Mental Health in InfoSec - We Need To Talk

The Consulting, Digital, Information and Technology industries traditionally have attracted a certain “type” of person. Detail-oriented, technically very literate, perfectionist, with stereotypical character traits that give us (un)flattering labels such as nerds and geeks and the reputation of not being “people” people. However, all of us are people. And people go through ups and downs in their lives, and suffer poor mental health. Its normal – anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, right up to more serious areas of severe mental illness such as psychosis, substance addiction, attempted and actual suicide.

Just like physical health, poor mental health is a disabling condition that affects our own quality of life, as well as of those around us. Men tend to suffer at younger ages, self-medicate with alcohol and drugs and cause themselves permanent disability or death. However further research in this area seems to indicate this affects Women a lot more from the early 40s … and the suffering is longer right through to the end of natural life. Women don’t appear to take the easy way out so suffer long-term with this.

We need to have a conversation within the Information Security Industry of how we can identify, support and help each other through these ups and downs; but also identify what we can practically do to support each other at the community level.