Alley Health Fair

2011 September 12
by moritherapy

Hello everyone! Even though we didn’t do Mental Health Camp in the summer, we haven’t been completely lazy. In July, during Mad Pride Month, we did a little workshop at Gallery Gachet (topic: reCovering Beauty). And this coming Thursday September 15 on Hastings Street between Main and Columbia, we will proudly participate at the Alley Health Fair in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. The Alley Health Fair is

A celebration of healthy living and nutrition in the Downtown Eastside, from hair cuts to HIV testing, from blood pressure to pedal-powered smoothies

The Alley Health Fair wants to increase awareness of healthy living possibilities among DTES residents.

Mental Health Camp will be share a big table with the Canadian Mental Health Association, Vancouver Burnaby Branch. We’ll do everything to make the experience fun, interactive and informative. Ideas we have include mental health messages by participants and by people on the internet, videos (showing them and making them) and … something with a smiley face on it … come and see, and you’ll find out!

No Mental Health Camp Vancouver 2011 – hopefully in 2012!

2011 June 10
by hummingbird604

This year has been incredibly tough on both Isabella and I. We’ve been facing a number of challenges that, despite the help we’ve been extended (thanks, JP and Terra, and those who answered my call for volunteers), make us believe it’s best to not organize Mental Health Camp Vancouver this year.

It was a hard decision for us. Mental Health Camp has been a labour of love and an important project for us, and we don’t want to discontinue it. But as I told Isabella, I felt that organizing MHCV 2011 would have compromised my own mental health, by overextending my capabilities and adding stress to my life. Ironic, eh?

We thank everyone who has wanted to get involved with the project and we hope that 2012 will be a better year for us to be able to organize Mental Health Camp again.

Isabella and Raul

Storifying Mental Health

2011 June 1
by admin

There are all sorts of twitter aggregators out there; the one I like right now is Storify.  I just pulled together a number of mental health stories on twitter and storified them; unfortunately, I can’t get the embedding to work.  Here, then, is simply a link to it:

Call for speakers Mental Health Camp Vancouver 2011

2011 May 29

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.

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 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.

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 9:30am to 5:00 pm, at Vancouver’s Gallery Gachet at 88 East Cordova street .

Mental Health Camp Recaps

2010 July 22
by moritherapy

Looking for recaps of Mental Health Camp on July 10?  Raul has all the links.

Ride don’t Hide – Biking for Mental Health

2010 July 8
by moritherapy

This summer, Mental Health Camp speaker Michael Schratter will be kick-starting a cycling circumnavigation of the globe to fight the stigma surrounding mental illness. A social columnist/teacher/superhero, Michael will document every step of his voyage with help from his blog, twitter, facebook, smoke signal and carrier pigeon. In addition to cranking up awareness around the world and educating youth in every continent, Michael will be donating all proceeds to the Canadian Mental Health Association.

More than drinking, more than drugs, more than crime or cancer, suicide is now the second leading cause of death in Canadians 15-24 years old. On Sunday August 1, 2010, Michael Schratter, a Vancouver teacher and social columnist will embark on a one year global journey, cycling 40,000 km, crossing 6 continents and 30 countries, in an effort to bring awareness to mental illness and help shatter the stigmas that surround it. All gross proceeds raised during the campaign will go to the Canadian Mental Health Association BC Division.

From the road, Michael will be sharing his story and those of others, talking to students and the public to open the discussion of mental health in classrooms. “Canada’s youth suicide rate is already the third highest in the industrialized world” says Michael. “We must do everything we can to ensure these kids have solid support networks and above all, a sense of freedom to discuss mental health.”

Documenting his travels through the campaign blog along with twitter and facebook, followers will be able to witness first-hand every crack and cranny of this grueling expedition. “As much as the blog is to document my progress, above all it’s a platform for people to break their own silence,” says Schratter. “Creating a safe place for people to take a stand, and share their own struggles is the first step in empowering those affected by mental illness. Through education and understanding we can strip the stigma” he finished.

As someone who understands the pain and debilitating fear of discrimination that accompanies mental illness, Michael has vowed to do his part to help dispel the misconceptions from which stigma arises. In a campaign to rid the shame and bring reassurance to those affected, this endeavor is more than cycling trip; it is an international movement for personal rights.

Raising awareness, expectations, and funds, Michael Schratter will help shatter the stigma that is literally killing our youth.

(From Pamela Groberman’s press release)

Official Program for the 2nd Vancouver Mental Health Camp

2010 July 6
by moritherapy

Following is the program of the 2nd Vancouver Mental Health Camp on July 10, 2010. Please note that there may be last minute changes.

