Empathy as a Service: Supporting Mental Health in the Tech Workplace

Nara Kasbergen (13.Jul.2018 at 13:30, 1 hr )
Keynote at Mid-Atlantic Developer Conference (English - US)

Rating: 5 of 5

At any given time, one in five adults are living with a mental illness, such as depression, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, substance use disorder, burnout, or ADHD. Statistically, all of us working for an organization with five or more employees which have at least one colleague who is affected. The tech industry is often characterized by high stress, long hours, workplace pressure to be available by phone and email after-hours or sometimes even while on vacation. There's social pressure to constantly network and attend conferences and make a name for yourself, and the precarious balance between trying to do good by contributing to open-source and maintaining some semblance of free time that doesn't involve coding. Given how this demanding environment increasingly blurs the line between our professional and personal lives, how can we ensure the most vulnerable among us aren't being left behind?

As a community, the single most damaging thing we can do is continue to treat mental health as a personal shortcoming that can't be talked about openly. We shouldn't think of it as "somebody else's problem." The four out of five of us who don't currently have mental health disorders must do our part to help end the stigma. This talk will begin with an overview of key statistics about mental illness, followed by the efforts of the non-profit organization Open Sourcing Mental Illness to gather more data about mental health in the tech industry, the ALGEE action plan taught by the Mental Health First Aid training course, and finally conclude with ideas and strategies for making our tech workplaces more accommodating and inclusive.

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Comments

Rating: 5 of 5

13.Jul.2018 at 14:28 by Lawrence Shea (30 comments) via Web2 LIVE

Well done! The community certainly needs more support for those with mental illness.

Rating: 5 of 5

13.Jul.2018 at 14:33 by Michael R. Marshall (10 comments) via Web2 LIVE

Incredible. Very well researched talk rich with resources. The speaker's personal story and connection was very moving. I'm glad this topic was included in this conference as a keynote.

Rating: 5 of 5

13.Jul.2018 at 21:55 by Ketan Barve (3 comments) via Web2 LIVE

Great topic and most overlooked by many organizations! Employee mental health is very important.

Rating: 5 of 5

15.Jul.2018 at 14:01 by Frank Font (7 comments) via Web2 LIVE

Important topic --- thanks for sharing awareness!

Rating: 5 of 5

15.Jul.2018 at 15:44 by Chris Zimmerman (4 comments)

Thank you for sharing your story with us. Mental health in our industry is an issue we need to shed more light on.

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