The City of Brains Project

Over at the CivicTechTO meetups, I’ve started up a project with a bunch of awesome volunteers to tackle a simple question: How do you find effective, accessible mental health services in Toronto? The answers, however, have been anything but simple. Each answer typically comes in the form of a story. And we’re finding that these are stories full of hope, frustration, tragedy, failure, success, challenges, kindness, inequality, complexity, barriers, and perseverance.

So you think you can’t recover from mental illness… (video)

Ruminating on reasons you can’t recover because your symptoms are different or you have very unique circumstances that prevent you from moving forward… is one of the most common symptoms. You’ll always be able to think of reasons why you can’t cut out compulsions, why you need to keep doing unhealthy things right now, why some other time in the future is going to be a much better time for recovery–our brains are so imaginative!

Beliefs, judgments, desires, compulsions…

When we’re struggling with mental illness, it’s often the compulsions that get all of the focus, both when we’re trying to figure out what’s going on and when we’re getting treatment. Many disorders are defined only by the superficial characteristics of the compulsions they’re engaging in when they show up to get a diagnosis. But the coping, checking, and controlling compulsions we engage in are a tiny part of a much bigger system. If you don’t learn address the beliefs

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Don’t make unhappiness a prerequisite for happiness

When we’re struggling with mental health issues, they can come become a filter that defines how we see the world. We can’t imagine seeing it any other way. Everything revolves around the mental health challenges and we begin to rely on them. We can start to believe that not feeling anxiety means we don’t care about our loved ones, or not feeling jealous rage means we’re not actually in the “right” relationship, or not feeling the discomfort of craving means

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How to Deal with Intrusive Thoughts (video)

When it comes to dealing with horrible, weird, upsetting, terrifying intrusive thoughts or whatever else your brain is throwing up when you’re struggling with mental illness, learning to practice accepting the stuff in your head and shifting your focus to doing the things that will actually make you healthy, can stop the struggle in your head.

Mental Health Service Collaboration Across Sectors and Agencies

I recently attended a workshop discussing cross-sectoral collaboration amongst mental health service providers in Ontario. As a former Executive Director of a mental health services agency, and as a consumer of mental health services, I think it’s very necessary that we improve our collaboration skills. And when it comes to improving collaboration, I suggest we look to restaurants as our guide. I wrote about this on Medium:   COLLABORATE LIKE A RESTAURANT

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