Mental Help Week
Starting on October 27th 2014, Geek mental help week is a week-long series of articles, blog posts, conversations, podcasts and events across the web about mental health issues, how to help people who suffer, and those who care for us.
Articles and blog entries
To add a link to an article or blog entry, follow the README guidelines and submit a pull request.
In the third (and last) of the series, I talk about the last year and a half and how I went from almost having a breakdown to feeling better than I have done in years.
It is Geek Mental Help Week and I have played with the idea of posting something personal, this doesn’t come easy for me but if it helps just one person then it will be a worthy endeavour.
Mental health affects one in four adults. It is time were more open about the conditions and started a continuing discussion to raise awareness that people aren't on their own.
At first glance, the worlds of software development and therapy might seem far apart. Therapist and software developer David Noor sees it a little differently.
How I cope when the Depression Fairy pays an unexpected visit.
As web developers, we need to change the culture of our workplace, says web developer Ed Finkler.
“I've learned a great deal. Mostly, about rediscovering the need for a more considered balance between work and life.”
Follow these tips from design director Hannah Donovan to recognise what triggers burnout and develop strategies to keep yourself evolving.
The time I was pushing myself so hard to be a great designer and jiu-jitsu fighter, and then realized I had to choose one of them for a living.
Web developer Benjamin Howarth explains what it is, how it feels, and how to cope with it.
Kind of a brain dump of my experiences with depression and other stuff...
When stress or depression start getting to us, it can be hard to do even the everyday necessities. These are a few ways to help make it through each day and maybe get some stuff done in the process.
What does knowledge of the brain and personality have to do with creative work? As a lifelong brain geek, I have taken on the mission to help others tap the secrets of the brain to uncover personal potential.
Like most teenagers, growing up was difficult, but compounded with mental illness, I fell victim to a vicious cycle of nerves for years. Mental illness was never discussed at school and so I suffered in silence, thinking I was somewhat abnormal. Thankfully, it was my mother that diagnosed me, and I felt such relief that I could finally vocalise what I'd kept hidden for years.
How can you ever escape depression with the suppression of who you are? How can you ever be happy with yourself if you are pretending to be somebody else?
Talking about mental health can be awkward and embarrassing, but it really shouldn’t be.
We need to better understand those around us, and support them as much as we can.
Suffering from anxiety and imposter syndrome is something that has affected me for years.
Early experiences of isolation made me insecure and prone to depression (I believe). This still affects me today sometimes, but I can live with it well, and it helps me understand others.
This is how my ideas usually kill themselves and I end up feeling useless. This is what I usually keep to myself.
From the outside all looks well…
It took over a year and a lot of help from some close friends to realise that my job was making me unhappy. I tried so hard to deny myself this fact that I completely failed to see how it was affecting my life outside of work. It wasn’t until mid this year that my friends where able to help me see that I was unwell and needed to make a change.
In the second of a series I'm planning to write this week, I talk about how manic depression feels to me if I leave it unchecked.
In our industry in particular, part of our very job is to consider people, their lives, their needs, and how to optimize everything around personal experiences so that no one is left feeling excluded or forgotten. Accessibility and inclusion stand for more than what we craft on a bright screen someplace.
I read over the lines on the screen. Then a bad feeling comes over me. I reach for the keyboard: “Are you cutting yourself right now?”
“I am very, very, lucky to be alive and I appreciate that fact every day.”
The only shapes I find here are well worn and boring, dints still obvious even with fresh paint. Oh so boring. So boring and so often used because they’re just “fine.” Too easily used. Too easily reached for and offered up as if they were new again.
“Me, a grown man. A respected figure in my field. A success. Standing on the doorstep of my parents’ house, crying to my mum like a small child. This was the breaking point for me, the minute I finally realized I had depression.”
“Depression still seems like such a dirty word, but I’m not ashamed to admit that I suffer with it, and have done for years. Sometimes it’s crippling anxiety, the lowest of low moods, the angriest of rages, or like now, when I’m correctly medicated, it’s just a niggling demon in the back of my mind.”
Greg Baugues shares his struggle with depression and how he discovered he wasn't alone in the dev community.
On being open about mental health issues, and stigma.
In the first of a series I'm planning to write this week, I talk about how I find it hard to discuss my bipolar condition.
This article has been submitted anonymously. Not everyone is ready to come out as a sufferer of mental health problems, but they are still out there; members of our community.
I'm scared. Not as often any more but that used to be different. Until not long ago I was basically was scared all the time. Scared to be among other people, even if they were close friends. Scared to go to work, to step on to a bus or train. Scared to leave my apartment. Scared to hurt people that were close to me or to lose them. Scared of what this fear would do to me.
Time is a funny thing, we embody it on our phones, our wrists, on our walls in every facet of our daily lives. It controls us whether we like it or not.
“I wrote this immediately after suffering one in a series of minor bouts of depression in 2012. Now seems a good time to publish it.”
