Tag Archives: social media

tweeting the sunrise

i like to wake up early in the morning, sit down in the living room and watch dawn turn into sunrise through the big balcony door. and then tweet about it, like this:

morning! been wanting to tweet the sunrise for days now, finally getting a chance

it’s actually the dawn that has been particularly beautiful these days. deep, deep blue

right now the sky is steeped (and that’s exactly the right word) in a crazy orangeish-blue soup – there’s almost something manic about it

and how quick it changes! it looks more like a dirty white now, especially with the trees’ black contours in contrast against it

the houses across the road sit hunched against the half-darkness. there’s a feeling of nervous expectation

amazing how tense that particular blend of blue and orange was. now the orange is starting to be stronger. relief.

i can kinda see my keyboard now. i’d say dawn is over. the birds definitely have woken up, looks like they’re going to work

i’m getting impatient. where’s the sun, where’s the sun?

darn. gotta go have my shower. maybe if i’m quick i can still the see the sun rise?

aha! there’s some rosiness between the trees now.

interesting how far the sun has moved over the months. about 1.75 window panes of my balcony door 🙂

the sun takes so much longer to rise now. probably makes sense given that we’re moving towards winter. should look that up.

(a retweet) helenaartmann incredible sunrise in #canmore… blue bird skies, red mountains and yellow trees… i can’t stress enough how much i love the fall colours!

i think we’re almost there. there’s that piercing quality to the bright golden spot in the sky

writing an email while i’m keeping an eye on the sun.

there’s a tiny spot in the trees that is illuminated by the sun already.

this is a bit like an orgasm. almost there, almost there!

the bright spot is not a spot anymore, it’s a part of the sky. but dammit, the sun still isn’t up

now there is a twinkle on the balcony window, and you know what? my keyboard is golden

and here it is!!!!!! welcome sun!!!!!

tweeting against suicide

in preparation for world suicide prevention today, i listened to some tweets. and then I listened to my heart’s response and wrote it down:

spread the word, save lives, get people talking!

yes, let’s TALK about it! who can YOU talk to about this today? and not just on world suicide prevention day.

today is world suicide prevention day. make sure everyone knows you’ll listen and that they’re important.

in a way, people kill themselves because they feel their lives have lost value, or sadder even, never had value. who can we tell today that it matters to us that they are alive?

suicide has affected our family, zero words to explain the pain. it never goes away. they shall be loved and remembered always.

who can we bless today, in silence even, who has lost a loved one? because words – words may just not do the job.

we have the power to change and reduce the stigma of suicide and mental illness, and we need people to talk about it without judgment or fear

power – i mean the power that rises strongly from within, often from a place we didn’t know could be a source. that strong, good power inside – what can you do today to nurture it?

you know what pisses me off? suicide. i am so fucking angry right now. two friends last year, and a close friend’s friend this week.

if we pretend the anger doesn’t exist, if we’re just meek and sad and ignore the fury that can come with surviving someone else’s suicide – that’s not going to help. how can we help this anger be healthy and productive?

today is world #suicide prevention day – get to know the signs, how you can help and how you can give help!

what do you know about signs of suicide?

today is world suicide prevention day. so everybody out there, before you do anything rash, just remember : somebody loves you.

somebody loves you. somebody loves you. somebody loves you. keep saying it. maybe right now you don’t believe it’s true. keep saying it anyway. hear the words. taste them. write them down and look at them. a mantra: somebody lives you. somebody loves you.

today is world suicide prevention day! please hold hands n spread the message……….let us save LIFE!!!!!

hold hands! whose hand can you hold today? who can you get just a tad closer to today?

u guys shld write the word love on ur arm because this week is suicide prevention week 🙂

love on my arm. so i don’t forget it. it’s so easy to forget. love. love. love. somebody loves me.

out of the darkness! take part, get the word out bout suicide. don’t wait to lose a best friend like i did to realize it is real.

don’t wait! death moves so fast. who have you been afraid to tell that you love them? is it time today to finally say it?

