Tag Archives: vancouver

call for speakers for mental health camp vancouver 2011

the 3rd edition of MentalHealthCamp vancouver is happening soon!  on july 23rd, precisely.  the conference is about the intersection between social media and mental health.

is this a topic you’re interested in?  would you like to talk about it, or lead a workshop? 

here’s your chance – our call for speakers.

we are looking for session leaders who speak from personal or professional experience with mental health or mental illness. please note that this is unpaid – we are entirely volunteer-run.

we will have approximately 10 45-minute slots, with 6 slots for prearranged speakers (e.g. approved by the selection committee), and 4 slots for “mental moose” – a continuation of the unconference tradition of moosecamp at northern voice.  during “mental moose”, participants who are interested in leading a session can pitch them on saturday morning with a quick 30-second talk.  everyone will then vote on which sessions will be presented, and the winning sessions will be scheduled.

the theme for this year’s MentalHealthCamp is

DIVERSITY

diversity of opinions
diversity of religion
diversity of ideas on how to deal with mental health
diversity of sexual orientation
diversity in age
diversity in ethnic backgrounds
diversity in socioeconomic status
diversity of ability
and … ? (please feel free to add!)

each one of these topics contains vast, interesting fields in and of themselves. just think of the topic of mental health among british columbia’s south asian population; the diverse/diverging of the radical psychology group (here with another diversity topic: gender and bodily difference); or mental health and christian churches. we could even look at diversity from yet another point of view – adding the topic/twist of mental health to existing bodies of research, such as the growing area of research into tourism and mental health.

since MentalHealthCamp is about the intersection between mental health and social media, speakers and participants will discuss issues that touch on both topics, in whatever weird and wonderful and different ways. also, this will continue to be a grassroots-based event. as long as a speaker has something interesting and constructive to contribute, it is of no consequence whether she or he has a PhD in psychiatry or is a master in the art of living a life touched by mental illness. come one, come all! it is, after all, about diversity. on the other hand, MentalHealthCamp is not an ideal venue for very general talks on stress reduction, time management or the like.

once again, we might also have a virtual session.  if you’re unable to attend the conference in person but have the technical know-how, let’s talk about using technology to bring you right into our conference here in vancouver.

if you’re interested in presenting, please send us a short (100 words or less) description of the proposal, together with a short (50 words or less) bio about yourself by june 16.  please send it to moritherapy at shaw dot ca.

the conference will happen on july 23, 2011, from 8:30am  to 5:00 pm, at vancouver’s gallery gachet http://gachet.org/ at 88 east cordova street .

at hycroft

i am here at hycroft, the lovely, lovely 100-year-old home of the university women’s club of vancouver. my friend MJ ankenmann had invited some vancouver bloggers to join her in the unveiling of a painting in honour of the many 100-year events that will happen here in 2011.

just now i interviewed donalda falconer, who leads the club’s choir, the hycroft singer. they present a wide repertoire, from early music to broadway to jazz. they sing in many different venues and configurations. “we always have a good time and are good friends,” says donalda. recently at the last “christmas at hycroft” (a venerable vancouver christmas event), the choir did a flashmob. the public was milling about, with the choir mixed in and suddenly they erupted into in dulce jubilo. it was a lot of fun!

on friday march 18 there will be a festival of choirs, a women’s choir festival in the ballroom. so far three choirs are scheduled to sing, the hycroft singers, the lyric singers, and higher ground from north vancouver. doors open at 7, refreshments are available, the music starts at 7:30. tickets are $15 for members, $20 for the public – phone the office! there is limited space. the number is 604 731 4661.

i asked donalda to tell me why i should join the club. “there is such a variety of people and things going on. the interest groups are amazing. you can get really serious or not, you can do a little bit or a lot of it, the camaraderie is wonderful. when i first joined, i loved the variety of the members. a variety of age and interest. and that’s one of the big points of this club.”

another person i interviewed was kathy barford, a fountain of knowledge about hycroft. “there is something very enduring about this house,” she says. there is an effort to continuously make it closer to what it might have been when it was first built and lived in (and partied in! the ballroom and bar downstairs are huge!). during WWII, the house was converted to a veteran’s hospital. the beautiful, very large formal living room in which we are sitting right now was hospital green during the war and the floor battleship linoleum. afterwards, when the place was restored to its old splendour, the members couldn’t get any men to strip the linoleum, so they did it themselves. just imagine all these well-educated women way back in the 60s and 70s on their knees, stripping the floor!

