Tag Archives: vancouver

mad pride: salmon insanity at gallery gachet

salmon art

are you in vancouver and looking for something to do on saturday? how about going to salmon insanity, run by gallery gachet apropos their mad pride events. gallery gachet is a collective of vancouver artists who have been affected by mental illness. i like how they make the connection between mental health and ecological health.

here’s their invite:

are you a salmon-lover or would like to be one?? local bands converge with run-of-river activist groups to network, update and rock the salmon as our precious “backbone of the west coast.”

bring a blank t-shirt for the free “salmon are sacred” and “gateway sucks” DIY screen-printing station!

express your love for salmon through creativity at our art table, including body painting and tattoos.

our featured musical talent includes

rick buckman coe

ranj singh and the discriminators

watasun

image by naturemandala

mental health camp recap #1

i was going to write this nice first recap about mental health camp but then – well, life happened.  so instead here are the links to some people who have written a little about it.  enjoy!

http://katanaville.com/mental-health-camp-at-ubc-honesty-on-the-internet/

http://www.covenanthousebc.org/blog/2010/07/16/mental-health-camp-recap

http://theemperorhasnotoque.blogspot.com/2010/07/mental-health-camp-2010-my-view-after.html

http://cuntinglinguist.com/2010/07/mental-health-in-which-steff-calls-a-spade-a-spade.html

http://www.kidsideration.ca/?p=86

http://www.ridedonthide.com/2010/07/mental-health-camp-2010/

mental health camp news

a few updates on MentalHealthCamp, the second vancouver conference on the intersection between social media and mental health, to be held on july 10.

we have a motto! it is

breaking our silence. setting us free.

also, there will be a mental health camp in toronto – isn’t that cool?  it’s on may 28.  raul and i are really stoked that this is moving beyond vancouver.

then there is a video of how the whole MentalHealthCamp idea started.

also on the MentalHealthCamp blog is a reply to an interesting article on the topic of “normal“, which had started with a post on the same topic at PsychCentral.

8 from google

my brain is still only functioning at 42.718% capacity (as opposed to the usual 60 7/8th) so i don’t find myself to be able to say much. what little brain power i had went to work today and another fabulous mental health chat on twitter. but i feel guilty for not blogging enough so i thought i’d show you what blog posts i’ve liked today in my google reader. i’ll even do the shocking thing and not convert everything into lower case! here we go:

The @5days_Vancouver campaign for homeless/at risk youth

from Hummingbird604.com by Raul

York and Wellington

photo credit: Danielle Scott

I was alerted by Nathan Tippe to the 5 Days Vancouver campaign, the local branch of the national 5 Days campaign, created by students to raise awareness of the situation of homeless people and at-risk youth. I was more than happy to promote the cause (a) because it is a fundraiser and (b) because the local chapter is being organized by UBC students (and as you know, I teach at UBC).

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Mental health report focuses on multicultural groups

A March 15th news release from the Mental Health Commission of Canada:
CALGARY, March 15 /CNW Telbec/ – Statistics Canada is predicting that 1 in 3 Canadians will belong to a visible minority by 2031. The Mental Health Commission of Canada has released a report addressing the needs of multicultural, immigrant and refugee groups. The study is part of its mandate to improve mental healthcare across all areas of Canadian society.

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8 Studies Demonstrating the Power of Simplicity

from PsyBlog by Jeremy Dean

3 people liked this

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Psychological research on cognitive fluency shows why easy to understand = more profitable, more pleasurable, more intelligent and safer.

Which of these would you say sounds like the more dangerous food additive: Hnegripitrom or Magnalroxate?

The majority of people say Hnegripitrom sounds more dangerous. It turns out that the word ‘Magnalroxate’ is easier to think about than ‘Hnegripitrom’, probably because it’s more pronounceable, and people equate simplicity with safety (actually both words are made up).

This is one example of psychological research on meta-cognition: thoughts about other thoughts. Whether or not something is easy to think about—cognitive fluency—is one important type of meta-cognition, with all sorts of benefits accruing to things that are easily processed.

Here are 8 of my favourite studies on cognitive fluency, showing just how much can be explained by the feeling that something is easy to think about (or otherwise).

1. Complex writing makes you look stupid

Many of us did it in school: tried to impress teachers with fancy language and convoluted sentences, assuming it would make us look clever. As we soon discovered, though, most people can’t carry it off.

This has been tested by a study that manipulated text complexity to see how readers would judge the author’s intelligence. It found that as the text became more complicated, readers gave lower estimates of the author’s intelligence (Oppenheimer, 2005).

So if you want to be perceived as more intelligent (and who doesn’t?) keep your writing simple. This chimes perfectly with the standard advice given to wannabe writers. Sadly simplicity can be a lot harder to achieve than complexity.

(Note: the context of this study was students judging other students’ essays. This study might not extend to other types of writing and other types of readers.)