everyone wear something yellow tomorrow please! spread the word; suicide prevention <3

imagine – we all wear the clothes of life.

top parental worries: kidnapping, school snipers & terrorists. actual highest childhood risks: car accidents, homicide, abuse & suicide.

just imagine: knowledge can prevent lives. what are the assumptions and illusions that keep us away from life today?

light a candle near a window at 8pm on world suicide prevention day sept 10th

a candle in the window: you are important to me. i’ll wait for you. see the light? we’re waiting for you, to come home, to come back into the warm embrace

gay & transgender youth are 4 times more likely to attempt suicide then their straight peers.

the fear and shame and loneliness of “being other” kills. who can i call my brother today?

mental health, addiction and self medication

on tuesday i had the honour of hosting the #mhsm (mental health and social media) chat. that’s a weekly one-hour conversation about mental health on twitter. the topic we discussed was mental health and addictions. it was very lively, and perhaps the biggest topic was self medication, a topic that sprung up within the first few seconds and just kept coming back. here are some of the things that were said. the categories i chose are not mutually exclusive – they just make it a bit easies to see some of the patterns.

self medication to deal with life’s stressors
1:02 am floridlymad: [addiction is a] coping mechanism to life’s stressors gone wrong…
1:03 am floridlymad: @JoyFull_deb YES. a girl i know w/crack addiction once told me it’s her only joy left in life…
1:04 am GermanInAlabama: From my uneducated view I would say oftentimes attempt at self-‘medicating’ and means of forgetting about probloems
1:48 am twitertwotter: If addicts r using drugs 2 self-medicate we need to find out why and help them learn to cope with it and move forward from past trauma
1:06 am NAMIMass: Sometimes people don’t want to take prescribed medications but think it’s ok to drink or take illicit drugs to feel better
1:18 am twitertwotter: I think an important thing that gets missed in addiction is in many cases the underlying trauma

self medication to deal with mental health issues
1:02 am JoyFull_deb: Yes !! Addiction (whatever kind) can be used to self medicate mental illness.
1:04 am petequily: @moritherapy society often doesn’t take mental health seriously & pays the cost in self medication / addictions & other MH conditions
1:05 am EatsShootsEdits: I used to self medicate before I came to understand my illness and get stable on meds
1:08 am hollymclennan: @moritherapy i see the conx btwn mental health + addiction when ppl don’t get the help they need + self-medicate.
1:08 am floridlymad: addiction to certain substances can trigger (or worsen preexisting) psychosis, which may or may not persist even after *quitting*.
1:17 am perthtones: We now know cannabis is effective on a range of depressive disorders, ketamine being trialled for bipolar – legal/illegal is abritrary
1:47 am icantican: My hx of drinking problem w/ alcohol was directly related to self medicating my symptoms of depression, blips of mania, anxiety, ADHD
1:08 am EatsShootsEdits: at lot of people self medicate long before they know they have a mental illness. our minds seek comfort sometimes it is drugs first
1:23 am twitertwotter: Many addicts use marijuana and other drugs to medicate their hyperarousal, that can be a result of PTSD or overactive flight/fight

self soothing
1:26 am twitertwotter: Treatment definitely needs to address mental health issues, coping mechanisms, affect regulation and self-soothing techniques
1:51 am twitertwotter: People who drugs to feel better, or to forget, or to escape. That is self-medication. They do not know how to self-soothe.
1:53 am NAMIMass: @twitertwotter Not all addiction is about self soothing. We’ve talked about self-medicating substance abuse for #mentalhealth issues
1:46 am moritherapy: if addiction is about self soothing, then it doesn’t matter that much what the substance/behaviour is
1:57 am NAMIMass: @moritherapy I’m not sure I do agree. I’m not thinking of them at same level. I think of self soothing as less than self medicating
1:54 am moritherapy: @NAMIMass self soothing and self medicating very similar, wouldn’t you say?
1:56 am moritherapy: @NAMIMass but if you talk to health care ppl, self soothing/medication will NOT be #1 for them