cathy took art history in university, and loves hycroft because “it is just overall beautifully designed, the proportions, the scale of it, it’s all so well done, all the way through. sadly, this is a rare thing.” thomas hooper was the architect. his older brother became provincial architect in manitoba (hm, i wonder what a provincial architect is?) thomas hooper came here in 1886, just as vancouver was founded. he built many schools and churches in vancouver and victoria, e.g. the vancouver public library, the addition to the vancouver art gallery, and the winch building. he also did the provincial court houses in vernon and revelstoke. mccarter, who built the marine building, trained with him.

cathy looks after the volunteers at hycroft. right now she is putting together a lecture series about the history, heritage and antiques at hycroft. she is also part of the house committee, which replaces all the work a butler or major-domo would have usually done. “really,” she says, “we have a cooperative between members and staff.”

so, why should i join this club? “it’s interesting and there is fellowship and a beautiful house, advocacy on behalf of women’s issues and a great place to hang out.”

finally, i asked MJ a few questions. when MJ lived in toronto, there was a university women’s club but she never got around to joining it. when she got here, she saw the building and thought this would be an interesting place to belong to. when she first visited, she was immediately drawn to it. there are women of all ages. “one of my best friends is 87.” she doesn’t have that sort of multigenerational family connection here. it’s a real sisterhood, an older version of the sorority but without the politics. “we do some good work with advocacy. right now we’re working on a paper about prostitution. we are against legalisation and are involved with the canadian federation of university women; this way we are able to put forth a position. we do take a stand on things.”

why should i join? it’s a great place to meet and be surrounded by women who have ideas, who are creative who want to enjoy life. there is a wide variety of things to do, educational and fun, “we play poker and drink wine, and play bridge and drink tea.” there is also a connection to history, one because of the house and vancouver’s history, and we’re preserving some of this. there is also the history of the club in the house. when we bought it in 1962, women were not allowed to legally hold a mortgage on their own. they had to raise the money and buy the house outright. and they did that. rather than having a man co-sign it, they said, we’re going to do this. there are members from all over the world. it’s a great place to come to meet people.

join us for a mental health breakfast!

Canadian Mental Health Association

Speaking Out for Recovery

Mental Health Voices 2010

CANADIAN MENTAL HEALTH ASSOCIATION – VANCOUVER-BURNABY BRANCH

Please join us at our

2010 Mental Health Voices

Breakfast Fundraiser

An Exactly 1 Hour Fundraising Event

With Complimentary Continental Breakfast

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

7:30am – 8:30am

Board Room of Fasken Martineau Dumoulin LLP

2900 – 550 Burrard Street, Vancouver, BC

on Thursday, October 14th

This is an opportunity to learn more about the services of Canadian Mental Health Association, Vancouver/Burnaby Branch and to raise money to support our work.

More importantly, the event features inspiring stories from our clients and their families about how our programs have contributed to their recoveries from mental illness.

Marge Johnson is a mental health professional and mother of an individual with mental illness. She will share with us her experiences and her inspiring stories about recovery.

We are honoring media personality Shelagh Rogers with the 2010 Mental Health Voices Award via a video presentation.

The Mental Health Voices Award is given to an individual who has shown courage, raised awareness or encouraged acceptance and help for people with mental illness.

Generously sponsored by Fasken Martineau, Pacific Blue Cross and BC Life

writers festival

here are some of the events i’m considering going to at vancouver’s annual writers festival.

33 old friends

linwood barclay

ontario

gail bowen

saskatchewan

quintin jardine

united kingdom

host: the honourable larry w. campbell
thu, oct 21, 8:00pm
revue stage
$19.00 (buy tickets online)

one of the draws for aficionados of crime fiction is the recurring character who must solve a crime at the same time as his or her life is moving on. from book to book, readers get a chance to live with these characters as they develop, face challenges and age, just like the rest of us. pi joanne kilbourn, chief constable bob skinner and zack walker are three such characters, and their creators take the stage to talk about how they came to life, how they are shaped and moulded in each new novel, and maybe, just maybe, what’s to become of them.

