Social Media and Social Marketing

2009 April 27
by moritherapy

Here is the video version of @unsuicide’s presentation at MentalHealthCamp.

Social Media 4 Social Good from Memory on Vimeo.

Mental Health Camp Vancouver 2009 was a success!

2009 April 25
by hummingbird604

I am truly honored and blessed to have had a chance to work with Isabella Mori organizing Mental Health Camp. It was, as Isabella clearly mentioned, something magic. The descriptors I found for the event, as I mentioned in a tweet, are:
– solidarity
– inclusiveness
– love
– warmth
– understanding
– openness
– de-stigmatizing
– constructive
– learning
– community

Isabella and I are going to take a much needed short break after 2 months of hard work planning, but we want to thank sponsors, presenters, participants and volunteers. You rocked our world. You really did.

Two special shout-outs to the participants and presenters who came from out of town and even from a different country! (San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle). We are happy to report that there are at least 7 cities worldwide interested in replicating the Mental Health Camp model.

We will try to upload as much content that was shared as possible, on to the website, within the next week. We also plan to have the Replication Model Report (for those people who are interested in replicating Mental Health Camp Vancouver 2009 worldwide) available online. We appreciate, of course, all the feedback possible from the participants.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. It was a pleasure and an honor.

Mental Health Camp Vancouver 2009 is underway!

2009 April 25
by hummingbird604

Follow along the Twitter stream here.

Raul Pacheco’s keynote slides are embedded below.

Isabella Mori will be sharing her notes on mental health and social media as well on this blog.

Slides of Raul’s Keynote –

Isabella’s Notes for her Keynote (link to her original post)

here are my opening notes to MentalHealthCamp yesterday; they followed raul’s great introduction to the workings of social media. we decided that he would be the social media guy and i’d be the mental health gal. (how well raul and i worked together deserves a whole post by itself).

i managed to present most of what’s in the notes; the rest of it got substituted by slightly teary-eyed stumbled-over words about suicide.

here we go:

· 20% of canadians will personally experience a mental illness in their lifetime. that’s about 3 times the people that live in greater vancouver.
· in the US, it is estimated that every hour, three people take their own lives.
· almost 50% of those who suffer from depression or anxiety never see a health professional. for bc alone, that’s equivalent to the population of all of burnaby, all suffering in silence
· the economic cost of mental illnesses in canada is $15 billion. that is $1 more than the british columbia government is planning on spending on 88,000 jobs to stimulate the economy
· the british columbia government just cut psychiatric and mental health beds and mental health treatment programs. staff in the adult mental health division will be cut by 70 percent and the mental health advocate position was eliminated.

okay, enough of this statistical gloominess. most of us know it already anyway. we can lament it – or we can do something about it.

one of the reasons why i love cyberspace and have been fascinated with it for almost 25 years now is that it transcends. it transcends geographical boundaries, that we all know. but it transcends way more boundaries than that.

the internet is the nervous system of this planet, says the hippy internet manifesto. if that’s the case, then of course it transcends everything because it is everything. there’s no places the nervous system won’t go.

consequently, there are no places we here won’t go because we are the internet. raul and sandra and terra everyone here, we are the internet. it’s quite heady when you think of it. you know how they always say, we are the nation? well, in cyberspace that’s true in a strangely real way.

so – if we are the internet, and if we are the people who transcend, what does that mean for mental health and mental illness?

it means that the stigma that traditionally comes with mental illness does not need to be a scarlet letter anymore; we can declare this stigma a mistake that arose out of misunderstanding, and we’re amply equipped to fix it.

it means you, and most importantly i, can get the message out that depression and anxiety can often be cured, and can always be managed.

why do i say, “most importantly, i”? it’s not because i am a terribly important person in the internet but it’s because of what a famous rabbi said hundreds of years ago, “if not i, who?” i’m the most important person because i need to take responsibility.

we are all taking responsibility today. we’re ready to deal with the mistake of stigma.