self medication and ADHD
1:08 am petequily: Smallest # of addicts with #ADHD in clinical journals I’ve seen is 20%. But only 5% of pop. has ADHD http://bit.ly/7cXP8
1:10 am petequily: Study 35% of Cocaine Abusers had #ADHD http://bit.ly/4vRuoi #selfmedicate #mentalhealth
1:25 am petequily: I know of people who had undiagnosed #ADHD & self medicated w/ one addiction, stopped it & started & stopped multiple other addictions
1:44 am petequily: Study 33% of Alcoholics had #ADHD 65% of Drug Users Had ADHD http://bit.ly/b4EwqG #addiction
1:47 am petequily: @unxpctdblessing well by telling other people about how he self medicated his #ADHD w/ pot you may save others from same exp.
1:54 am asdquefty: With ADHD or depression, substance abuse can be obtaining artificial motivation.

stories of self medication
1:03 am JoyFull_deb: I watched my sister “self medicate” for many, many years….
1:16 am MelissaMashburn: my brother is a vet and almost lost his license because he was self medicating with xanex and writing his own scrips.
1:39 am MelissaMashburn: I used internet games to self medicate
1:40 am unxpctdblessing: @petequily I agree. He had been self medicating since he was 14 years old. I knew he used when I met him but had no idea the extent.
1:44 am MelissaMashburn: For me the addiction to an internet browser game, was away for me to self isolate, and self medicate

chat tomorrow: mental health and addiction

tomorrow night at 6pm PST I will be hosting the weekly #mhsm chat on twitter. #mhsm stands for mental health and social media. #mhsm was started by amy kiel, an ardent mental health activist.

the topic of the chat will be mental health and addiction. #mhsm typically uses between 5 and 8 questions to stimulate conversation. here are a few i’ve come up with – any more suggestions?

  • where do you see the connection between mental health and addiction?
  • how do you define addiction?
  • how do you see the two are different? are they?
  • some say that addiction is a form of self medication for mental health issues. what are your thoughts on this?
  • what are your thoughts on addiction to prescription medication?
  • the term “recovery” is used in mental health as well as in addiction circles. do you see a similarity between the meaning in both contexts? is it different?
  • what is your experience with treatment specifically aimed at concurrent disorders?
  • do mental health and addiction stigmatize each other? is it “better” or “worse” to have one or the other?

please let me know what you would like to discuss in the chat – whether the questions above or anything else!

to join us in the chat, sign in or sign up with twitter and then go to http://tweetchat.com/room/mhsm.

to show you what you can expect in such a chat, here is an excerpt from last week:

12:59 am mhsmchat: welcome to tonight’s chat!

1:01 am mhsmchat: tonight we will discuss our passion for #mentalhealth issues.

1:02 am mhsmchat: can join in the chat here: http://tweetchat.com/room/mhsm =)

1:04 am mhsmchat: q1: how did you get involved with #mentalhealth activism, professional roles, or discussing #mentalhealth topics? what drives you?

1:05 am icantican: q1 my interest started as a curiosity when i was a teenager and a bigger mess than i am now and my mother had schizophrenia.

1:05 am partimefabulous: @mhsmchat after dealing with my own challenges with #depression, i decided to try and understand it better by creating a truthful film

1:06 am namimass: @mhsmchat i’m involved because i care about mental health. i’m a family member with a sibling with mental health issues.

1:07 am partimefabulous: #mentalhealth issues are so poorly represented in today’s media and entertainment. it’s time that the stigma is unveiled.

1:07 am perthtones: @icantican helped mum study 4 psych nurse exams at 14 advocated 4 decades, then hit by ptsd 10 yrs ago. now an even beter advocate 😉

1:08 am icantican: vulnerability of the human mind, resilence, and adversity due to mental illness or causing it is interesting to me.

1:09 am mhsmchat: i became involved because of my own personal mental health issues predominantly.

