Announcing Geek Mental Help Week

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.

How Geek Mental Help Week came about

Earlier this year, Liz and I talked about possibly hosting a small, day-long event where people who suffer, as we do, from mental health issues, the people who support us, and mental health professionals, could share information and support each other. We planned a venue (Founders Hub) a date (just after The Web Is conference) and the speakers that we’d like to hear talk about their experiences.

Not long after, Richard Wiggins of Milton Keynes Geek Night called me. He and David had been planning a similar mental health event. We agreed to join forces and after talking with the folks at A List Apart, Smashing Magazine and Web Directions (which is happening in Australia at the same time,) we’ve planned something bigger. I’ve called it Geek Mental Help Week.

Geek Mental Help Week, starting October 27th

Geek Mental Help Week, a week-long series 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, starting on October 27th.

Write about mental health issues

So far, the week will include mental health related articles on popular magazines including A List Apart and Smashing Magazine. If you’ve experiences to share and you’d like to write about them, submit that to either A List Apart and Smashing Magazine. If you run a magazine or a news site and you want to commission and publish articles about mental health, please do that. Submit a pull request to our website and we’ll add them to our list of resources.

Publish on your own site

If you’d prefer to publish on your own site, please do that, then submit a pull request to add your post to our resources.

Talk about mental health on your podcast

If you host a podcast, please make mental health the topic for the episode that you release the week of October 27th. I’ll be doing that for Unfinished Business and I’m asking my friends who host podcasts to do the same. As before, we’ll list these episodes on the Geek Mental Help Week website.

Organise a mental health related event

Milton Keynes Geek Night are hosting a special Geek Mental Help Week event on October 28th. There will be details about that announced soon. As for me, I’m devoting my session at the end of The Web Is conference to Geek Mental Help Week and I’ll be talking with Christopher Murphy, Cole Henley, Relly Annett-Baker and Dr. Clare Symons. This session will be recorded and published as an Unfinished Business special. If you’d like to host a Geek Mental Help Week event where you are, or would like to include a session for Geek Mental Help Week at a conference you’re organising, please do.

How you can be involved

Geek Mental Help Week should reach far beyond the UK and far beyond our small corner of the industry. You can:

  • Write an article and submit it to A List Apart, Smashing Magazine, or any other magazine
  • Publish an article or blog post about mental health issues
  • Talk about mental health issues on your podcast
  • Organise an event to talk about mental health issues
  • Follow and share @geekmentalhelp on Twitter
  • Promote Geek Mental Help Week with the hashtag #geekmentalhelp

What you can do to help us

The project needs a website and we need help to set that up. Right now I’m looking for one or two volunteers to design and code a simple, single page site and host it on GitHub pages. If that could be you, please get in touch. You can email me via the Stuff and Nonsense contact page, or send me a tweet to either @malarkey or @geekmentalhelp.

Many of us struggle with mental health issues and many more than that are affected by it. Over the last few months, I’ve watched some of my dearest friends and others suffer from the the effects of mental health problems, either directly or indirectly. I want to do something to help and Geek Mental Help Week is a first step. I really hope that you’ll get involved.

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