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.

University Peer Health Engagement Workshop

This past weekend I was at the Toronto Peer Health Network’s annual symposium to facilitate a workshop on peer engagement. There were around 60 student leaders in the workshop who run peer health education programs at universities and colleges around Toronto. They’re working with their peers right around the age when all sorts of mental and physical health issues can emerge on top of learning to live independently and start a career–it’s a complex time for behavior change and difficult to

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Five big take-aways from MedX 2015

Stanford’s Medicine X conference was definitely the best health-related event of any kind I’ve ever attended. Launched by Dr. Larry Chu and an incredible group of collaborators a couple of years ago, it has grown into a special experience bringing together patients, healthcare practitioners, researchers, and technology companies to create change around major healthcare challenges that affect all of us. There were many ideas and experiences from MedX that had a big impact on me but for the sake of keeping this article relatively

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Counselor Troi is not Scalable

In anticipation of this year’s Medicine X Conference, some reflections on one of the stickiest problems in mental healthcare innovation… In less than a month, the Medicine X and Medicine X | Ed conferences will kick-off in Palo Alto, exploring the intersections of emerging technologies, healthcare, and design, with an emphasis on empowering patients to be active, driving forces in their care. I’ll be participating in the conferences as an ePatient Delegate to share my experiences using technology to support

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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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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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