1:10 am voiceinrecovery: q1 advocacy was a natural progression in my recovery from ed & alcohol abuse. felt i had a story 2 share 2 help others feel less alone

1:10 am perthtones: totally agreed on #stigma – the biggest barrier to proper treatment, media coverage & positive community awareness

links: psychology, morality, social media and dogs

in my long-suffering attempts to organize my internet life better, i’m going to see what it’s like if i post the occasional link article.  so here’s a stroll through the links open on august 1, with the first paragraph of each post so that you can get an idea what it’s all about.  you may even end up reading something!

gifted relationships: on being “too much” to the right of the curve

for most of my life, finding friends and work that honored my intensity and intelligence wasn’t an issue for me.

make my psychotherapy plain, but with a twist
by tom ellis, PsyD, ABPP on july 23, 2010

jon allen‘s post “is psychotherapy going to POT?” is spot on in terms of describing the quandary faced by psychotherapists and their patients with respect to the double-edged sword of “prescriptive therapies.”

my hopes for mental health camp UK

the moment i spotted MentalHealthCamp toronto i wanted to help make it happen here. years ago i was a volunteer MIND mental health advocate in the old hackney psychiatric hospital (a former workhouse) which was a schooling in one side of mental health services. now that i’m an accidental digital innovator i can see the huge potential in a mashup of mental health and digital, which i can’t really put better than the MentalHealthCamp toronto mission statement :

dr. khalid sohail, a psychiatrist by profession has been passionately writing for the last two decades. his collections of poems, stories, travelogues, novellas and essays have been published in english, urdu and punjabi. his writings are an attempt to share his humanistic philosophy of life. he summarized his views in his book “pages of my heart” in the following words:

edge: getting at the neuroanthropology of morality
edge has just posted a new seminar, the new science of morality. you get lots of access to interviews, links to papers, videos, exchange of views, reactions from the press, and more. quite stimulating.

calling all social change geeks: it’s netsquared camp vancouver

a month from now, on saturday, august 14, i’ll be attending vancouver’s first NetSquared camp, a day-long event for people who work at the intersection of social change and technology. the goal of the event is to build skills and capacity through peer learning, and invites the participation of “nonprofits, activists and social entrepreneurs [along] with their friends and allies in the world of technology and communications.”

study shows possibilities for predicting how patients will respond to antidepressants

in a study of an experimental treatment for major depression, pretreatment testing to probe the function of a specific brain center predicted how patients would respond to ketamine, a medication that can lift depression rapidly in some people. the work suggests it may be possible to develop ways to use such assessments in the future, not only to better understand depression, but to guide treatment choices for individuals.

effective confrontation

basic principles to remember:

the 30 second rule: the first 30 seconds in a confrontation, or your response to being confronted, will determine whether or not productive dialogue will even begin.

coaching at work magazine – mark on a difficult case
mark mckergow is featured in the current issue of coaching at work magazine (http://www.coaching-at-work.com). in the troubleshooter column, a difficult case is presented and expert responses are sought. here’s the problem:

international online training program on intractable conflict
conflict research consortium, university of colorado, USA

non-violent struggle
the problem with the use of violent confrontation strategies is that they quickly escalate to the point where the parties’ only concerns are victory, vengeance, and self-defense. in these cases, the moral arguments of people who are being unjustly treated become irrelevant. what matters is that they have used violent strategies and their opponent is, therefore, justified in a violent response. this problem is complicated by the fact that both sides are usually able to argue that the other side started the violence.

eight steps for workplace confrontations
one of the challenging things about working in a team environment is that there are times when people behave in ways that we find unproductive, offensive, or hurtful.  when we ignore these feelings the relationship can suffer as our resentment festers.  yet fear at confronting others can prevent us from taking positive action.  today’s post contains a checklist you can use to determine if a confrontation is appropriate, and if so, how to move forward.

the missing ingredient in most social media strategies
what is the missing ingredient in most strategies i’ve seen? actual strategy.

expressive writing for the treatment of gay-related stressors

according to research published in the journal of consulting and clinical psychology, writing about stressful or traumatic events related to one’s sexual identity may be an effective treatment for gay-related stress.