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Babies are born to dance, new research shows

A study of infants finds they respond to the rhythm and tempo of music and find it more engaging than speech. The research suggest that babies may be born with a predisposition to move rhythmically in response to music.
from Mind on Fire by John
Past collaborative projects here at Mind on Fire have produced some fine creative work, like the results of the 18-hour comic day, and the virtual First of May Choir–you know, the JoCo song that goes, “First of May, First of May, Outdoor fucking starts today” (original call, final song). In that same spirit of group play, I would like to propose a new project. I would like to propose a group creative experiment with chance, disorder, fate, Jupiter, Steve–whatever you choose to call it.

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Too Big to Trust? Or Too Untrustworthy to Scale?

from Trust Matters by cgreen@trustedadvisor.com (Charles H. Green)

This will be my fourth week on the road; more on that later in the week. At least all that plane time (and waiting in lines time) makes for good reading time—thanks to the iPhone Kindle Reader app. (and no they don’t pay me for saying it).

I’m re-reading Francis Fukuyama’s 1995 classic Trust: the Social Virtues and the Creation of Prosperity.

It’s the perfect companion for Andrew Ross Sorkin’s Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System—and Themselves.

Here’s why they belong together.

Fukuyama’s View of Trust

Fukuyama makes a compelling case that economic development is strongly affected by the cultural norms of a society—in particular, the propensity to trust. In this, he is up against both neo-classical economists (who argue people are rational utility-maximizers), Marxians (who argue it’s all about the money), and a ton of management theorists (who pretty much believe both).

As Fukuyama puts it:

The Chinese, Korean and Italian preference for family, Japanese attitudes toward adoption of non-kin, the French reluctance to enter into face-to-face relationships, the German emphasis on training, the sectarian temper of American social life: all come about as the result not of rational calculation but from inherited ethical habit.

Who we trust, it turns out, radically determines the nature of business we engage in.

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The Neuroscience of Anorexia Nervosa

from Dr Shock MD PhD by Dr Shock

anorexia nervosa

One of the most striking features of those suffering from anorexia nervosa is their perception of their bodies. You can put them in front of a mirror and they will still tell you they’re to fat when in fact they’re skinny. A recent publication in Nature Proceedings has an explanation.

This explanation is based on the fact that our spatial experience is based on the integration of two different kinds of input, two different sensory inputs within two reference frames. These two reference frames are the egocentric frame and the allocentric frame.

With the allocentric frame you can “see yourself engaged in the event as an observer would”, it’s the observer mode, you can see your self in the situation. This allocentric representation involves long term spatial memory mostly located in the hippocampus and the surrounding medial temporal lobes of the brain.

oh geez, the olympics

here is something a friend of mine wrote. i’m reprinting it because, well, i’m not a big fan of the olympics here. (yet? maybe i’ll change my mind? there’s a few days yet to go …)

right now the city is in the midst of preparations, and deep collective angst, for the games that will be descending upon us in less than three weeks. things are already getting interesting. on my way back to work after lunch yesterday when i was walking over the cambie street bridge (which, for those who are not familiar with our fair city, is near both the police station and the olympic village) i saw myriad upon myriad of white cars parked below the bridge. on closer inspection i saw that they were all police cars. i have never in my life seen so many cop cars in one place! there were hundreds and hundreds of them. i guess our men and women in blue want us (some of us anyway!) to feel real extra safe during these games.

in other news i attended my first anti-olympic demonstration in the downtown eastside which is our poorest neibghbourhood and canada’s poorest postal code. the theme of this demonstration was against police brutality and oppression against anyone in this city who is against the olympics. as many of you will know many many individuals here have been targeted, visited, harassed and interrogated by the police and by border officials over their alleged opposition to the games and a lot of us are getting pretty sick of this.

it was quite an angry protest and while i can’t say that i endorse everything that was said (for example i am not about to do my part to help smash the state or overthrow the capitalist system, much as i also disapprove of them), i understand and empathize with the anger and the emotion being expressed. of course the games are being held on unceded native land and no matter how much spin we are getting from the media it appears that our first nations peoples are still getting a very raw deal, particularly with the environmental degradation, lack of respect and policies of exclusion that the games are going to foist on all of us who don’t have the money to pay for these events nor to participate in many of the celebrations.

suicide and … what? do words make sense here?

i’m sitting here checking my email after a lovely weekend away. my daughter is doing the dishes to hedley’s “for the nights i can’t remember”. my husband is exercising on the Wii.

and i just opened an email from an artists’ email list i belong to. norm tucker, a fellow vancouver artist and writer, committed suicide some time this month, it says.

how do these two coexist? the contentment of a happy family and the tragic end of a life, full of suffering for everyone.

i don’t get it. i guess there is nothing to get.

but there are things i can do. i can send good thoughts to norm’s loved ones. i can extend my hand to others who are deeply unhappy. i can talk about it.

