Madison PHP Conference 2014

Saturday, September 13th, 2014

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Open Sourcing Mental Illness (Edward Finkler)

In the spirit of open source, I'd like to shine a spotlight on mental illness. Not because it's easy, but because it's important. One in five of us will experience a diagnosable mental illness in the next year, but the stigma attached to it dissuades many from seeking help. These conditions will continue to take our siblings, parents, children, friends, and colleagues until we learn to talk about it without shame. I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety when I was thirteen, and I've been struggling with it my whole life. In this talk, I'll discuss how it has impacted my work as a developer, husband, and father. We'll discuss how to help those who cope with mental illness as empathetic, supportive colleagues. Together, we'll change lives for the better.


Edward Finkler

Ed Finkler, also known as Funkatron (, started making web sites before browsers had frames. He does front-end and server-side work in Python, PHP, and JavaScript. He served as web lead and security researcher at The Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS) at Purdue University ( for 9 years. Now he's a proud member of the Fictive Kin ( team. Along with Chris Hartjes, Ed is co-host of the Development Hell podcast ( Ed's current passion is raising mental health awareness in the tech community with his "Open Sourcing Mental Illness ( speaking campaign. He is part of "Engine Yard's Prompt ( campaign. Ed writes at