forms in english haiku
keiko imaoka

japanese haiku have been traditionally composed in 5-7-5 syllables. when poets started writing english haiku in the 1950’s, they adopted this 5-7-5 form, thinking it created a similar condition for english-language haiku. this style is what is generally considered “traditional” english haiku.

gogyōka (五行歌?, literally, “five line poem”) is a form of japanese poetry invented by enta kusakabe (草壁 焔太) in 1957, in an attempt to escape the constraints of haiku and tanka poetry.[1] unlike traditional japanese poetry, gogyōka has no mora or syllable requirement for the length of its lines, which is instead governed by the duration of a single breath. the only defining rule of gogyōka is that the poem should be five lines long. in addition to japanese and english, gogyōka have been written in french, chinese, arabic, tagalog, korean, and latin.

on being chronically absent : “calling for my soul, at the corners of the world, i know she’s playing poker, with the rest of the stragglers”
i have always been an absentee.  sometimes by choice, sometimes by chance. i still do all of my work, and put great effort into it.  but i have never been keen on always attending class.  sometimes i feel that the time is better spent working from home, getting much more done. some classes i never want to miss, and am sad when i do.  i don’t play hooky, like i must admit – i did quite often in elementary school – but at times absenteeismt is necessary. sometimes i need “mental health” days off.  actually, i find it ridiculous that this isn’t expected at the “workplace”, since it has been found that most “sick calls” are due to feeling mentally worn out, than due to being physically ill.  if you get the flu, go home, best that you not spread it!  i feel the same is true of mental exhaustion and the need to get away for a while – a short leave of absence is simply necessary for one to “perform to the best of their abilities” (what any employer assumedly wants – accuracy, efficiency, obedience…, but when you  try to suppress the negative energy that fills your disposition, it spills out onto the people you are working with, and for (diners, students, etc.)

the rise of the psychopharmaceutical industry 1987-2010
written and submitted by mary ackerley ***md, mdh

mary beth ackerley md is a harvard and johns hopkins trained board certified psychiatrist. she now practices holistic psychiatry.

robert whitaker’s brilliant book anatomy of an epidemic asks a simple question.why , if psychiatric drug treatments are so efficacious, has the number of people on disability for mental illness more than tripled in the last 25 years? most doctors and researchers answered this question by stating that the numbers have increased simply because we are diagnosing more people with mental illness. in response to this stereotyped dismissal of his data, robert began to do more research on the efficacy of known psychiatric treatments. and then, while poring through the psychiatric scientific literature on treatment effectiveness for the last fifty years he found an even darker question beginning to emerge. “is it possible that psychiatric drugs are actually making people much worse?” could it be that far from “fixing broken brains” the drugs being offered actually are worsening, and even causing, the very illnesses they claim to heal?

handy google search tips: 19 simple tricks you need to know

google may be expanding into cell phones, operating systems, and tablet pcs, but it’s still known best for search.  google’s engineers have tricked out the search engine with a number of tools, shortcuts, and features that can help you better access the information you’re after–whether it’s finding out how many euros to the dollar, when your favorite team is playing next, or whether to leave home with an umbrella.

psychologists develop two potent new predictors of suicide risk

sciencedaily (july 30, 2010) ” two powerful new tests developed by psychologists at harvard university show great promise in predicting patients’ risk of attempting suicide.

saving the lives of 15 eight week old puppies
a better life dog rescue has just agreed to save the lives of 15 eight week old puppies that were going to be euthanized by a california shelter on friday. a rescue organization in los angelos asked numerous rescue groups in the states and canada for help to save these puppies lives.

dog breed selector quiz
ibizan hound size: medium. coat: silky. straight. coat length: short. grooming: easy, low-maintenance. very unlikely to drool. little to no shedding. very high activity level. bred as a game hunting companion. low intelligence. somewhat easier than average to train. very wary of other pets. tolerates strangers well. good with kids four and up. very affectionate. quite dependent. quiet. somewhat shorter than average estimated lifespan. in america, a rare breed. not well suited for apartment living.

