Life with mental illness: Steve Tucker
Today we put mental health under the spotlight with a series of interviews with tech entrepreneurs as they open up about their experiences.
The final interview is with Steve Tucker, CEO of Bunting.
As the founder and CEO of Bunting Software, and a long-time volunteer for Samaritans, Steve Tucker is undeniably a success.
However he’s struggled with feelings of low self-worth, imposter syndrome and a belief that success will help him find a sense of identity.
He shares his story of how opening up was tough, but worth it.
“Over the past three years I've become acutely aware of how experiences during my teenage years severely damaged my self-respect when I moved into adulthood," he says.
"This discovery led to the realisation that I use work as a means to prove to myself that I'm not worthless.
"This inner unhappiness had operated on a completely unconscious level for the past 15 or more years. It has been the fuel for my relentless pursuit of success and the catalyst of some of my greatest work.
"However, it has also caused a huge amount of unhappiness and suffering. Only now am I beginning to gain a true understanding of those inner mechanics and consequently to find real happiness.
"Tech isn't directly to blame for poor mental health. It is our society's obsession with success, wealth, beauty, power, status and achievement that is the root cause.
"The cognitive mechanics are similar to magazines promoting the perfect body – we are influenced to compare ourselves to a social stereotype that represents perfection and this simply isn't achievable for most people.
"Our modern day hyper-connected society simply compounds and magnifies this issue, reinforcing the message on a daily basis.
"If we want to change the world then we need to focus on shifting our perception and re-aligning the messages we send out.To maintain a good mental health I try to go to the gym and am a big film buff.
"However, I am someone who is daily immersed in tech, so I find that escaping the modern world helps me to unwind. We need to talk about the issues, without fear, if we are going to support each other.
"There's a powerful social stigma that surrounds mental health, which causes people to hide their struggles and to feel embarrassed about them.
"Obviously this compounds the issue further.If we want to support our co-workers then we need to remove the stigma and create a culture of openness.
"This starts from within. We need to face and overcome the fear of judgement and be honest about struggles in order to remove the stigma.
"It takes bravery - real guts. We started setting the culture of good mental health in our company, Bunting.com, when I, as CEO (the last person who normally goes public about mental health) publicly revealed my own secrets on LinkedIn.
" It has helped create a culture of true transparency, which is rare and has been really amazing. When I wrote publicly about my struggles with stress, self-doubt and low self-esteem the response was really positive.
"Many responded in the comments by discussing their own mental health struggles and felt the article reflected their own emotions.
"I now continue to write about my experiences as a high-ambition tech entrepreneur on a regular basis. No fear.”
Catch up on the rest of our entrepreneur interviews:
Read our full special report on mental health and extra content in the digital magazine below