After more than two decades in the German startup world, and head of one of the country’s most powerful accelerators, Jörg Rheinboldt has seen his fair share of founders collapse under the mental pressure of starting a company.

The managing director of the Axel Springer and Porsche’s accelerator “APX” in Berlin — who is also a powerful angel investor with stakes in companies such as N26, Zizoo and Blogfoster — says that founders suffer from “reality distortion”, burnout is all too common and “every [startup] team needs therapy”.

This is one of the reasons why the APX accelerator has developed a new mental health strategy called “mental mining”, which includes monthly programmes to help deal with anxiety, stress, bipolar disorder and depression.

Sifted met up with Jörg Rheinboldt in Berlin to talk about what founders worry and fight about, how APX now approaches mental health and why yoga, massages and mindfulness are not enough to help founders.

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