we’re ready to say out loud that it’s crazy – yes, crazy – that six million canadians feel afraid of discussing an illness that’s even more common than asthma. yes, as many canadians are dealing with lung disease as are with mental illness. it’s totally ok for your daughter to bring her inhaler to school. but when your 11-year-old son wants to bring his teddy bear when anxiety hits him, people laugh.

that’s not okay!

i brought my stuffy, by the way. her name is sarah. everyone, meet sarah (that’s her in the picture above). when i feel confused or panicked in the middle of the night. i hug her.

okay … what else are we responsible for? we are, clearly, not responsible for people taking their own lives. this tragic decision is very personal and is always, always, the sole decision of the person in question.

however, most people who take their own lives are unimaginably lonely. we can bring community to people. we can be available. we can be inclusive. that’s the power of social media.

as for the ridiculous lack of financial support for people with mental illness, that’s – well, ridiculous.

the internet gives us power to speak. we can talk to the government, we can lobby – we have the power to do that. i’m not saying it’s easy, but we do have power. the rise of obama showed how the internet changed election coverage and therefore influenced election outcomes. we have this power in our hands. we can lobby and influence.

but there’s another side to it, too, and that brings me back to this conference. there’s a sense in which we don’t need the government.

remember, we are the central nervous system.

when we feel so inclined, let’s go lobby the government.

but that’s not what we’re doing right now.

i believe that what we’re doing right here is more powerful than trying to change the mind of a slow-moving government.

it took us two months, pretty much to the day, to dream up this conference and to bring you here, to this event that i’d like to humbly submit is groundbreaking, definitely the first of its kind. we didn’t need a government, we didn’t need money, we just said let’s do it and here we are.

that is the power of social media. let’s use it.

Renaming – a cure for stigma?

2009 April 24
by moritherapy

Ian sent us this very interesting link:

Impact of changing the Japanese term for “schizophrenia” for reasons of stereotypical beliefs of schizophrenia in Japanese youth

Hidehiko Takahashia, Takashi Idenoc, Shigetaka Okuboc, et al.


The old term for schizophrenia, “Seishin-Bunretsu-Byo” (Mind-Split Disease), has been replaced by “Togo-Shitcho-Sho” (Integration Disorder) in Japan. Stigma research requiring individuals to report personal beliefs is useful but is subject to social desirability bias. Using the Implicit Association Test, a measurement designed to minimize this bias, we assessed the impact of this renaming on the stereotype of schizophrenia held by a younger generation. The old term was strongly associated with “criminal”, and this association became significantly weaker with the new term. The strategy of renaming holds considerable promise for tempering negative bias toward this disorder in Japan.

Press Release About Mental Health Camp

2009 April 23
by hummingbird604

Thanks to NewsWire for distributing the Mental Health Camp Press Release!

Mental Health Camp featured in The Georgia Straight!

2009 April 23
by hummingbird604

Thanks so much to Gail Johnson of The Georgia Straight for a candid, honest and thoughtful piece on Mental Health Camp and what we are trying to accomplish here. We are very grateful. In this piece, Raul Pacheco and Terra (aka ZoeyJane) are interviewed. Both will be speaking at Mental Health Camp. Thanks again, Gail, and The Georgia Straight!


2009 April 22
by hummingbird604
7:30 – 8:25 Doors Open
8:30 – 9:10 Session wrangling
9:15 – 9:55 Isabella Mori and Raul Pacheco-Vega
Keynote: Social media and mental health
  Room 1   Room 2
10:00 – 10:55 Sandra Kiume
Mental health marketing using social media
10:00 – 11:20 Lorraine Murphy
Anonymity and pseudonymity: Freedoms, dangers and responsibilities
11:05 – 12:00 Darren Barefoot
Brainstorming Session: Forming an Online Mental Health Community
11:30 – 12:15 Taryn Gunter
Tales from a Rookie, Or, How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love to Blog
12:15 – 1:30 LUNCH
1:30 – 2:25 Keely Kolmes
Social Networking, Visibility, and the Therapeutic Alliance
1:30 – 2:50 Terra aka ZoeyJane
Stigma – Challenging Perceptions
2:35 – 3:30 Karen Quinn Fung
Mental Health and Cultural Sensitivity – Services and Stigma in Vancouver’s Ethnic Communities
3:00 – 3:30 Airdrie Miller
Error 404 – Page Not Found
3:30 – 3:45 BREAK (Coffee, mingling)
3:45 – 4:25 Isabella Mori
Blogging Ourselves Home
3:45 – 4:50 Pete Quily
ADHD – Busting the Myths, Breaking the Stigma, Showing Reality, One Post and Tweet at a Time
4:45 – 5:15 Raul Pacheco-Vega
Telling Your Personal Story via Social Media Tools as a Method to Cope with Mild Depression Associated with Academic Pressure
5:20 – 5:40 Christine Rondeau
Yoga Nidra: 10 Min Relaxation Technique for Your Brain
5:40 – 6:00 Conclusions, and next steps

