For this podcast episode I (Ales Zivkovic) talked to Julia Nguyen, who was diagnosed with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) while she was still in high school. Julia is a Canadian with Vietnamese roots that currently lives and works in San Francisco tech industry. Today she is an active mental health advocate.
She is a computer science graduate and is currently working as a software developer. Using her computer background, she is bringing together her OCD, mental health in general and technology. Julia launched an open source project called If Me, which is a social network dedicated to mental health awareness. It’s intention is for people with mental health issues to be able to share and speak openly about it with their loved-ones.
Julia has written for ground-breaking publications like Model View Culture, Shameless Magazine, and AJ+. She was a speaker for Prompt, a community of people in tech who give talks on mental illness. She has spoken at Women Who Code SF, NY PHP, 360|intersect, Self Conference, Tech Inclusion Conference, and Dreamforce.
In this podcast episode, Julia talks about what is was like encountering OCD while still in high school and what her experience in college was. We discuss what the support and understanding from the community and education system was like and what kind of support she is getting now while working in the tech industry, along with access to psychotherapy.
We also hear her talk about where she thinks she belongs as a Canadian with Vietnamese roots and how culture influenced her talking about mental health issues.
Talking about her mental health platform (If Me), we also go into how AI and AR might help out with mental health and whether we could see a replacement to psychotherapy stemming from technology in the future.
Julia also brings to us harsh truth of how, if you are a startup founder in SF, you need to put up a facade of a successful entrepreneur.
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To find out more about me and how you can work with me, visit aleszivkovic.com.
Acknowledgement: We would like to thank Innovation Warehouse for welcoming us to shoot this episode of The Life Cafe Sound in their offices.