body language and cyber language

my new-found friend sheldon from the kitzul connection wrote this the other day:

given the world we live in with social media dominating our relationshipscapes, why all the love??!

i have had this brewing in the back of my mind for a while now. but it really hit home during a recent trip to the interior. i am an avid twitterer and saw that a connection from there was also traveling to kelowna the same time i was there. i sent her a message and asked if she would like to meet for coffee or a drink. she agreed. my friend and i went to meet her one evening and during our conversation we talked about how easily we give up trust in people we meet this way. i have had many recent examples where i meet people from twitter or elsewhere for coffee. having never met each other, without fail, one party always leaves their belongings at the table after the hand-shake to go get a coffee. somehow, having never met you in person, i’m willing to leave my laptop, keys, cell phone etc with you. i have just transferred my trust to you.

in kelowna, the woman we met with told us that her husband had offered to come along and she declined feeling that she trusted us – two strangers. did she have enough information from our tweets and blogs to know we were trustworthy?

being the woman in question, i thought i`d say something about this. in fact, i, too, think that this is a very interesting phenomenon. just one observation, about what i’d like to call bodylanguage and cyberlanguage.

you know how they always say that social media is a poor method of communication because we`re missing the body language? it is true that in written social media we miss body language (not so much when it comes to video, of course) but there is an equivalent in social media – let me call it cyberlanguage. i’m sure linguists and postmodern woollymouths have created a term for it but – well, let’s leave that for now. this cyberlanguage is quite rich. let’s look at twitter and just some of the many ways we communicate outside of the informational content of the text:

  • mode of interaction with others. do we reply to others? is there evidence of actual conversation with others? what is the nature of that interaction? friendly, hostile, fun, etc.?
  • evidence of self-involvement. does the person tweet nothing but her or his own “wisdom”, or references to their blog or web site?
  • what do the avatar and twitter backgrounds say about the person? fun? boring? interesting? unusual?
  • what does the bio say? is there a link to a web site or blog?
  • what is the writing style? formal, informal, flowery, abrupt … ? can they spell? how do they use punctuation and symbols?

and the list goes on … i often think people are developing their own unique cyberlanguage, their own internet voice print, so to say. the more time we spend online, the better we are able to discern the subtle undertones and colorations of these voices. we can judge them according to more common standards (e.g. use of swearwords, uniqueness of twitter background, amount of retweets, etc.) but we can also attune to our own resonances. maybe the person uses certain expressions that really appeal to me. maybe the person has a ratio of conversation to just-talking-to-myself that makes me feel comfortable.

and then of course there is also the content, both of the tweets and of the bio and the web sites that the bio leads to. in my case, i did go to sheldon’s blog, where i had been before, and discovered that he spoke favorable of research on drug addiction by bruce alexander, one of my favourite psychology professors at sfu.

did all of this guarantee that sheldon was a good guy and not a serial killer? of course not. but how different is that from real life?

what do you think of the idea of a unique cyberlanguage?

mental health camp today!

these are my opening remarks for mental health camp today. if you’re on twitter, you can follow the conference via the hashtag #mhcyvr10.

this is a conference that was conceived and organized in love, excitement and harmony. while we talk about stigma and silence, what is much more interesting to us is to move forward and make the world a better place.

i’m an old hippie, so i have a constitutional right to talk about love and peace and harmony.

to us, mental health camp is more than a conference where people exchange information. it’s an unconference because we have space for people to present impromptu sessions, and because so-called experts and so-called non-experts mingle freely. but it’s more than that.

mental health camp is also about working together in harmony. part of this is because raul and i and the other volunteers just happen to work really well together. when you see raul and me twitter about each other like two love birds, it’s because we just can’t get over how well we work together.

but part of this is very, very intentional. we WANT there to be open, clean and clear communication. we WANT there to be respect. we WANT for trust to unfold itself so that new things can be explored and tension can be seen as productive and exciting, not fear-inducing and creating animosity.

