Open Sourcing Mental Illness (OSMI), a non-profit organization that raises mental health awareness in the tech community, has surpassed its $50K fundraising goal for 2017. Ed Finkler, who founded OSMI in 2013, left his position as CTO of Graph Story to work full-time on speaking, educating, and providing resources to support mental wellness in the tech and open source communities. As of today, the campaign has raised more than $58,000.
In addition to donations from individuals, OSMI has added several corporate sponsors, including CakeDC, Github, Digital Ocean, and Laravel. CakeDC has designated $1,000/month for 12 months to support Finkler’s salary. Finkler works together with a board of directors and a team of volunteers who also speak at conferences about mental health in tech. Several WordPress companies have also been involved in raising support for OSMI, including WebDevStudios and WP Elevation.
OSMI conducts an annual Mental Health in Tech survey as part of ongoing research. Last year’s survey received more than 1,500 responses and the results underscore the great need for removing the stigma surrounding mental illness in the tech industry. A few examples Finkler highlighted include:
- Respondents believe it’s 6 times more likely that discussing a mental health issue with their employer would have a negative consequence, vs a physical health issue.
- Respondents are 3.5 times less likely to bring up a mental health issue in an interview than a physical health issue.
- 87% believe being identified as a person with a mental health issue would hurt their career.
- Only 30% of respondents’ employers provide information about mental health and how to seek help.
OSMI offers all of the resources it creates for free. The funds raised in the campaign will help to create more tools, documents, videos, and other educational resources. Finkler is working towards engaging with more HR departments and educating more executive teams. He also plans to use the funds to do more research and employ additional experts to reach more people.
For more information about OSMI’s efforts to improve mental health in the tech industry, check out Jeff Chandler’s recent interview with Finkler on the WP Weekly podcast.