Confidentiality, Anonymity, Privacy

2009 April 19

We want everyone to feel safe at MentalHealthCamp, and free to express themselves as much as possible.

To that end, Raul and I thought we should work out some ideas on confidentiality during the actual camp. First I thought I’d just quickly throw together a few ideas but as I’m doing this I really become of all the nuances that this entails.

So what I’d like to do is to propose this draft – I’d REALLY like to have some input from you! Please comment!

  • As a participant at MentalHealthCamp, please feel free to identify yourself however you wish – if you’d like to remain anonymous, no need to write down your real name on the ubiquitous “Hello My Name Is” tag (sorry, we don’t have the money for fancy lanyards 🙂
  • We will ask photographers to be mindful of the fact that some of the participants may be people who do not wish their faces to be shown in the media (that includes the internet)
  • There will be members of the mainstream media present. We will ask them to direct themselves to our lovely PR person Cathy Browne whenever possible. Cathy will then put them in touch with people who are comfortable discussing matters with mainstream media
  • If you are approached for an interview, please remember that whatever you say is your choice. You can talk freely as much as you want, you can decline, or you can get guidance from Cathy as to how to respond
  • We are hoping to record two or three sessions, ones that promise to be of a general manner where presenters and participants are likely to delve less into personal stories than in other sessions. When you participate in such a session, please be aware that you may become famous!
  • At the beginning of each session, we will remind people that a) we need to respect confidentiality wherever we can, b) social media is all about transparency, c) we will try to marry the two as best as we can and d) notwithstanding a) and c), be as careful as you need to be!

Counting Days

2009 April 18

Another guest post – this time by Jessica Doyle.

There is an immediate gratification when using social media. Simply by typing a word, phrase or sentence and hitting publish or enter one can release a thought, idea, response or inquiry into the unknown. One can release: that is the beauty of it. You can release that pent up anger, happiness, love ad nauseum. This unknown can even respond, add to or reject what you say within mere seconds or, years down the road as it’s all cached, recorded, re-hashed and echoed into the tubes. What a wondrous extension of the human psyche we are privy to these days.

I only imagined this possible in 1998 after going into remission from Chron’s disease and leaving my ex-husband shortly after in 2000 and living on my own for the first time. That option didn’t exist in 2000 for me as a print graphic designer. Social Media was a dream and blogging was in its infancy, privy only to those who knew HTML.

You begin to build a thick skin that perhaps didn’t exist offline; a protective barrier from those who are out to maim, spam or say unjust and untrue things about you. I find I carry that thick skin into real life now but prefer the comfort of home to holding a real job. The real job made me sick; made me thirst for drugs.

Eventually, that pent up emotion will focus into your own self-guided online universe and it will evolve into whatever you want it to be.

01-fallAnd yes this job of blogging, twittering, facebooking, selling on Etsy, posting to flickr and sharing my thoughts and ideas on umpteen sites is demanding, and at times I do wonder why, I continue …  simply put: I love it. It’s easy for me to do. I experience an issue, I write, research and google until I find the answer. If no answer can be found I move onto the next task and usually a few days, weeks or months later the issue presents itself again and the answer is clear. Problem solved.