mental health camp is about inclusion. it’s really, really important to us that everyone gets heard, that there is a space for everyone. we were able to include just about every idea and presentation that was proposed to us. the only ones we said no to were proposals that were things like, “10 sure-fire ways to end your depression forever” – there’s lots of other venues for experts to give those kinds of talks.

and over and over again, we kept saying, mental health camp is about taking care of ourselves. i can’t tell you how often raul and i said to each other and to volunteers and presenters that we can’t have mental health camp turn into a stress fest. how absurd that would be! we need to walk our talk.

you can see, then, that mental health camp is about mental health. it’s not called mental illness camp, or depression camp, or stigma camp. a huge part of mental health consists of harmonious co-operation, good communication, respect, trust, inclusion, self care – and love.

it is with love, then, that we break the silence, because love needs to express itself. breaking the silence, setting us free is the theme of this year’s vancouver mental health camp. love does not constrict, that’s why “setting us free” is important.

it is with love that i want to thank our wonderful PR person and media concierge cathy browne for coming up with just the right words to express our theme, and for all the great things she’s doing for us.

it is with love that i thank airdrie, who started this whole thing. airdrie had this idea last year to do a little panel about mental health with herself, tod maffin and myself, at our annual blogging conference, northern voice. well, that little 45-minute panel was the powerful seed for what is now starting to feel like a movement.

this is the 3rd mental health camp in 14 months. there was one in toronto in may, and they will certainly have another one. we know of two other people who have plans to do mental health camps, one in the UK, another one here, specifically for the south asian community, to be run by kulpreet singh. we’ve also heard rumours of places like san francisco wanting to do something like this, right, AJ?

and it is with love and respect and admiration that i want to give you a brief overview over some of the ideas that are being offered to you today.

the topic of breaking the silence, setting us free, is being touched on by many of our presenters. steffi cameron, for example, will talk about “ripping off the scabs”. it’s interesting to think about that image. it’s not exactly rosy and mushy. come to think of it, the idea of “breaking” the silence is also pretty strong. clearly, finding a way through to honest self expression isn’t always easy. and by self expression i mean artistic self expression but more than that – expressing the self. this is who i am.

other people who speak directly to this topic are terra, who did an unforgettable talk about mommy bloggers and mental health last year, as well as catherine omega and steven schwartz. steven schwartz will also talk a bit about mad pride, i think. the mad pride movement goes beyond breaking the silence, it breaks new ground. mad pride, steven tells us, was grown on the success of gay pride. and let’s not forget the commonalities here. being gay was also once something that had stigma attached to it, and look how far we’ve come. there’s lots we can learn here. mad pride is described as “a fun movement that celebrates the human rights and spectacular culture of everyone who is “different,” and isn’t that everyone?”

another group that’s connected to mad pride is gallery gachet. gallery gachet is a collective of artists who paint, draw, sculpt and do all kinds of other neat things and also happen to have run-ins with ill mental health. gallery gachet will be hosting a series of mad pride events starting july 14, and today we have two presentations from artists connected to gallery gachet. one is jay peachy, who will do an interesting live radio event, complete with art therapy. the other event is the showing of the film “crooked beauty” over the lunch hour in the auditorium.

another presenter speaking about art, among other things, will be michelle clausius, who will be presenting art work by youth who are facing difficulties with homelessness, abuse, addiction and mental illness. covenant house’s blog “on the house” is the vehicle with which this art is expressed, and recently won an award for it.

earlier i talked about inclusion, and one of the things that we’re working towards is to try to include as many aspects as possible of mental health. homelessness is one of them, and another important one is ADD. pete quily is THE indefatigable advocate for attention surplus condition – yes, you heard it right. i love his positive twist, sounds more interesting than attention deficit disorder.

talking about positive – that’s something very important to AJ, also known as depression2.0 on twitter, who will propose the idea of an online game around mental health issues. it’s called escape from bummer island.

sean cranbury will give us a bit of balance and talk about mental health from the perspective of care providers. and i will discuss what i’ve already started here – the importance of focusing on mental health for everyone, because literally, our lives depend on it.