every single person i’ve talked to who had seriously contemplated or attempted suicide has talked of the importance of bringing it out in the open, one way or another. each one of them saw suicide as the only way to end pain.

there is never, never, ever just one way to do anything. but that’s easy to say for me right now, sitting here in my happy living room, not tucked in the corner with depression, not bouncing off the walls with mania. still, i can gently hold this (temporary) sanity for others, hold it for them while they plumb the depths of despair, hold this sanity like a rope. i can listen to whatever words they manage to throw my way.

do these words make any sense? i don’t know. i just wanted to bring something, however small and nonsensical, to this life that was norm tucker.

here is an excerpt from his last blog post. it is called the last dream and more questions

but do we give up?
do we abandon our dreams and hopes?
do we embrace ego and desire?
or does the infinite solace
of what might be, what could be, or should be
motivate us to trudge beyond everyday oblivion?

buried within the big picture is the little picture,
us – you and me – persons, people, humans,
do we count?
can we count?
what can we do in our own small way
to move us into the dream – the living dream?

rising up to end stigma

as you know, i am a proud member of the canadian mental health association. i am even prouder to announce that a participant advisory committee, that is, individuals who are using the services of the CMHA vancouver/burnaby branch, is hosting an event for people living with mental illness and those affected by it to talk about ways to fight the stigma and discrimination around mental illness. if you’re like me and get excited about grassroots initiatives, please come and visit! here is the full information

rising up to end stigma

please join us at our 2009 participants forum
tuesday november 3, 2009

this is an opportunity for individuals living with mental illness, family members and professionals
to engage in dialogue and share ideas about how we can each be involved in fighting the stigma and
discrimination associated with mental illness.

what:

a 2-hour forum with speakers and plenty of opportunity for participant feedback and idea sharing.

with complimentary snacks and beverages

when:
tuesday, november 3, 2009 – 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

where:
muti-media room
roundhouse community centre, vancouver bc
right off the new canada sky train line

featuring:
wayne cho who from may 2008 to june 2009 ran across canada to raise awareness of anxiety and depression.

andrew kellett fraser health peer mental health advocate

hosted by the CMHA VB participant’s advisory committee

please RSVP by november 2, 2009

pac.vb@cmha.bc.ca
or
604-682-3269 ext. 8479

the dalai lama in vancouver

last week i had the pleasure again to see the dalai lama. the topic of the talk was women and peacebuilding. i’d like to share with you my notes, taken down as closely as possible in his delightful language.

this is the third time i’ve seen the dalai lama. one of the things that i enjoy about these talks is that they always underscore the same message, but from a slightly different angle. also, simply being in the presence of the dalai lama (even when he falls asleep partway through the session, as he did this time, so exhausted from his super demanding schedule) is inspiring. not because he is grave and religious. he is the funniest head of state i’ve ever encountered; a trickster, really. you know that smile that he always shows? it’s the smile not only of happiness but of someone who delights in having fun and making jokes, and that comes through all the time in his talks. and like any true comedian, he is irreverent, he always looks at the status quo and says, “hmmmmmmmmmm ….”.

another thing i absolutely love about him is the ease with which he says, “i don’t know.” wouldn’t it be wonderful if more people in authority would simply say “i don’t know” when they don’t have an immediate answer to a question? no spinning, no ignoring the question and talking about something totally different, no pretending you know … so refreshing!

the quotes below reflect in a small way, i hope, the dalai lama’s commitment to compassion, his view on the role of anger, the importance he places on motivation, his urging us to take action, his deep respect for diversity, his global thinking, and his deep passion for the environment, the alleviation of poverty, and the central place of education.

the dalai lama will be back next year, i hear. we here in vancouver are very lucky to have been chosen by him as the dalai lama center for peace and education.

compassion practitioner

some anger also have role

harsh method does not mean we feel anger towards the person

anger immediate motivation

be content and still outraged

serious concern for wellbeing of humanity

anything that is harmful, you oppose

“what is your greatest fear?” “environment. gap between rich and poor, not only on international level but also on national level.”

frustration creates anger, sometimes violence

the female? good talk, i like it

they call me many things. god king, living buddha, monster, feminist – don’t matter

if no more dalai lama – no important

in case female dalai lama can be more effective – why not?

where is compassion? in the slums

media should pay equal attention to the positive things

“do you feel optimistic about the world?” “oh yes! our life starts with compassion! our life begin with lovingkindness”

this body go well with peaceful mind

we need motivation

compassion really also from the beginning to the time of death

human nature gentleness

whenever i meet young people, i give them hope and importance

peace starts within ourself. then that creates a certain atmosphere

will we be an extremist for love?

the facts should be written down, and then there will be a change in consciousness

everything tight, fear, distress: no creativity

there must be opportunity to express human potential

different country, different situation

whole world become like one community, then implement local situation – but same goal

i want to say yes to everything!

research and education very essential



image by elton melo