at PayPal (Suicide)
- Kate Spade – Fashion Designer
- Elon Musk – serial entrepreneur (may have aspergers).
- Aaron Swartz – Reddit Co-Founder
- Ben Huh – South-Korean-American internet entrepreneur
What about bipolar disorder among entrepreneurs? What is that conversation like and where is it going?
Well, start-up founders and bipolar folks share many of the same traits. Think about it: Both are always on, which is why they need to have lots of energy, an inventive streak, and a sizable appetite for risk—but they’re often stressed out, sleep-deprived, responding to high levels of unpredictability, and susceptible to putting self-care at the bottom of the priority list. So there’s good in bad. Like anything else.
Many people with these disorders have higher-than-average abilities; research shows that some conditions, including autism and dyslexia, can bestow special skills in pattern recognition, memory, or mathematics. Yet those affected often stuck on the sidelines because they simply don’t fit traditional profiles predefined by prospective employers.
Hope is gathering steam: A growing number of prominent companies have reformed their HR processes in order to access neurodiverse talent; among them are SAP, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Microsoft, Willis Towers Watson, Ford, and EY. Many others, including Caterpillar, Dell Technologies, Deloitte, IBM, JPMorgan Chase, and UBS, have start-up or exploratory efforts under way. We have had extensive access to the neurodiversity programs at SAP, HPE, and Specialisterne (the Danish consulting company that originated such programs) and have also interacted with people at Microsoft, Willis Towers Watson, and EY.