Are you a CEO with anxiety, depression? You're not alone

On Nov. 14, Daryl Tol, president and CEO of Altamonte Springs, Fla.-based AdventHealth's Central Florida Division, told a crowd of about 150 people something deeply personal that he'd only shared with a handful of others before — he had an anxiety disorder, and he worried it would ruin his career.

Mr. Tol shared his personal struggles with anxiety at the Mental Health Association of Central Florida's annual meeting in Orlando, according to a report from the Orlando Sentinel. He was the first professional at his level to share his mental health challenges in the public forum, MHA CEO Candy Crawford told the Orlando Sentinel.

Mr. Tol shared the story of his first panic attack in college and how despite treatment, his anxiety returned years later when he found himself in a hospital leadership position. He sought care at another health system in another county to avoid being found out, according to the report.

When he finally decided to open up about his struggle with the executive team, he said it was a "turning point" that enabled others to speak candidly about their own experiences and deepened the team dynamic.

Mr. Tol's story highlights the importance of breaking down the stigma around talking about mental health, particularly in medicine.

Mental health is a common issue — about 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experience some form of mental illness each year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and suicide rates among young adults have climbed 56 percent in the last decade, according to the CDC. Rates of mental illness and suicide are even higher in the medical field.   

 

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