35 dark end of the street

sandra birdsell

saskatchewan

michael helm

ontario

mauricio segura

québec

russell wangersky

newfoundland

michael winter

ontario

host: genni gunn
thu, oct 21, 8:00pm
waterfront theatre
$19.00 (buy tickets online)

five authors each shine a light on the events, relationships and communities that exist in the darker parts of our cities and society. from immigrants trying to find their place, to murder on a snowy night, to a couple on the lam in a walmart parking lot, to assault in a unlit urban corner, these are novels that show readers environments, circumstances and psyches that we might not normally encounter. and isn’t that one of the reasons, after all, that fiction holds such appeal? there’s vibrancy and intrigue outside the circle of the street lamp, and these writers take us to the dark end of our streets.

36 an intimate evening with david grossman

david grossman

israel

presenter: kathryn gretsinger
thu, oct 21, 8:00pm
ptc studio
$25.00 (buy tickets online)

renowned israeli writer david grossman began to the end of the land in 2003, when his eldest son was about to be released from military service and his youngest was on the cusp of being drafted. grossman had a wish that the book he was writing would protect his youngest son. but in 2006, during the last hours of the second lebanon war, his son was killed. astoundingly, he returned to writing the book and finished what is being called “one of the great anti-war novels of our time”. this is a special opportunity to hear from a great novelist who has experienced violence in the middle east in a most palpable way and yet continues to advocate compassion and reconciliation.

55 american splendour

anthony doerr

united states

paul harding

united states

yiyun li

united states

marisa silver

united states

wells tower

united states

host: jerry wasserman
sat, oct 23, 2:00pm
performance works
$17.00 (buy tickets online)

step aside, fitzgerald and hemingway! here they come. this afternoon we introduce you to the next generation of american writers who are taking the literary world by storm. paul harding has just won the 2010 pulitzer prize for fiction, yiyun li and wells tower were named as two of the new yorker‘s 20 best american authors under 40. anthony doerr was named by granta as one of the 21 best young american authors and marisa silver has been included in the best american short stories and the o. henry prize stories. we are delighted to present these american voices from whom you will hear a lot more in the coming years.

this event is sponsored by simon & schuster canada.

59 polyphony

eleanor catton

new zealand

genni gunn

british columbia

michael helm

ontario

kathy page

british columbia

adam lewis schroeder

british columbia

mauricio segura

québec

marisa silver

united states

host: paul grant
sat, oct 23, 8:00pm
waterfront theatre
$19.00 (buy tickets online)

settle back this evening to hear seven fine writers read from their new works. there’s more than enough in store tonight to get you fired up on some riveting fiction by authors whose books may not have made it into your hands yet. let these voices transport you to italy and vietnam.  get swept up in an extraordinary adventure to a remote area of british columbia and thrown into the fray of two street gangs divided by race. be turned around by the chaos of a high-school sex scandal and flung deep into the turmoil caused by an attack on a dark street.  in other words, go places you’ve never been, feel things you’ve never felt, and come out changed.

68 an intimate afternoon with david mitchell

david mitchell

united kingdom

sat, oct 23, 5:00pm
waterfront theatre
$25 (buy tickets online)

david mitchell has been called many things, all of them enviable. according to dave eggers, mitchell is “one of the more fearless and fascinating writers alive.” charles foran declares him “the most gifted of his generation of novelists.” of his five novels, two have been shortlisted for the mann booker prize. he is perhaps best known for his mind-altering modern classic cloud atlas, which was shortlisted for the man booker prize and sold in the neighbourhood of a million copies worldwide. mitchell joins us this evening with a new masterpiece, the thousand autumns of jacob de zoet, which follows a dutch accountant’s adventures in feudal japan. in the hands of this formidably talented writer, this is no ordinary tale, and this will be no ordinary evening.

this event is sponsored by random house of canada.

schizophrenia, involuntary admission and family members

the following is a press release from vancouver’s north shore schizophrenia society.  since no-one seems to have picked it up yet, i’m publishing it here.  it addresses the important question of when involuntary admission for serious mental illness is applicable, and the involvement of family members.

