The open source talk that changed my life wasn’t technical

Fef6ec2170ad1ecfcacdf2ead305f040?s=47 Joe Ferguson
May 19, 2018

The open source talk that changed my life wasn’t technical

The first PHP conference I ever went to changed my life. I saw Ed Finkler talking about his struggles with mental health issues. I related so well with everything he said and was shocked to find out not everyone feels this way. Come learn about Open Sourcing Mental Illness, a nonprofit built on a movement of changing how we talk about mental health in the tech community. We’ll talk about survey results from multiple years of OSMI’s Mental Health In Tech surveys showing how employees feel about discussing mental health issues with employers and coworkers.

We’ll talk about resources, where and how to find help. The most important thing is to know you’re not alone.


Joe Ferguson

May 19, 2018


  1. The open source talk that changed my life wasn't technical

    Joe Ferguson May 19th 2018
  2. Who Am I? Joe Ferguson PHP Developer PHP Architect @

    Ministry Brands Twitter: @JoePFerguson OSMI Board Member Drone Racing Pilot
  3. Awkward Audience Participation Time

  4. A little about me

  5. Depression

  6. Anxiety

  7. ADHD

  8. I take meds

  9. Every Day Occurrence

  10. Sometimes it’s awesome

  11. Sometimes it’s terrible

  12. Worldwide

  13. W.H.O. Study Global Burden of Disease

  14. healthinfo/ global_burden_disease

  15. Burden of Mental Disorders is the largest of all categories

    in North America (W.H.O. 2008)
  16. Greater than Cardiovascular Disease (W.H.O. 2008)

  17. Greater than Cancer (W.H.O. 2008)

  18. “In all regions, neuropsychiatric conditions are the most important causes

    of disability, accounting for around one third of Years Lost to Disability among adults aged 15 years and over” (W.H.O. 2008)
  19. 1/3 of every year lost to disability

  20. Looking at the Tech Community

  21. Basically No Research

  22. We started doing research

  23. /dev/hell Episode 15

  24. 2013 - in the beginning…



  27. My First PHP Conference

  28. Mental Health Summit

  29. Crowdfunding

  30. Making it official…

  31. Mental Health in Tech 2016 Survey US non-self employed only

    as of 11/16/16
  32. Do you think that discussing a health issue with your

    employer would have negative consequences? Mental Physical
  33. Would you bring up a health issue with a potential

    employer in an interview? Mental Physical
  34. Does your employer provide resources to learn more about mental

    health issues and how to seek help?
  35. Do you feel that being identified as a person with

    a mental health issue would hurt your career?
  36. Have you been diagnosed with a mental health condition?

  37. Sick workers don’t work

  38. Why should we talk about Mental Health?

  39. Mental wellness leads to better employees

  40. -Greg Baugues “We talk about 10x developers as being a

    fairy tale, but you take a developer with crippling depression, get them to the right treatment, and they will literally be 10x more productive.”
  41. Change is hard, and usually slow

  42. OSMI Handbooks

  43. Speak openly about mental health

  44. Tell people they matter

  45. Numbers tell us facts; Stories tell us why we care

  46. - Stories from Developers “It really sucks to have a

    brain that wants to continually sabotage you and keeps you from reaching your potential.”
  47. - Stories from Developers “I always want to go out

    and meet others in the development field, but I can't get myself to go to any of the meetups or conferences. I'd gone to one day conference but was too nervous to talk with any of the other attendees. I left feeling like an idiot for not introducing myself to anyone.”
  48. - Stories from Developers “I deal with Generalized Anxiety Disorder

    and take the same meds you do. I first noticed this condition as a teenager, and I'm almost 30 now. I'm still incredibly embarrassed about the condition and most likely will not tweet about this topic out of pure shame, unfortunately.”
  49. Communities are about people

  50. Communities are about people Not Code

  51. Suffering in Silence Our Community Our Colleagues Our Friends Our

  52. Sometimes they disappear

  53. Only fear allows this

  54. Stronger Than Fear

  55. What can you do? Talk to your friends, colleagues Share

    the OSMI handbooks, message Tell people they matter, speak openly Get certified in mental health first aid
  56. Joe Ferguson Twitter: @JoePFerguson Email: Freenode: joepferguson Contact Info: