Open Sourcing Mental Illness

Open Sourcing Mental Illness

Mental health resources and articles for the developer community. Curated by Ed Finkler.

The only way we’re going to overcome this stigma is if the rest of the world sees that depression isn’t something that happens to anonymous, crazy, already-lost “other” people, but to coworkers and in-laws and mentors. That maybe the brightest lights in their own lives shine so brightly because they know if they don’t that the darkness will win — but god, there may be days when the work they put into finding a single smile is more than you’ve done all year on anything.
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I don’t want your pity. I’d like support, and more than anything, I’d like awareness. I’d like to live in a world, where I can say, “Hey, I’m bipolar” without people looking at me like I’m a leper. I’d like to know that generations that come after us won’t be judged, or scared, or guilty, for having this sickness. One where they can seek help as easily and freely as people do when they have readily visible illnesses.
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It is not surprising that most mental illness goes untreated. While most people with physical illness are in treatment, this is true for fewer than one in three people with mental illness. This figure applies throughout the advanced world, and even for major depressions the figure is under a half in Britain, the USA, and continental Europe. If your pancreas is not working you automatically get treatment, but if your mind has been disordered for decades you do not.
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Imagine you called 911 in excruciating pain, and they sent police officers to your door, sirens blaring, to haul you off in handcuffs. Imagine you were in recovery from a serious illness, and your call for help got you fired from your job. Imagine you were a college student whose medical close call got you kicked out of school. For millions of suicidal people, these scenarios are not imaginary. Every year, people who attempt suicide, or express an urge to do so, are treated like criminals, fired from their jobs, kicked out of college, or even prevented from crossing the border.
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This is the talk I gave at Open Source Bridge 2014. Slides available at http://j.mp/osmiosb14slides. Thanks to Engine Yard for making it possible for me to appear.

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"This documentary is my war."

To boldly talk about suicide

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(via I’m a therapist and keep this poster in my waiting room, apparently it’s saved a few lives - 9GAG) Comments

Change Your Culture. Save Lives. Get Certified in Mental Health First Aid

If we want to make tech companies safe places for those struggling with mental health issues, I believe it is essential that our leads, managers and C-level executives become certified in Mental Health First Aid.

I’m someone who has dealt with my own depression and anxiety disorders for the last 25 years. I was certified in an 8-hour course just a few weeks ago, and it is one of the most important things I’ve done to increase my ability to empathize with and help those who struggle with mental health issues. I’ve learned techniques to assess and aid people in crisis and non-crisis situations.

From the MHFA site:

I’ve taken regular first aid, and I’ve used both, but certainly the opportunities to use Mental Health First Aid are much more abundant.- Nathan Krause, Pastor

If you are a team lead, a project manager, a C-level executive, or similar, it is in your power to make your workplace a safe environment for your coworkers. You can empower them to seek help, free of stigma and shame. Your willingness to get certified will make their quality of life better, and will save lives.

Please stand with me now. Make a commitment to get certified in Mental Health First Aid

If you want help bringing this program to your workplace, or have any other questions, I will help you. Contact me at ed@OSMIhelp.org.

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