vancouver coastal, in a review of the death by suicide of marek kwapiszewski, has ducked the leading question they needed to answer: why is “dangerousness” still considered a requirement for involuntary admission rather than “to prevent the person’s… substantial mental or physical deterioration,” as spelled out in the mental health act?

what was promised by CEO david ostrow to have been an “independent” review, moreover, turned out to be not so independent after all, with senior managers under question in the review taking part in drawing up its recommendations.

kwapiszewski, 54, of vancouver, who suffered from schizophrenia, jumped off the granville street bridge to his death june 29, 2008. his sister, halina haboosheh, together with her lawyer, had made 16 different attempts to get him the treatment he needed – treatment which required involuntary admission since kwapiszewski, like many suffering from schizophrenia, did not have insight into his own condition.

instead of dealing with the factors leading to kwapiszewski’s death, the review came up with three brief items in a so-called action plan, which involved no changes or improvements in practice, nor was any fault determined although it was an obvious case of clinical failure.

“the ‘action plan’ should have been called an ‘inaction plan,'” NSSS president herschel hardin commented. “it was as if a review had not taken place.”

the so-called action plan was presented to haboosheh and the north shore schizophrenia society, which made the original submission in the case, at a meeting july 26, in vancouver coastal’s boardroom.

the first item, to facilitate a discussion to consider development of an operating definition of “deterioration,” makes no commitment to ultimately do anything, and is highly questionable to begin with in any case. nor does it apply to the kwapiszewski case, where the deterioration was quite clear and substantial.

the second and third of the three items were bureaucratic filler, not representing anything new and showing no grasp of what the problem was.

the review also completely missed two other crucial factors in the case: the failure of vancouver coastal staff to involve the sister, halina haboosheh, as an integral member of the treatment team, following best practices, and the concomitant failure to share clinical information with her. if that had been done, marek kwapiszewski might well be alive today.

it was also learned that the items were not the independent work of the external lawyer and psychiatric consultant hired to undertake the review, but were a consensus arrived at with senior community mental health managers and, possibly, vancouver coastal’s risk management officer. in effect, they had a veto over what would be presented.

as well as forfeiting the review’s independence, this meant that a major shake-up of senior mental health management, called for in NSSS’s 2009 submission, could not even be addressed. instead, the primary subjects of the review, as NSSS considered them, were parties to the review’s outcome.

in response to vancouver coastal’s items, NSSS has presented four recommendations of its own to vancouver coastal and has asked ostrow and his board for leave to speak directly to the recommendations at a board meeting.

for more information, please go to the NSSS media center.

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.

around the world for mental health

this morning i went to michael schratter’s sendoff on his year-long ride don’t hide bicycle tour around the world to create awareness about mental health.

let’s just stop here for a moment and picture this.

map of the world

and then let’s put a finger on how long this is.

three
hundred
sixty
five
days.

eight
thousand
seven
hundred
sixty
hours.

as far as i know this is the first-ever attempt to bring something of this duration and magnitude to raise awareness about mental health. of course, last year, there was mel thompson, who successfully rode across canada for mental health. and now michael takes it a few steps – spokes? – further. i am very, very honoured and excited to be witness to this.

as many of you know, michael was one of the speakers at the vancouver mental health camp this year, and i found him very inspiring as he tlkaed about his dream to change the world and about his experience with having bipolar disorder. one of the things that keeps coming back to me is the fact that he is a teacher and that his students are among his most avid supporters. when we were at mental health camp, airdrie made the very, very poignant point at the end of the conference that we are doing this for the children. we are speaking out and speaking up for mental health so that our children don’t have to hide, so that they don’t have to pretend they’re sick with a cold when they can’t face going to school with a depression, so that they can confidently talk to their peers and teachers when going on a field trip brings up their anxiety.

the kids at michael’s school will not forget this. it’s really neat to see all their comments about him on facebook and his blog. after meeting michael’s school’s principal this morning, i am confident that she will do everything to keep them abreast of what’s going on and to involve them in the adventure as much as possible.

here are a few pictures from the sendoff.

michael schratter in front of vancouver's olympic clock

michael in front of the olympic clock.  hour zero.

michael schratter about to blast off for his world tour to raise awareness for mental health

last moments with his girlfriend

michael schratter off on his bike on his world tour to raise awareness for mental health

… and he’s off!