and talking about balance – one of the things we wanted to accomplish in this mental health camp was to give it a strong online component. one thing we’re doing is that we have a number of online moderators. they have the imaginative names of mhcmod1, mhcmod2 and mhcmod3. they will be gentle shepherds for the mental health camp presence on twitter.

the person who has inspired us to do that is amy kiel, also known as @abeeliever on twitter. she is the host of the mental health social media chat that happens on twitter every tuesday, the hashtag is #mhsm. she will be hosting a special mhsm talk today, also on twitter. i am really excited to have a virtual presence here in this real life space. this is something that i think the vancouver social media community is very good at – thanks to people like raul, we are connecting in multiple ways and building true community online and offline.

talking about offline – we have some real life support here. if you feel you need to talk someone, we have a quiet area over there. jael will be there for you, as well as perhaps a few other volunteers who have experience be present to people’s emotional needs. jael is currently studying with katarina halm, who will also give a presentation on that topic. focusing is a technique that incorporates the body’s information with emotional and thought processes. it’s fascinating!

and we’ll end with a bicycle! in a few weeks, michael schratter will start circling the globe with his bicycle. he’s doing that to bring awareness to mental illness. did you know that suicide kills more young men than anything else? michael, and i’m sure all of us, want to put an end to this, and he’ll talk about how he’ll use social media to do that.

and now i want to come back to love. i don’t necessarily mean the mushy stuff, the disney version of love. i mean the greek concept of agape. love that supports, love that revels in the presence and expression of the other, love that passionately wants the best for the other, love that heals, love that is patient, love that is so big it’s hard to describe because it brings a magical quality of goodness to all that it touches.

if we – and by we i mean you and you and you and me and all of us – if we bring these things to mental health camp today, if we bring these things to mental health and mental illness, if we bring these things to the world, then i say, we are doing a fine job.

speaker line-up for mental health camp

yay! we now have the speakers list and topics for mental health camp, the conference about the intersection between social media and mental health.  more information on the topics will trickle in by the end of june.  if you want to sign up to come to this conference, go to our eventbrite page.  there will also be a busy twitter stream – watch out for more information about that!

if you wonder what “mental moose” is – they are opportunities for people to propose sessions the morning of the conference. the sessions will be voted on by participants, and the proposals with the most votes will be slotted into the available times. they are called “mental moose” in nostalgic memory of northern voice’s moosecamp.

here is the line-up:

9-9:30 keynote

9:35-10:20
room 1
escape from bummer island – imagining a mental health adventure game
by “depression 2.0”

9:35-10:20
room 2
arts based advocacy: sound therapy radio
by jay peachy

9:35-10:20
room 3
mental moose

10:15-11:00
room 1
ripping the scabs off through writing
by steffani cameron

10:15-11:00
room 2
digital outing / mad pride
by steven schwartz

10:15-11:00
room 3
getting by with a little help from our friends
by henry jue

11-11:20 break

11:25-12:10
room 1
mhsm chat – a virtual session about the weekly mental health chat on twitter
by amy kiel

11:25-12:10
room 2
how covenant house’s blog “on the house” helps break the silence around mental health issues
by michelle clausius

11:25-12:10
room 3
mental moose

12:15-1:40 lunch

1:45-2:30
room 1
ADHD and stigma
by pete quily

1:45-2:30
room 2
panel: being ‘out’ about various forms of mental illness such as bipolar disorder, eating disorders, ADD, and post-partum depression
by terra, steve, steff and catherine

1:45-2:30
room 3
mental moose

2:35-3:20
room 1
who gets to talk about mental health? when, where, why, how?
by isabella mori

2:35-3:20
room 2
mental moose

2:35-3:20
room 3
mental moose

3:50-4:25
room 1
the power of words and the power of bikes – a journalist goes on a bicycle tour to raise awareness of mental health
by michael schratter

3:50-4:25
room 2
mental moose

3:50-4:25
room 2
mental moose

4:30-5:00 closing statements