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Boulder Entrepreneurs Get Personal to Reduce Stigma of Mental Illness

Boulder Entrepreneurs Get Personal to Reduce Stigma of Mental Illness

by Grant Besser, President, Boulder Community Health Foundation

Colorado Public Radio recently featured two prominent members of Boulder’s tech community – and friends and supporters of Boulder Community Health -- for their work in bringing mental health and depression out of the shadows.

Brad Feld, co-founder of the venture firm the Foundry Group and Jerry Colonna, co-founder and CEO at, a coaching company based in Boulder, are successful local tech entrepreneurs vocal about the need for entrepreneurs to talk about their own mental health -- for themselves and their businesses.

“I think it’s much more prevalent than anyone up to this point has been willing to acknowledge,” Feld told CPR about depression and anxiety disorders in the technology community. “The stigma is profound.”

“There’s this concomitant lionization of entrepreneurs that exacerbates the problem,” Colonna said. “I continue to struggle with it. There are good days and bad days.”

Both men, successful entrepreneurs who have personally struggled with depression, are working to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness in the entrepreneurial and high tech community.

Colonna stressed that mental illness, anxiety and depression aren’t unique to the technology sector. One in four people nationwide suffer from some form of mental illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

It’s a community issue at the heart of the Boulder Community Health Foundation’s campaign to raise money for the Mental Health Endowment, a fund supporting the mental well-being of our patients along the continuum of care, empowering them to strengthen and maintain their personal independence as they address their mental health.

The BCH Foundation has set an ambitious goal of raising $2 million dollars by the end of 2018. The BCH Foundation is also raising money for a brand new mental health facility near Foothills Hospital. To donate, please visit

Brad Feld and Amy Batchelor have been instrumental in the establishment of the BCH Foundation’s Mental Health Endowment. Watch our video below where they, and Lou and Melodie Della Cava, share the importance improving access to mental health in our Colorado community: