Posts Tagged ‘ptsd’

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MentalHealthCamp

March 22, 2010

— an unconference about Mental Health

May 28, 2010, at the Bram and Bluma Appel Salon, Toronto Reference Library

An Unconference?

Those of us with a mental illness think differently than “normal” anyways so what ever an unconference is sounds fun.  Let’s face it a traditional conference about mental health does not sound like fun at all.  Who’s up for breaking rules and tradition?

Wikipedia states that an unconference is a facilitated, participant-driven conference entered on a theme or purpose. The term “unconference” has been applied, or self-applied, to a wide range of gatherings that try to avoid one or more aspects of a conventional conference. In this case there will be no advance schedule and the outline of the day will be made up in the morning based on attendees interests on mental health.

Who is the MentalHealthCamp for?

* Mental illness indirectly affects all Canadians at some time through a family member, friend or colleague.

* 20% of Canadians will personally experience a mental illness in their lifetime.

* Mental illness affects people of all ages, educational and income levels, and cultures.

* Facts: Canadian Mental Health Association

MentalHealthCamp is for mental health professionals, people living with or past mental health problems, a family member or friend of a person with mental health problems, or has a passion or an interest in the topic. MHCTO also welcomes technophiles, change architects and all sorts of social media types.

These days many of us seem to be on all the latest social media sites and online communities and we search the internet often for information and news. Mental Health Camp’s goal is to ignite conversations around how can we use these technologies to promote better mental health and help improve the lives of people with mental health problems.

MentalHealthCamp topics may include:

• How blogging, Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks can impact people’s mental health
• Privacy in the e-health era
• How we can start early with youth to reduce stigma using tools they are comfortable with

Attendees will have the chance to jot down these or any other conversation topic on an agenda and lead or co-lead a session! Or find a topic that interests you and engage in the discussion. All your questions are valid. Please come prepared to dialogue about the future of mental health 2.0.

The age of digitization and technology enabled living is here and has catalyzed a new paradigm of participation. Please bring your ideas, questions and open minds as we work on solutions that are possible today and that we are dreaming about for tomorrow.

Ready To Sign Up?

Registration is $25 http://guestlistapp.com/events/16869

MentalHealthCamp Toronto (MHCTO) builds on the experience of the international HealthCamp movement and the first MentalHealthCamp held in Vancouver in 2009.  (MHCTO) website: mentalhealthcampto.org Twitter: @MHCTO (the organizers @CreativeFusion, @MadPsych, @nocx)

Friday, May 28 at 8:00 am ET – Toronto Reference Library – Bram & Bluma Appel Salon 789 Yonge Street Toronto, Ontario  M4W 2G8 Canada

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“My son took his own life” Andrew Koenig’s Father Confirms

February 25, 2010

Hours ago the news broke that Andrew Koenig’s body was found in Vancouver’s Stanley Park and that a press conference will be held in the area he was found at 5pm PT.  This is the news that no one wanted to hear still hoping Koenig decided to go on a solitary retreat and would be heard from soon.  Sadly, that was not the case and all our fears were confirmed today.

Koenig was last seen at a bakery near Stanley Park on February 14th.   Search and Rescue teams along with the Vancouver police searched the park on Wednesday after friends and family said that Andrew considered the 1,000 acre park a second home.  They didn’t find any clues.  Andrew’s parents flew to Vancouver on Tuesday to join the search and held a news conference the same day pleading with the public that with the craziness of the Olympics going on if everyone could just take a moment to look at the faces around them.

Understandably frustrated, 10 of Andrew’s close friends organized their own search of Stanley Park today inviting Walter and Judy Koenig along.  Split up in teams, it didn’t take long as 2 hours into the search one team found Andrew’s body and called the parents who went to the site immediately.  Koenig was found in a densely wooded area, 30 to 40 metres off a bridal path that is one of the many trails in Stanley Park.  At 5pm PT the Koenig’s and police gathered about 1 kilometer away to announce the news in a press conference.

At an obviously upsetting time, Walter Koenig  stated that his “son was obviously in a lot of pain and that he’d received 100’s of  emails from people who said they were  depressed or who had considered the same course of action, or from family’s saying they had someone who had shown signs of this behavior or who have lost members of their family because of this.”  Koenig continued holding back tears took a moment to think about what he wanted to say then said ” if you are one of those people who feel like you can’t handle it anymore “If you can learn anything from this, it’s that there are people out there who really care, and you may  not think so and ultimately it may not be enough, but  there are people who really really care and before you make that final decision, check it out again, talk to somebody.”