Mental Health Camp is organized by Dr. Raul Pacheco-Vega and Isabella Mori.

Many thanks to our volunteers, on and offline!

Many thanks also to our sponsors:

Freelance Camp Vancouver 2010
Development Disabilities Association of British Columbia
Cosmic Blend
ROI Studios
Wilcox PR
Cathy Browne

Volunteers will be recognized by their bandanas.

All media must first register with our media concierge, Cathy Browne.

Confidentiality: While our media concierge will communicate with the media that they need to take great care to respect anonymity where desired, we are unable to guarantee it. Please take precautions as you see fit. Please discuss any questions you may have about this with Cathy Browne.

Social Media Users and Public Media Representatives: Please treat participants’ anonymity with utmost respect and only identify people who give clear indications that they wish to be identified.

Twitter Presence: We have volunteers who are gently shepherding the twitter stream. Our hashtag is #mhcyvr10. Our moderators are mhcmod1, mhcmod2 and mhcmod3.

Self Care: Please take care of yourself during this conference. Go for a walk, give yourself some quiet time, breathe. If you need a bit of a sounding board, please see Jael in the specially marked “Quiet Room” area.


Raul Pacheco and Isabella Mori

Arts Based Advocacy
Jay Peachy

The role of Art in therapy needs continuous awareness. Can art therapy be used for advocacy? J Peachy shares his personal journey in creativity and showcases some of his initiatives. Through ‘Sound Therapy Radio’ he brings people into the conversation. Guests share stories from their perspective on Arts and Mental Health.


J Peachy, a collective member at Gallery Gachet, is an arts based advocate for mental health. He saw his art as a means for survival in dealing with his challenges with Bi-Polar Disorder.
twitter: Soundtherapyrad
FACEBOOK: Sound Therapy Radio

What it would take to go public with having ADHD? ADHD adults answer this question.
Pete Quily
Room 1

Pete says: “One reason people with mental health conditions get stigmatized is few go public about their condition, speak out and reduce stigma. I did a survey asking what would it take for ADHD adults to go public with ADHD and got 70 responses. Let’s discuss the answers and implications.

Pete Quily is a professionally trained Adult ADHD coach, speaker, blogger and ADHD advocate. He leads the Vancouver Adult ADD Support Group. This will be his 2nd talk at Mental Health Camp.


Focusing and Natural Process Action Steps
Katarina Halm

1.The tale of Bradley the Engineer: how we learn to recognize our own best next steps.
2. Focusing and Change: allowing growth to emerge from “abiding with” our experience.
3. Group exercise: discovering Focusing’s famous Felt Sense.

Katarina’s background includes community psychotherapy with R.D.Laing, M.A. Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, teaching Inner Relationship Focusing in the tradition of Eugene Gendlin, Ann Weiser Cornell, and Barbara Mc Gavin.

Coffee Break, sponsored by Developmental Disabilities Association

Ripping the scab off through writing
Steffani Cameron

Shame keeps us all victims. Secrecy prevents healing. “If writing hurts, leaves me nauseous at the prospect of publishing, I know it’s what others need to read.” Steff’s goal is to leave listeners understanding the why and how of it, and wanting to reach for that same healing from openness.

Steffani has been blogging since 2004, chronicling a dramatic reversal of writers’ block and going into and coming out of depression. “Blogging’s cheaper than therapy, lasts longer than masturbation. What’s not to love?”

“Digital Self Outing” – How I use social media to reduce stigma a voice for others who are not ready to share”
Steven Schwartz
Room 1

After being open about his Bipolar disorder for years, Steven started blogging this year, discussing what impact his openness has had on his life and others. He is also interested in talking about how social media can move the Mad Pride movement forward.

Steven is a TV journalist and has spoken on Radio and TV about mental illness.

Twitter: eatsshootsedits


MHSM chat
Amy Kiel
Room 1

In this virtual session, Amy discusses creating the weekly Mental Health Social Media Chat (#mhsm) on Twitter and how it can be used a global forum. #mhsm is a means for professionals, activists, physicians, students, supporters and consumers alike to share their voice, collect ideas, and make a difference.

Amy is an advocate and a health activist, and has struggled with mental health issues herself. She has an education in psychology and has worked on a psychiatric unit.

twitter: abeeliever


Covenant House’s blog “On the House”
Michelle Clausius

Michelle discusses how this blog helps break the silence around youth mental health issues through self expression and openness regarding mental illness. The young peoples` comics, poetry and photography have allowed Covenant House to spread the word about the prevalence of mental illness among youth while helping them to be heard.

