So you want to work in mental health…

I was part of a panel discussion at the University of Toronto recently on community engagement work in the mental health sector. It was exciting to see so many people interested in working in mental health. The questions and comments from the audience made it clear that they understood the need for patient-centered innovation and they wanted to create change in the sector. But with innovation, there’s turmoil, in any industry. So here are five things to consider if you’re looking at

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There are no OCD sub types or themes. Only OCD (and llamas).

It’s very popular in OCD patient communities, and in mental health communities in general, to get stuck on labeling superficial symptoms. But it becomes just another way to practice the judging and categorizing and discriminating that can fuel so many compulsions. A more effective approach to support recovery from OCD is to understand (and eliminate) the compulsive patterns of thinking and behaving beneath any symptom. This might be easier to understand by looking at the sub type of OCD that is, without

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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!

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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Mental Illness is Like Drowning (video)

When I say that mental illness is like drowning and building better mental health is like learning how to swim, I’m not suggesting that mental illnesses aren’t real biological experiences. Drowning is a very biological experience. If we took some guy that doesn’t know how to swim and pushed him off the side of a boat into deep water, he’s going to have a very stressful experience. It’s going to be distressing and traumatic — for him and for those watching. He’s

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Help won’t always come in the way you want it to.

Receiving or providing mental health treatment requires significant amounts of tolerance and acceptance on every side of the equation (and it’s an equation with many sides). When seeking treatment, we can often trip over our judgments and let our short-term likes and dislikes become massive barriers to what’s going to make us happy in the long-term and get us to where we actually want to go in life. Likewise, when we’re helping others, it can be very difficult to see

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