Koenig then pleaded “for those familys who have members who they fear may be susceptible to this situation, don’t ignore it, don’t rationalize it, extend a hand.” Andrew’s mother Judy added “Don’t rationalize away anything — connect with each other if there’s something that’s bothering you, because there’s love out there.”

Before the conference I also tried to find the good to come out of this tragedy: the fact that Andrew Koenig went missing February 14th and was not found until February 25th turned what can often be a one day story people forget about quickly into almost 2 weeks of raised awareness of suicide or major depression warning signs.  Many news outlets ran stories with real facts about mental illness and posted the long list of signs to look out for.  I hope more people than normal took the time to educate themselves and then check in with friends and family to see how they are.

I urge you to read many of the stories and resources you can find on Coming Out Of The Dark and its links to other organizations that people can turn to for help.  1 in 5 will experience depression or mental illness this year alone, we need to start those conversations that were left in the closet for so long.  Break the stigma of mental illness so those suffering feel more comfortable reaching out for help.

It’s a sad day.  I will write more later, for now let’s wish that Andrew found the peace he was looking for and that his family and friends can find comfort in the outpouring of concern we all have shown. – Diane Foy, Coming Out Of The Dark 😦

Here is a touching scene from Growing Pains about true friends saying goodbye


R.I.P.  Andrew Koenig  (1968 – 2010)

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Suicide: Common Warning Signs

February 22, 2010

Although individual motives for suicide vary, there are some common warning signs. These signs may indicate that someone is at risk or is having personal, family or school problems.

Suicides seldom occur without warning. If you are aware of common signs and of changes in behaviour, you can recognize and better help a person in crisis. These signs represent behaviors that can serve as a warning sign. The warning signs are usually physical, emotional and behavioral in nature:

Physical Signs

  • Neglect of personal appearance.
  • Sudden changes in manner of dress, especially when the new style is completely out of character.
  • Chronic or unexplained illness, aches and pains.
  • Sudden weight gain or loss.
  • Sudden change in appetite.

Emotional Clues

  • Sense of hopelessness, helplessness or futility.
  • Inability to enjoy or appreciate friendships.
  • Wide mood changes and sudden outbursts.
  • Anxiousness, extreme tension and agitation.
  • Lethargy or tiredness.
  • Changes in personality: from outgoing to withdrawn, from polite to rude, from compliant to rebellious, from well-behaved to “acting out.”
  • Loss of the ability to concentrate; daydreaming.
  • Depression, sadness.
  • Loss of rational thought.
  • Feelings of guilt and failure.
  • Self-destructive thoughts.
  • Exaggerated fears of cancer, AIDS or physical impairment.
  • Feelings of worthlessness or of being a burden.
  • Loss of enjoyment from activities formerly enjoyed.

Behavioral Signs

  • Decreased school activity; isolation. Sudden drop in achievement and interest in school subjects.
  • Loss of interest in hobbies, sports, work etc.
  • Unexplained use of alcohol or other drugs.
  • Increased use of alcohol or other drugs.
  • Withdrawal from family and former friends, sometimes acting in a manner which forces others away.
  • Changes in eating and/or sleeping habits.
  • Changes in friendship.
  • Running away from home; “skipping school.”
  • Accident proneness and increase in risk-taking behavior such as careless driving, bike accidents, dangerous use of firearms.
  • Sexual promiscuity.
  • Giving away prized possessions (e.g. CD collection).
  • Preoccupation with thoughts of death.
  • Sudden changes in personality.
  • Making a will; writing poetry or stories about suicide or death.
  • Quietly putting affairs in order, “taking care of business.”
  • Threatening suicide.
  • Hoarding pills, hiding weapons, describing methods for committing suicide.
  • Previous suicide attempts.

While all of these signs may indicate that a person is experiencing problems, the last five behavioral signs are especially significant. (These signs indicate that a decision to complete suicide may have been made.) A previous attempt is a particularly important sign. Such an attempt increases the risk of future ones. In any of the signs, the key word is CHANGE.

The symptoms of depression, including the list of “acting out” behaviors and the common warning signs for suicide are very similar. Together, they provide ways to recognize a person at risk.

Source: Government of  Saskatchewan

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Depression Information Videos

December 9, 2009
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PTSD & Suicides in Iraq

November 9, 2009