Have you been affected by Mental Health issues? Would you like to talk about it and help others?
Can your organization help get the discussion going?
Are you running a conference? Get a mental health speaker at your event.
In the spirit of open source, I’d like to shine a spotlight on depression. Not because it’s easy, but because it’s important. Mental illness affects many of us, but the stigma attached to it dissuades most people from talking about it openly. That’s not how we make progress. With this talk, I want to do my part.
We need to bring depression out into the sunlight and let developers' know that it’s okay to talk about it. We need to make mental illness as acceptable as diabetes or cancer. We need depressed developers to know that they are not lazy or weak, but are suffering from a treatable medical condition.
Our community is getting better at talking about depression, but we might have a disadvantage when it comes to understanding it. It's not a puzzle to be solved, and not always something you can think your way out of. I want to show you how I came to understand what it means to have clinical depression, and the single most important thing we can do about it.
Mental illness is a hard thing to live with, and it can be incredibly lonely. It feels like nobody understands what you're going through. You wonder what parts of you are a product of the illness, and what's part of you. I want to help people talk about mental illness and build a community of understanding and support, to help people understand what they're going through. And help them know they're not alone.
I want to share my journey with accepting and dealing with obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, and depression and how it has shaped my self-esteem and identity as a student, software engineer, and woman. We should not be suffering in silence and hiding who we are in order to succeed. There needs to be more support groups and mentorships in the classroom and in the workplace for people to open up, be vulnerable, and discover mental health resources.
Christopher Murphy is a writer, designer and educator based in Belfast. Adrian Shaughnessy, writing for Creative Review, described him as, "a William Morris for the digital age," an epithet he aspires to fulfill, daily.
The organiser of Break, a conference that 'questions the edges of design', he writes about design at Monographic and the importance of work-life balance at fsck. Informing his role as an educator, Murphy is a practicing designer whose work spans a variety of media, both analogue and digital.
As creatives we struggle with fair amount of self-doubt. How do we free ourselves from relying on external validation of our efforts? How do we fight impostor syndrome and confirmation bias? How do we prevent ourselves from falling into the burnout and depression pit, or more importantly how do we recover?
Karolina is a designer, developer and photographer working at Envato. In her free time she contributes to various Open Source projects, writes and helps run various CSS Confs. She also owns a cat and an excessive amount of books on typography.
Dr. Jennifer Akullian is a psychologist and founder of the Growth Coaching Institute, where she coaches executives, professionals and developers to be healthier, happier team members and humans. After migrating from the world of public mental health and joining the tech community in early 2015, she quickly recognized a reality that beckoned her attention: lots of people in tech struggle with mental health, while industry-specific research and advocacy in the community is disproportionately inadequate.
In her own words: “The developer community needs to know that this discrepancy exists, and that those struggling with mental illness in tech are not alone. There are strategic ways to support yourself, your colleagues, and your community. And mental health advocacy is the first step in meeting these needs.”
Eating disorders affect over 70 million individuals worldwide. Despite the increasing number of people that suffer from ED, it is a seemingly shameful disease that many people don’t want to talk about. Eating disorders are a disease the breaks your relationships with everyone around you. A disease that often goes unnoticed by many and can end up being fatal.
Justine Arreche is a recovering bulimic and advocate for opening up the discussion about eating disorders and those affected in the tech industry. Understanding the struggles, signs and symptoms of an eating disorder could allow you to have the tools to help a fellow human who is suffering. Perhaps even save their life.
Speaker, developer, painter, gamer: an eccentric eclectic. Caleb is currently coding mostly in Ruby and Go. He's not a fan of the SPA.
He has braved the wintry tundra of Alaska and the harsh deserts of Arizona. He has fired a Mosin-Nagant without blinking, fought the Red Menace, built Battleship Couch, and killed a bear and wore its pelt.
He enjoys fine wines, craft beers, and punching comets.
Jason is a husband, soon-to-be dad, and a developer at LensRentals.com. Outside of his passion for web development, Jason is passionate about mental health, loyalty programs, the city of Memphis, and whiskey.
Mary Thengvall is a connector of people at heart, both personally and professionally. She loves digging into the strategy of how to build and foster communities, and has been working with various developer communities for over 7 years. She's now building out the community strategy for SparkPost, an API-driven email delivery service.
Amy Newell is Director of Engineering at PatientsLikeMe, and believes her bipolar disorder is an asset to her management. She feels proud to work for a company that supports and celebrates neurodiversity. She thinks that being open and supportive about mental health creates a better working environment for everyone, increases productivity, and leads to happier engineers. She is committed to showing other tech companies and tech managers how to better support all their employees around mental health, and committed to helping other tech workers with mental health issues navigate successful career paths and get the help they need. She has spoken openly about her mental illness on NPR and can be found on YouTube talking about her bipolar disorder.
She is also a poet.
Aaron is passionate about people. As an engineer, he is also passionate about how people fit together and how we operate and, sometimes more fascinatingly, how we disfunction and how to continue operations when we do. Aaron learned he may have ADHD only after adulthood and it's been like finding that offending bug that's been causing problems for years. There is so much misinformation and stigma around mental health. In the spirit of open source, he wants his contributions to help build the community by correcting the myths and sharing the lessons learned from having his own ADHD perspective when approaching technology and people.
Aaron has a family, and enjoys playing the bass, board gaming, video gaming, really anything you can do with other people. He also organizes the DevOps CT meetup and have organized the DevOpsDays Hartford conference.
Amanda Gelender is a writer, coach, and mental health advocate. She has 15 years of social impact and diversity & inclusion experience across sectors. Most recently, Amanda led the social impact team at GitHub and co-founded the company’s affinity group for people with mental health challenges. Amanda has worked at the Kapor Center for Social Impact, the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, and as the Director of Strategy & Innovation at Vaya Consulting, a tech diversity and inclusion firm. She graduated with honors from Stanford University.
Amanda has lived experience of mental health challenges and identifies as neurodivergent. She specializes in training managers and colleagues on best practices for workplace wellness, building mental health peer support communities in tech companies, and alternative, intersectional frameworks for mental wellness.
I firmly believe in life-long learning and that experiences that allow me to unplug from the daily hustle and bustle of being a marketer / entrepreneur and plug into a meaningful community are very important. I make time for them, whether it's a meditation retreat or a coaching / mentoring relationship.
I'm passionate about nature, and I have honored it by living in an energy-efficient way e.g. convincing my partner to lease an electric car, bringing people to special sites who may not have witnessed the beauty of hiking before, and living a carbon-neutral life.
We are providing financial support to speakers, to cover the cost of flights and accommodation, and we invite our industry friends to join us.
We believe in Prompt's mission to help tech recognise, respect and address mental health challenges. We all benefit from an informed, supportive tech industry, and GitHub is proud to be working with Prompt to achieve that.