Michelle Clausius is the Associate Director of Development & Communications at Covenant House Vancouver. Michelle has only recently dipped her toes into the social media pool.



LUNCH catered by Lunchbox Catering

Director Ken Paul Rosenthal screens the film “Crooked Beauty”

“Extreme sadness and sensitivity is not an illness, but a part of human experience to be explored with creativity and compassion”. The poetic documentary Crooked Beauty chronicles artist-activist Ashley McNamara’s transformative journey from childhood abuse to psych ward patient to pioneering mental health advocacy. She survived an alcoholic mother and battled substance-abuse issues when diagnosed as ‘bipolar’ at age 19 and incarcerated. Determined to overturn the stigmas around madness and develop authentic healing models for individuals diagnosed ‘mentally ill’, she co-founded The Icarus Project, a support network and grassroots media project. Ashley’s quest is to live with courage and dignity, and to critique standard psychiatric treatments.

“Escape from Bummer Island – Imagining A Mental Health Adventure Game”
Room 1

Fun and Play are overlooked pathways back to healthy fulfilling living. What if computer game marathons were a game that actually helped bring people out of depressive episodes? How could we create a Farmville or Foursquare of mental health?

AJ Grew up in Toronto, did his undergrad at Princeton, has lived in London, Sao Paulo, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. He has had depression since he was 10 years old. He works as a leadership coach and facilitator.

Blog –
Youtube – DepressionTribe

Removing the Split
Terra Attrill, Steffani Cameron, Steven Schwartz and Catherine Omega

Stigma surfaces anywhere, suggesting those with mental health issues should live double-lives: one where they seek wellness, another where they put on a happy face, silently suffering. What happens when we remove the split online, and become open about our struggles? Four panelists discuss their experiences, being ‘out’, and answer questions about how their lives have been affected.

Panelists: Terra Attrill (@zoeyjane), Steffani Cameron (@smuttysteff), Steven Schwartz (@eatsshootsedits) and Catherine Omega (@catherineomega) present their experiences as being ‘out’ about various forms of mental illness such as bipolar disorder, eating disorders, ADD, and post-partum depression.


Overcoming Obstacles: Social Media Meets the Healthcare Practice Community
Sean Cranbury
Room 1

Can we develop a ‘networked approach’ to patient care? Can we overcome reservations among decision-makers and change policy and culture within traditional institutions? What stories can we share that will help to show the power of social media in this context?

Sean Cranbury is a Vancouver-based communications/social media integration consultant working with arts organizations and non-profits. He is host and curator of Books on the Radio.

Twitter: @seancranbury

It’s not about Mental Illness
Isabella Mori

What ails our world is not the insanity of schizophrenia or addiction, it’s the insanity of global destruction. Isabella will make a connection between corporate dysfunction that facilitates disasters such as BP and Bhopal, and how this insanity might be lessened by the mental health expertise on the part of people with mental illness.

Isabella Mori is the co-founder of Mental Health Camp. A counsellor, she blogs about psychology, creativity, spirituality and social justice and occasionally deals with faulty wiring in her brain.

twitter: moritherapy


Coffee sponsored by Development Disabilities Association

Ride Don’t Hide – A Journalist Goes on a Bicycle Tour to Raise Awareness of Mental Health
Michael Schratter

Michael Schratter is about to embark on his 16-year-old goal: a one-year cycling trip around the world to create awareness, shatter the stigmas surrounding mental health and raise money for the Canadian Mental Health Association. He’ll talk about his adventure and how social media is going to make his trip more powerful.

Michael, a teacher and journalist for Vancouver’s 24 Hours, is an avid cyclist. Michael is also bipolar.

Room 1 & Atrium

Ending Keynote

CMHA Community Bike Ride a Success

2010 June 27

Here are a few pictures from the Community Bike Ride organized by the Canadian Mental Association (Vancouver/Burnaby Branch) today. Despite the intermittent drizzle and rain, there was a good turnout, and the fundraising goal was met. Here are a few pictures, the first of them of a team from Mandell Pinder, the law firm that works exclusively in the area of aboriginal rights. They were the main sponsors, followed by Xerox and Desjardins and others.

