May – Mental health month, why should we care as solo dev’s/business owners?
To mark mental health month, and to help raise awareness of mental health issues within the web development industry, I have chosen to donate 20% of all plugin sales (new and renewals) to WP&UP this month.
What is WP&UP and why am I doing this?
WP&UP is a registered charity that supports the WordPress community. Why? The WordPress community is made up of creative individuals including freelancers, consultants, web developers, and designers, many of whom utilise the WFH (Work From Home) model.
A recent study suggests that those in the creative industry are more genetically predisposed to suffer mental illness. Without the traditional interaction with co-workers and colleagues, the WFH model increases the potential for mental health issues, many of which can creep up on an individual subconsciously.
With the gradual change in working habits since the birth of the web, more and more people in the global WordPress community in particular, (although it’s a recognised issue across the broader web development community) openly acknowledge that they are experiencing or have experienced mental health issues. Many attribute their experiences to the long periods of isolation working alone presents.
Another not so widely known fact is that the highly specialised technical nature of coding & web development attracts a high percentage of individuals on the autism spectrum. This is because they possess the qualities including hyper-intelligence, attention to detail, a skill for repetitive tasks and the ability to hyper-focus on specific work.
Due to the nature of autism and the different ways the condition manifests itself, many individuals find it difficult to communicate effectively or reach out when they are feeling vulnerable, hence it’s so important that people in our industry feel they have someone they can talk to, or speak up and say, “I don’t feel great today”.
Why am I donating?
As a solo developer I have experienced my own battles with CMDs (Common mental disorders).
While working from home carries many benefits, it can also lead to isolation and if left unchecked, the pressures can begin to have a very destructive effect on not only the quality of work, but home life, relationships, friendships, and general good health & wellbeing.
Mental health is close to my heart, I have good friends and some family members who have faced their own battles. This donation is a way for me to give a little back, and help raise the profile of what is a frequently overlooked problem.
One of the things that really made a difference for me was to build a support network. Whether it’s a fellow developer, business owner or family member, it’s important that we start to talk more about mental health and end this widespread stigma.
If you need some help or want to know more I highly recommend that you head over to the WP&UP and have a read of some of the posts. Join the slack channel, starting a conversation is as easy as saying “Hi”.