Unusual Gathering | Episode XXX | Amanda Berlin and Megan Roddie

Conversations At The Intersection Of Technology, CyberSecurity And Society.

Guests
Amanda Berlin | Megan Roddie

Hosts
Sean Martin | Marco Ciappelli

ITSPmagazine’s Unusual Gatherings XXX:
Have You Met The Mental Health Hackers?


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Mental health is a topic we care deeply about at ITSPmagazine. It's something that, as humans, we all have, and we need to take care of it.

We are human. We will break. Eventually.
— Marco

While many might think of stress, depression, and burnout as the primary signs of someone struggling to keep it together, mental health presents itself in many ways. It's because we are human, and therefore extremely complex mental beings, that it can be difficult to spot mental illness in ourselves and in others unless we are explicitly looking for it. And, even if we do recognize or spot it, it's not always easy to talk about it nor to find resources and a community to engage with to work through it.

Fortunately, that's where Amanda Berlin, Megan Roddie, and a supportive board, and a growing bench of volunteers come in.

The whole point of [the program and village] is about peer support.
— Amanda

What started as a conference talk presented at numerous cybersecurity events around the world, Amanda Berlin turned her conference presentation about mental health in cybersecurity into a conference village which is now managed by the newly-formed non-profit organization called Mental Health Hackers [[LINK]].

Most people will wait for someone else to get things going and then follow along. Sometimes it’s all about getting something started.
— Marco

While the main focus of the organization is to manage the village at as many infosec conferences as possible, the team of passionate information security professionals have big plans to expand beyond the village.

If I can just help one person, which I have already, that’s worth it me.
— Amanda

These are some of the items the Mental Health Hackers want to pursue:

  • Promoting mental health first aid training for everyone in information security [[LINK]]

  • Establish a mental health first aid "train-the-trainer" program

  • Establish an endowment for those less fortunate than others so they can avail of the necessary mental health services found to be valuable for this community

As the Mental Health Hackers work to see their vision to fruition, there's still plenty to do in the community both at an individual level and at the community level.

Even if someone can’t go to a conference to help with the village, they can still have a conversation with their company to help them become aware of the importance mental health as part of their wellness program.
— Sean

Some simple action items for everyone to consider:

Hopefully each of us can continue to be healthy and happy - and that we take the steps needed to ensure this is the case.
— Sean

The main thing is to keep the conversation going / keep the momentum going. Start by listening to this one and then have a few chats of your own after you’re done.


List of Resources

Related content on ITSPmagazine: