Every morning is started by walking my dog. This is the time I use to listen to podcasts. The podcasts I have on my phone are primarily tech and business related. I want to learn about what is happening in the WordPress/Divi world and how to be successful at business. This morning’s podcast was not your typical discussion on getting clients, using lead magnets, content development, plugin development, and all of that. This morning’s podcast was very different. It addressed mental illness in the tech industry.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and I applaud WP Elevation and Gin McInneny for starting a very important conversation. Today’s podcast was with Ed Finkler of Open Sourcing Mental Illness (OSMI). Ed started the organization after talking about his struggles frankly on another podcast. It remains the most listened to podcast of the series.
Open Sourcing Mental Illness is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation dedicated to raising awareness, educating, and providing resources to support mental wellness in the tech and open source communities.
Mental illness carries a stigma like no other disease. Many people are uncomfortable talking about it openly, and yes, it is a very difficult topic. I know. I have a close family member who deals with schizophrenia. It hit him hard at the age of 20 and hasn’t let up for many years.
Many people, in the technical industry as well as other industries, are afraid to talk about their struggles openly. They are concerned they will be treated differently or perhaps lose their jobs by admitting they are dealing with mental health issues. We have to treat those that have mental illness with the same compassion and respect that we treat those with cancer, MS, or any other disability or disease. Living with mental illness is hard, and for some impossible. We can help make it easier. My family member is not in tech but I welcome any and all that acknowledge that more needs to be done to bring awareness to mental illness. Let’s keep talking.