Ed Finkler is on a mission to raise mental health awareness in the tech community with his Open Source Mental Illness (OSMI) campaign. In 2013 Finkler started speaking at conferences and gathering information on mental health in the tech workplace. His goal is to provide resources and documentation that companies can use to create more supportive environments for those dealing with mental health disorders.
As part of the organization’s ongoing research, Finkler and the team at OSMI have authored a survey open to anyone working in the IT/tech community. Respondents are not required to have a mental health issue in order to participate. The responses are recorded as anonymous and the survey does not collect any personal information.
The bulk of the questions in the 10-minute survey gather information about employee’s perceptions of their co-workers and employer’s stance on dealing with mental health issues in the workplace. It asks if employers provide education on mental health topics, if there would be negative consequences of discussing these disorders in the workplace, and what kinds of benefits employers offer for treating mental health issues.
After the survey concludes, OSMI will release the stats and information collected under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license.
Finkler, who has suffered from depression, anxiety, and ADHD, is working to combat the associated shame and stigma by speaking openly about mental illness at tech conferences, including Open Source Bridge, Connect-JS, and Laracon US. In May, he will be speaking at WordCamp Minneapolis. Check out Josh Holmes’ interview with Finkler in a recent episode of Code to Live to find out more about how he started OSMI.
I’m really proud of this initiative and I hope to hear more talks at WordCamps about mental health and mental illnesses.