CMHA Community Bike Ride June 2010

CMHA Community Bike Ride june 2010

CMHA community bike ride June 2010

Sponsors: @604freelancers & @thenetworkhub

2010 June 18
by hummingbird604

I am privileged to be part of The Network Hub community. It is a vibrant, energetic and talented group of folks who, for the most part, work on their own (are entrepreneurs and/or freelancers). A few weeks back, Minna Van, Jay Catalan, John Van, and their team (Yvonne Lum and Monica Kim) organized FreelanceCamp Vancouver 2010, the first-ever incarnation of FreelanceCamp in Canada, as far as I know.

When I mentioned to Minna that we were still looking for sponsors, she consulted with her organizing team and suggested that “they could pay it forward”. That is, FreelanceCamp Vancouver 2010 would sponsor Mental Health Camp Vancouver 2010 so that we can reduce the admission fee from $25 to $10 per participant. Everything we collect from MHCYVR10 will go, in turn, to another charity. That’s our version of “Paying It Forward”.

Both Isabella and I (and particularly, myself) are very grateful to FreelanceCamp Vancouver 2010 and The Network Hub for sponsoring Mental Health Camp Vancouver 2010.

About FreelanceCamp Vancouver

An unconference style event for independent workers to connect, share knowledge, and become better freelancers.

The Network Hub

About The Network Hub

The Network Hub mission is to become a catalyst for early stage companies to graduate into venture capital ready companies. Start-ups and entrepreneurs can capitalize on the experience, skills and networks that The Network Hub to provide to streamline development and accelerate commercialization of idea.

Official Press Release for Vancouver’s 2010 Mental Health Camp

2010 June 17
by moritherapy

Vancouver’s Second Annual MentalHealthCamp Scheduled for July 10th

Ground-Breaking ‘Un-conference’ to Examine How Social Media Can Help Eradicate Stigma, Combat Discrimination

VANCOUVER, BC, June 15, 2010 – An estimated 20% of Canadians will personally experience some form of mental illness in their lifetime, with anxiety and depression being the leading challenges. Most Canadians have been touched by mental illness through a friend or family member. Yet mental illness is still a topic many people are silent about. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness present a serious barrier, not only to diagnosis and treatment, but also to acceptance in the community.

MentalHealthCamp is a unique ‘un-conference’ dedicated to using social media to combat this stigma. Introduced in Vancouver in April 2009, and held for the first time in Toronto this May, Vancouver’s second annual MHC, under the banner “Breaking our Silence. Setting us Free.” will be held at the UBC Aquatic Ecosystem Research Laboratory (AERL), located at 2202 Main Mall on the UBC campus from 8am-6pm on Saturday, July 10th, 2010.

“Keeping silent about mental illness and mental health diminishes their importance, fosters misunderstanding, and severely hampers sufferers who are in urgent need of counseling and treatment. We’re very excited to be providing a forum where these challenges can be discussed and overcome,” said Dr. Raul Pacheco-Vega, an environmental scientist and MentalHealthCamp co-founder. He and Isabella Mori, a psychotherapist and writer, are well-respected bloggers in Vancouver and avid users of social media tools including Twitter and Facebook.

“It is gratifying to see how quickly social media has helped so many people break down the barriers associated with mental illness by simply talking to and receiving support from others,” said Mori.
“One example is the weekly Mental Health Social Media chat on Twitter that brings activists, therapists and people with mental health issues together. This is unprecedented on a global level.”

Topics and talks to happen at MentalHealthCamp include (but are not limited to):

– Conversations around how to deal with discrimination within and beyond the mental health community.

– Discussions on how blogging helped a group of youngsters cope with mental illness.

– A live session with award-winning online radio show host Jay Peachy on using the arts for healing and advocacy in mental health.

– A session by blogger and “24 Hours Vancouver” journalist Michael Schratter about his international bicycle journey for mental health.

– A panel on the pros – and cons – of speaking out about mental illness/health.

In addition to a number of scheduled speakers, MentalHealthCamp’s un-conference model will allow for attendees to offer impromptu sessions. There will also be a ‘quiet room’ and counseling for people who need to take some time out. “We don’t just talk about mental health; we walk the talk and promote it,” said Dr. Pacheco-Vega. “Every effort will be made to ensure the comfort and anonymity of every attendee should they wish to remain anonymous.”

Registration to MentalHealthCamp is limited to 75 people. Admission is $25[Thanks to the sponsorship of Freelance Camp Vancouver 2010 we are able to reduce the admission fee to $10] but no-one will be turned away for lack of funds.

“This is a volunteer-driven, grass-roots event,” added Mori. “We are very grateful to UBC for donating space for the event, and thank our volunteers for stepping up and making this possible.”