This isn’t to say that working online doesn’t get frustrating. It does especially when you are learning something new. As you learn though, each new task will become less tedious and daunting to implement or forget, if in the end it doesn’t fit into what you do.

My coworkers are people I’ve never met in real life. We don’t even share the same boss, office, city or timezone for that matter but we do all work towards a better life of freedom far away from the bureaucracy of offices, collapsing economies and institutions.

01-winterThe stigma only exists if you don’t talk about it

I think the hardest thing to deal with is rejection online and it was the hardest to deal with offline to. It’s almost as difficult to deal with as elation or appreciation. The feelings are very intense with both and come on so strong at times that it’s all I can do to bear it. I take no prescription drugs having weaned myself off of the Paxil and Valium under the guidance of professionals. There is nothing to mask the emotion I feel at times and at times it does get overwhelming.

And creating daily whether it be drawing, painting, cooking, gardening, writing and even cleaning at times frees my mind of it’s past constraints and learned patterns opening up new frontiers to explore and draw inspiration from.

Limiting one’s time in forums and other social areas of the web is a good idea, too, as they will suck your time and creativity dry if you let them. I learned that the hard way. Haha! If you don’t like crowds in real life chances are you will not like them online. One on one is great. Think of it this way: you sit, write and read alone while someone else sits, types and reads alone from their screen. And escape is just a click away 😉

A quiet life does suit me best.

This isn’t to say that the odd bit of excitement or routine isn’t welcome or wanted but it does mangle my mind into rhythms less understood and more infrequently visited when life turns hectic. I made it to the top of my trade in real life and during that climb up I lost it both mentally and spiritually.

I do pay my due tax. I keep records of ingoing and outgoing business monies. I take breaks when needed. I socialize. I laugh. I live and eat healthy.

01-fallLife after Abuse

I do consume alcohol in moderation and choose to stay clear of all hard drugs. GHB (a sedative) was my nemesis, the epitome of all happiness and a cure for my *ADD, **GAD ***PTSD, trichotilomania and tendencies towards OCD. For a short period of time it was my best friend, lover, the companion who traveled everywhere safely tucked inside my purse or handbag and sipped on hourly 24/7 and nearly cost me my life on more than one occasion.

I am 1,318 days sober as of writing this. I am no longer a functioning addict but a functioning adult.

Jessica Doyle

*ADD – Attention Deficit Disorder
**GAD – Generalized anxiety Disorder
***PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

MentalHealthCamp Presentations

2009 April 15

Finally – here is the list of speakers for MentalHealthCamp.  A few things aren’t completely ironed out yet (e.g. you will see that not everyone has a length of presentation assigned to them yet) but we’re a god 95% there!

Darren Barefoot, Julie Szabo and the Mental Health Foundation of BC

Brainstorming Session: Forming an online mental health community – 55 minutes

The Mental Health Foundation of BC wants to build a pair of online communities on two particular topics: mental health in the workplace and mental health and youth. To this effect, they’ll run a brainstorming session to explore what form these communities should take, the issues they should address and the ways they should interact with the larger mental health online space.

Background: The BC Mental Health Foundation is the fundraising arm of the BC Mental Health and Addictions Agency. Their mission is to change the face of mental health by supporting breakthroughs in public understanding, research and knowledge exchange.

Darren Barefoot is a local marketer, writer and technologist. The co-founder of Capulet Communications, a web marketing firm specializing in high-tech and sustainability clients, Darren writes a blog at


Airdrie Miller

ERROR 404 Page Not Found – 30 minutes

After years of blogging about her personal story, Airdrie Miller decided to take her blog down. What she discovered by doing this is now part of her journey to mental wellness and freedom from the societal stigmatization of people with mental illnesses.

Bio: Airdrie Miller lives in Burnaby, BC. She is a highschool teacher, wife, and mother to two daughters.


Sandra Kiume

Mental health marketing using social media – 55 minutes

This session will discuss a hashtag suicide prevention experiment on Twitter (#unsuicide) and You Tube video contests that crowdsource mental health anti-stigma PSAs. What do these concepts have in common? Tagging and remixing mental health info into social media, by using new media. People are sharing their experiences and their creativity to help each other in new ways that weren’t technically possible even a few years ago. This is an ideal interactive Twitter discussion session and is intended to inspire some video makers too.

