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Mental Health – Stories from the Trenches

When Sid, a good friend and one of the organisers of PEAK15 invited me to attend their event “Mental Health – Stories from the Trenches”, I realised this is an event I should support in more ways than just attending. I offered to post the event on Melbourne Silicon Beach meetup page, our 8,600+ community of tech/startup founders, enthusiasts and their supporters.

Mental health gets a lot of press this time of the year. October 10th is World Mental Health Day and our state of Victoria observes Mental Health Week around that day every year. It’s a good time to start the discussion about mental health in the tech/startup sector. The challenge is the keep the conversation going all year and encourage everyone in the startup community to take action where and when needed. It’s up to us to look after ourselves and look out for one another. Events like this are invaluable in getting rid of the stigma around mental health.

But the problem is, after the Mental Health Week, everyone goes back to business as usual and the good things spoken about rarely translate to action. Over work, tech and social media addiction, devise dependency, sleep deprivation and burnout are visible for all to see in the tech and startup community. In fact we wear those like a badge of honour. This Silicon Valley mentally of go hard or go home mentality is not sustainable for long periods of time that’s needed to bring new ideas to the world.

In 2018, we plan to launch a project called SiliconCare, to address these issues. Events, programs and workshops around health & wellbeing will be organised. I invite you to watch these videos and join the conversation at Silicon Beach Slack — our online communication platform. We have created a special sub-channel, #silicon_care to continue the conversation.

Mairead Dunne from Spirtz Mindset

I must warn you, I am not a professional video maker – these videos were made on a hand-held iPhone 6s using the MoviePro app for iOS. The audio is through the built-in mic, so it’s far from perfect. I believe “done, is better than perfect”.

Comic Relief = A.I. + Mental Health
Dr. Simon D’Alfonso

Dr. Simon D’Alfonso is a research fellow in the School of Computing and Information Systems at the University of Melbourne. His work is in the areas of Artificial Intelligence and ePsychology. He is also affiliated with the Orygen youth mental health center, is a member of its eMental Health team eOrygen and lead programmer of the Moderated Online Social Therapy (MOST) system.

Visit for more information and participate in the project.

Dr. Simon D’Alfonso from MOST
Dr. Simon D’Alfonso from MOST

The Quest to be “mentally healthy” while pursuing success
Mairead Dunne

Mairead Dunne, After 10 years working in a variety of roles as a Palliative Care Nurse in Ireland and Melbourne, Mairead thought she had hit the jackpot landing her dream job as the Palliative Care Nurse Consultant in one of the biggest hospitals in Melbourne. What she didn’t realise was her habit of ‘working hard’ was pushing her further and further away from what she actually really wanted to be doing. After previously experiencing burnout Mairead could see that something wasn’t right. She knew of the importance of the mind and mindset when it came to life, fulfillment, and success but couldn’t quite figure out what to do about it. So she went looking!

She is a Certified Mindset Development Consultant and Mentor. Using the same material that changed her life, she now works with clients around the world mentoring them to create the Mindset for Success while providing support every step of the way. She really looks forward to sharing her personal story and some empowering knowledge with you.

Contact Mairead on or join her Success Mindset Development meetup.

Mairead Dunne from Spirtz Mindset

Managing Mental Health in Innovation Cultures
Dr. Cameron Duff

- innovation and startup cultures are renowned for their dynamism and pace, but also for high pressure, stress and burn out. How are these pressures being discussed, managed, made sense of?

- What forms of social support exist in startup cultures for people experiencing mental health problems? What forms of support could be developed?

How is social media penetration in startup cultures transforming issues of disclosure and self-management for people experiencing mental health problems? What opportunities and risks do social media present?

Dr. Cameron Duff is Vice Chancellor’s Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for People, Organisation and Work at RMIT University, Melbourne. Duff’s research explores the role of social innovation in responding to complex health and social problems in urban settings. Duff has explored these themes in qualitative studies of precarious urban lives, housing insecurity, addiction and mental illness in Australia and Canada. Duff’s first book, Assemblages of Health: Deleuze’s Empiricism and the Ethology of Life, was recently published by Springer.

Connect with Cameron at

Dr. Cameron Duff from RMIT University.

Massive thanks to Sid, Grace and the team at PEAK15 for organising the event, their sponsors.

Join them at their next event — TEDMED Live 2017

And a very BIG thank you to the wonderful sponsors of Silicon Beach. Without them SiliconNews or SiliconBeach TV wouldn’t be possible.

Hope to see you at our next monthly MSB Drinks & Pitch Night and let’s continue this conversation on Silicon Beach Oz Slack.

SiliconNews is a project of Melbourne Silicon Beach, the second largest tech/startup community in Melbourne with 8,600 members and counting. We are a 100% volunteer run community — now open for sponsorship.



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Athula Bogoda

Athula Bogoda


CEO : Silicon Beach Group, Lead Organiser: Melbourne Silicon Beach. Driving Australia to #2 startup nation in the world by 2025.