This isn't what its like to have an acute mental illness, this is what its like for me to have a mental illness. I hope to offer an insight into and show the reality of having an acute mental illness.
My father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease when I was 19. That was 10+ years ago and I still wrestle with something daily.
“Some of the recent events in my life made me slow down a bit and gave me the opportunity to look around and become more aware of my surroundings and the people I care about. You may want to do the same, if you have a moment—you may be surprised about what you find out. It seems like so many of us have become so good at hiding or covering up what’s been truly happening behind the closed curtains, just like Chloe or even Robin Williams.”
“Since the age of 7, I have had to deal with mental health issues in one way or another. My mother was a manic depressive in and out of asylums, my brother is a schizophrenic. I also had to deal with the fact my father was a paedophile.”
“My story, thoughts and feelings on self-harm and its stigma.”
We all try to be great, the best there ever was. But chasing the legendary programmer status is a journey that can take it's toll. Learning to accept your weaknesses and failures by embracing the challenges they present; that's the only journey you should ever take.
“Sickness, depression or insecurity need to be hidden to not endanger your employment. This is wrong and it has to stop. This is why I open up and talk about my depression and I hope to encourage people. Maybe I’m being naive, but I hope this post makes a teeny-tiny change for the better.”
My personal story about fighting with anxiety, and the way it's affected my freelancing, relationships and health. A (sometimes) success story about conquering and pushing past perceived limits.
“After talking with Laura on Unfinished Business this week, about burgers in donuts, we moved on to discuss the Geek Mental Help Week that I’ve been thinking about and planning for the last few months. Something that I sincerely hope will help those of us who suffer from mental health issues and the others who support us.”
“This is my (unfiltered) story about my experiences with depression. I want people to be more open about mental illness.”
Podcasts & Audio
To add a link to a podcast episode or other recording, follow the README guidelines and submit a pull request.
The week’s Unfinished Business was recorded live at The Web Is… conference in Cardiff, as part of Geek Mental Help week.
This week on the Boagworld Show we look at the stresses of being a digital professional and ask how we can improve things.
After Robin Williams' death, we felt it was important to discuss depression and how it affects creative minds.
In this episode: We discuss Robin Williams, our individual depressions, the reality of depression, what one can do to help themselves or others and the fact that we are not professionals or doctors so take our advice with a grain of salt.
A brutally honest and open talk about Invisible Challenges.
For Geek Mental Health Week, Jen Simmons invited Peter Ferko to be on The Web Ahead to talk about how to be a human. It can be hard. So what are ways to make things less painful, even in the midst of painful circumstances?
This week is Geek Mental Help week and on Unfinished Business Andrew Clarke is joined by Liz Elcoate, one of the people who helped to spark the idea. They ask if our industry attracts people with issues or cause them, does our working environment add to our problems and what we hope the outcomes from this week will be?
This week’s an emotional episode of Unfinished Business. After talking about why a burger in a donut should never, ever have become a thing, Laura Kalbag and I discuss mental health issues in our industry. We talk about my own struggles with depression and depersonalisation disorder, issues that stem from my father’s own mental health issues and suicide.
This week Ben and I record a special episode for Geek Mental Help Week. We talk a bit about its origins and what's happening throughout the week, but we mostly talk about our own experiences with depression and how we handled it. We also suggest some ways you can help yourself if you're suffering from depression and how you can help a sufferer. We're not medical professionals, but we hope that our experiences might be useful.
Weekly online podcast interviews with comedians, artists, friends, and the occasional doctor. All exploring mental illness, trauma, addiction and negative thinking.
We talk about all the factors that effect any geek’s mental health, and how everyone needs to pay attention to both their physical and mental health. We also discuss seeking help, including where and how to find it, and we share our own experiences and struggles.
To add an event, follow the README guidelines and submit a pull request.
Be Responsive always have group discussion at their monthly meetup. This time they chose "Mental Help" as their discussion topic. With their attendees, they'll discuss how to overcome depression, burnout, anxiety, as well as how to achieve work and life balance.
MKGN Mental Help Night is a special format with five headline speakers who either suffer or care themselves. There will be plenty of time in the night for you to meet and chat with our speakers and your fellow attendees.
Andrew Clarke is devoting his session at the end of The Web Is conference to Geek Mental Help Week and will be talking with Christopher Murphy, Cole Henley, Relly Annett-Baker and Dr. Clare Symons.
Some places to get support. To add a link, follow the README guidelines and submit a pull request.
"Whether you're concerned about yourself or a loved one, these helplines can offer expert advice."
"If you're given the time and space to talk things through, you can find a way through your problems. Samaritans help you to explore your options so you can make decisions that are right for you."
"Mind can help you make choices about treatment, understand your rights or reach out to sources of support."
"SANE provides emotional support and information to anyone affected by mental illness, including families, friends and carers. "