Bio: Sandra Kiume is an early adopter with over a decade of experience blogging about mental health, stigma, and psychological science research. She is a pro blogger at as well as a hobby blogger. Vlog Channel N curates brain and behaviour videos, while Twitter account @unsuicide is a unique suicide prevention peer crowdsourcing initiative. For fun, she makes animated Twitter mashup videos and moblogs discarded clothing.


Isabella Mori

Blogging Ourselves Home – 55 minutes

Blogging as writing, and writing as self expression and creativity: How can we “blog ourselves home” – to a safe, comfortable, relaxed, creative, supportive and healing place from which we can launch ourselves into the world and be brave, wise and have fun as we share our stories and ideas with hundreds and thousands of readers.

The title is reminiscent of Kimberley Snow’s workbook “Writing Yourself Home” that looks at personal growth both on an individual and societal level.

This will be done in an interactive workshop format, and will be informed in part by the writings of James Pennebaker, Kimberley Snow, Louise Desalvo and others.

Bio: Isabella Mori is one of the workshop organizers. A counsellor in Vancouver,  she helps people make a better life for themselves so that they can make the world a better place, and blogs at change therapy.


Lorraine Murphy

Anonymity and pseudonymity: Freedoms, dangers and responsibilities – 80 minutes

In this presentation I’ll discuss the postive and negative uses of pseudonymity and anonymity, its freedoms, its dangers, and its responsibilities. Indeed, in a world where new identities can be formed at the click of a button, we have a larger burden of duty than we would in one where our reputations could follow us around for the rest of our lives. As well, we will examine the principle of privacy as it applies to online activities, particularly with regard to its limitations. We will touch on role theory as well as look at some examples of sites using the concept of identity in a fluid and creative fashion.

Bio: Lorraine Murphy has been blogging for many years; her flagship blog is raincoaster.  Ms Murphy is the author of Terminal City: Vancouver’s Missing Women. As one of the cornerstone volunteers in the technical help forums, she has long experience helping beginning bloggers develop fluency and achievement online.


Pete Quily

ADHD – Busting the myths, breaking the stigma, showing reality, one post and tweet at a time – 80 minutes

Pete Quily will give an overview of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), its positive and negative sides, and some of the other conditions that often come with ADHD how it interacts with other diagnoses (e.g. Bipolar Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, etc.) He will talk about ways to deal with ADHD, famous people with ADHD, and then launch into the stigma of ADHD and its consequences. We’ll discuss

How can social media stigmatize, attack, judge, condemn and trivialize?

How can social media can be used to break the myths and stigma around ADHD and show real people’s stories?

Bio: Pete Quily is an ADHD coach in Vancouver and blogs at Adult ADD Strengths.


Karen Fung

Mental Health and Cultural Sensitivity – Services and Stigma in Vancouver’s Ethnic Communities

A discussion about the stigma of mental health in ethnic communities, language-specific mental health resources in the Lower Mainland, and mental health services provided to non-English speakers and/or immigrants.

A UBC study looked at how likely doctors from the Chinese Canadian community were to diagnose mental illness, as well as breakdowns of usage of mental health services like counselling.

The discussion will also include the experience of counselling service providers with a focus on services in languages other than English, and whether online visibility through blogging and people sharing their experiences has helped more people to be aware of and/or access their services.

Bio: Karen Quinn Fung is a community-oriented communicator based in Vancouver, B.C. with an incurable knack for combining seemingly-unrelated things in unexpected ways. A Canadian-born, Vancouver-raised youngest child of immigrants, Karen received her bachelor’s degree in Communication in 2008, focusing on the interaction of society with technology. Her latest focus is the master’s program in sustainable urban design and transportation planning at UBC.

