Monday, June 21, 2010

~Mental Health Monday Guest Blogger~

Very proud to be introducing Isabella to you. We met on twitter where she tweets as @MoriTherapy

Thanks for the opportunity to be a guest on this great blog!

This is my second attempt at writing this article. The first one, 99% finished, was eaten by the computer gremlins. It’s 9:00pm on Father’s Day and I really wanted to hang out with my husband.

There was a time when this would have driven me around the bend. My brain would have gone in overdrive, and I would have been so confused that I would have run away – to the food, under the covers, to a two-hour telephone conversation, anything but to face this frustration and my squirrelly mind going berserk. If this would have happened in addition to a few more things like that, it could have triggered an episode of depression. I’m not saying I won’t be triggered like that ever again – I’m just grateful that’s not happening right now.

Instead, this is step #176 (or something, I’ve lost count) in preparation for Mental Health Camp, the third (un)conference about the intersection between mental health and social media – things like this blog, facebook or twitter. You can read all about it here.

My friend Raul and I started organizing Mental Health Camp almost on a lark; it was one of those spontaneous ideas that sometimes start an avalanche. The impetus came from a presentation by Airdrie Miller, Tod Maffin and I did at the 2009 Northern Voice conference, Vancouver’s annual blogging and social media conference. Exactly two months after the idea was born, the first Mental Health Camp happened in Vancouver in April of 2009. Since then, another one was held in Toronto on May 27, 2010, and the one we’re preparing for is on July 10. 2010.

What’s so cool about Mental Health Camp? It’s an opportunity for people of all walks of life to come together. Mental health professionals, people who live with mental illness or are affected by it through loved ones, writers, people simply interested in the topic – everyone comes together on an equal level to explore how to talk about mental health and mental illness in a way that is respectful, interesting and, most of all, does away with stigma. Both in Toronto and Vancouver we took great care to make this a grassroots event where nobody is “better” or “crazier” or fill-in-the-blanks-er than anyone else. We take great care to make the atmosphere supportive and conversational; no “How to wipe out anxiety in 10 easy steps” or speeches from ivory tower academics talking down to people who often know more than the experts.

Topics vary widely. For July 10, the line-up so far includes an online blog talk show about art therapy, a journalist talking about his upcoming bicycle trip for mental health, and Amy Kiel leading a virtual discussion on the weekly mental health social media chat on Twitter which happens every Tuesday at 6pm PST.

Can’t come to Vancouver? For this, the third Mental Health Camp, we are planning to shepherd a vibrant Twitter discussion throughout the conference. Just follow the #mhcyvr10 hashtag throughout the day. Not on Twitter? Here’s a great intro on Youtube, and this here explains hashtags, which are little codes that easily help you track a discussion.

Ok, now I’ll go back to celebrate the last hour of Father’s Day with my husband. Let me check my brain – nope, it’s still not on fire. And you know what? That’s thanks, at least in part, to the wonderful support I get from others. Because I’m so blessed with support, I’m happy to pass it on – and that’s what Mental Health Camp is all about: support, inspiration and erasing stigma.

Isabella Mori has worked in the mental health and counselling field for over 18 years. She lives in Vancouver, Canada and blogs about psychology, spirituality, creativity and social justice.


isabella mori said...

Thanks again for inviting me to be a guest, and to talk about this exciting event. I hope many of your readers will join us on twitter!

AmyK said...

I am so looking forward to participating in this event. I can't think of anything better than getting together (virtually or IRL) with like-minded individuals to support one another, raise awareness and help to erase stigma.
Thanks for creating this amazing forum for the mental health community!

Melissa Mashburn said...

I really enjoyed learning more about this camp. I had seen your tweets about it and was curious about it. Since I am working on trying to be a more organized person, depression really affects my memory, I am going to do a sticky note on my computer so I can remember the details and follow ya'll on twitter during the conference chat thing.

isabella mori said...

Amy, I'm super stoked that you will be part of this, and Melissa, it will be great to have you participate virtually!

Kris said...

Thank YOU for all you do. I wish I could be at the mental health camp in person. Since I can't I, too, will be following along on twitter

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