Meet Alyssa Cypher, the founder of Inside Our Minds Pittsburgh. Inside Our Minds Pittsburgh is a digital storytelling project that includes face-to-face interviews and monthly podcasts sharing the experiences of Pittsburghers affected by mental illness. Alyssa joined Work Hard Pittsburgh in January 2017.
How did Inside Our Minds get started?
“As someone who works in the mental health field and has a mental health diagnosis, I’ve been very vocal in the field doing a lot of public speaking and advocacy, but it became very clear to me that not everyone has the privilege to be able to speak out about mental illness. That’s what inspired me to start Inside Our Minds. A lot of people have a lot of fear in regards to sharing their mental health diagnosis – losing their job or social issues. In this space, people can open up and share their story.
What do you like about best about Work Hard’s co-working environment?
I was drawn to Work Hard through my own network. Our organization runs primarily on donations to run our non-profit programs. Work Hard is a very affordable but doesn’t sacrifice quality. I was looking for a podcasting studio and everything we need is right there.
What have been some of the most enjoyable projects you’ve worked on?
Right now the most enjoyable part is just recording the podcasts. We recorded our first podcast on bipolar disorder. We had a great time being together goofing off, eating bagels, at the same time were gathered together to discuss a serious topic, but we can have a good time too.
What do you see for the future of your organization?
We’re working to slowly bringing it out of the web and into “real life.” We started as website, later received Sprout Fund Seed Award grant for podcasting. This year we are looking into expanding into live events, community events with open mic nights to bring the discussion of mental illness into the public sphere rather than just online as a part to combating the stigma.
What gap does Work Hard Pittsburgh fill in the entrepreneurial ecosystem?
Beyond the affordable and high quality space, there is access to network, access to equipment, and learn from other members. I came to Work Hard and learned the quick and dirty how to on podcasting equipment and was able to get started. There is a great source of knowledge within the coop.
You can experience Inside Our Minds podcast “The Mental Illness Spotlight” on Itunes, Sticher, and Google Play. Learn more on insideourminds.org or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.