Twitter – @counti8; blog –


Dr. Keely Kolmes

Social Networking, Visibility, and the Therapeutic Alliance – 55 minutes

How do clients and therapists feel about sharing online social spaces? Come participate in a conversation for therapists and clients alike to explore how these issues are coming up in the therapeutic relationship. This talk involves high audience participation and will provide a unique opportunity for both clients and therapists to share ideas and to explore the intersection between online space and therapy.

Bio: Keely Kolmes, Psy.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in San Francisco. She has also been a staff psychologist at Stanford University’s Counseling & Psychological Services for the past six years where she has treated students dealing with anxiety, depression, OCD, sexuality, relationships, and identity in their online and offline lives.. She is fascinated with the intra and interpersonal challenges and opportunities presented by the Web 2.0 world. Her full C.V. and blog are available on her website.  She can also be followed on Twitter as drkkolmes


Taryn Gunter, Canadian Mental Health Association, Vancouver/Burnaby Branch

Tales from a Rookie, Or, How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love to Blog – 30 minutes

Why we, as an organization, decided to get involved with blogging and other social media; the joys of lurkerhood – social media use by “regular” folks; reaching out to people who don’t the CMHA’s resources regularly; and using social media as a more organic way to be accountable to our participants, to the community, and to each other.

Background: CMHA Van/Bby has a track record of developing many of the most innovative and effective new approaches to realing with mental illness available in the community today. Its response to the crisis of mental illness ranges from prevention, education, and information services, right through to rehabilitation and community support to those recovering from mental illness.


Terra aka @zoeyjane

Stigma – Challenging Perceptions – 80 minutes

Stigma is only present when we let it be.

Terra will speak about her experience as a mommy blogger who struggles with mental health issues, and the real-life consequences of that.

Because she is outspoken, she is known in some circles as a ‘real’ blogger and writer, one of the few moms who are blatantly honest about the struggles of parenting with mental illness (or hell, even with toddlers), and the ways we cope. She is often someone people feel comfortable letting their demons out to, or to ask for advice from.

Terra will ask questions like, what does a person with bipolar disorder (supposedly) act like? What is a mommy blogger? Does someone with bipolar disorder have the ability to parent?

She’ll delve a little into her own history and will give examples of other mommy bloggers who are “out” about living with mental illness.

Talking about mental illness is starting to become accepted now, not something to hide, in shame, as it was even three years ago. Even in the momosphere.

Bio: Terra is a Vancouver-based freelance writer and blogger. A single mother with a string of diagnoses in her past, she thrives in the beautiful West End with her two year old daughter. Her blog is Mommy Is Moody


Christine Rondeau

Give your brain a rest with Yoga Nidra – 15 minutes

Our brains are constantly on the go, thinking, worrying, dwelling on past events and sometimes focusing too much on the negative. Wouldn’t it be great if you could give your brain a break and it to be more positive? Yoga Nidra can do just that and all you need is 10 minutes. Even better is the fact that you can do this sitting down while listening to your iPod. In this short demonstration, we’ll take you through a very brief session to show you how great it can make you feel.

Bio: Christine Rondeau has been practicing yoga for over 5 years. Initially focused on healing a physical injury, she soon realized that the mental benefits were quite substantial. She now maintains a regular yoga “diet” that keeps her sane and happy. Christine’s online home is at Blue Lime Media


Raul Pacheco

Telling Your Personal Story via Social Media Tools as a Method to Cope with Mild Depression Associated with Academic Pressure

I am an academic, although I claim no knowledge of mental illness. However, there have been a few instances during my academic career that I have felt down, maybe even depressed. I started blogging as a diversion, a distraction and now I can safely say that when I am having even a very mild case of depression, I use social media tools as a coping mechanism. I am going to share my story in hopes that it may encourage those who feel the pressure of academic success to release frustrations and/or deal with depression via blogging/twittering.

Bio: Dr. Raul Pacheco-Vega (PhD, The University of British Columbia) is a Vancouver-based educator, researcher and consultant in the field of environmental policy, who happens to blog. He has 3 years of experience sharing his day-to-day life in Vancouver and is passionate about de-stigmatizing issues associated with mental health. He also firmly believes that sharing one’s story is just one of the many pathways to alleviate depression and other similar mental ills.