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A weblog by Laura Moncur


SXSWi 2009: Therapy 2.0: Mental Health for Geeks

Filed under: Utah Geeks — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Last March I went to SXSWi 2009. I posted the notes from two of the days, but conference exhaustion got in the way of me posting the notes from the last three days. After much delay, here they are.

Dr. KolmesTherapy 2.0: Mental Health for Geeks

Room 5B

Tuesday, March 17th

3:30 pm – 4:30 pm

What can you do to stay mentally healthy in a Web 2.0 world? Come share your strategies for staying sane in the world that never really turns off. Learn self-care tips for managing work and stress. Discover how to manage social networking while keeping your boundaries intact.

Dr Keely Kolmes: Clinical Psychologist

Thomas Roche: Writer of Skid Roche.

Dr Keely Kolmes:

There are so many stressors about living online.

Thomas Roche:

Tech can affect mental health that wouldn’t have been a problem otherwise.

Open Talk:

Twitter is the new support group. It can be noise or something there for you. We are connecting with more people than we ever could before.

Thomas Roche:

We are talking a lot about information anxiety. How do we define mental health? How has it changed? One of the wonderful that social media can offer is the sense that understanding that other people have similar concerns.

Is there a point at which it will cause such stress that it is a problem with mental health? Is this a new kind of suffering?

Open Talk:

Boundaries that work for the person

Many of these things are marketed as play, but they are showing up as stress.

You need to control the information that is pushed toward you.

It’s not the end of the world if we don’t answer that email.Sometimes you realize that there is nothing that you can do, so you just roll with it.

Thomas Roche:

You may have your own checklist for what looks like mental health.

Open Talk:

If it bothers you it’s a problem. Encentric doesn’t care. No one is going to get better because you want them to.

Dr Keely Kolmes:

Clinically significant stress. Is it affecting your social, working, physical functioning?

Question: Advice to get back on track?

Dr Keely Kolmes:

On the wiki, she has a number of online tools to help with the time management.

Thomas Roche:

Some people define mental health by productivity. It’s easy to get depressed when we don’t get a lot done.

Dr Keely Kolmes:

You can also measure mental health by cognitive, sexual, physical fitness.

Open Talk:

You can’t keep on everything.

Spend some time every day NOT doing what you do.

I’m not my job.

Dr Keely Kolmes:

Find a work/life balance.

Open Talk:

I don’t want to be your mom for 24 hours. I just want to be me.

What do I do with those super macho workers that are 24/7 and expect you to be as well.

Thomas Roche:

There is a culture in tech that expects you to work 24/7.

Open Talk:

Set your boundaries.

Music helps me because I can use tech to get music that will help me.

Dr Keely Kolmes:

Have you used tech to get healthier?

Open Talk:

Blog comments, most people are very kind and appreciative.

Recorded affirmations

Dr Keely Kolmes:

Task managers, online support groups, time managements

I’ve had difficulty finding therapists who are plugged in. They act like tech is bad.

Five things you can do to improve your mental health:
1. Weekly gratitude practice: Journal
2. Breathing exercises and mindfulness: Podcasts to download to listen to
3. Connecting with others. Social support and connection.
4. Exercise: Significant data that exercise helps
5. Thought tracking. Record what thoughts you are having to notice patterns and observe less useful beliefs.

Photograph via Keely Kolmes and taken by Thomas Roche.


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