Tag Archives: #mentalhealth

CAMH Receives $100 Million Anonymous Donation

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In case you’re like me and generally pretty cynical about the intentions of most people, we are both wrong on this day. Oh, so very, very wrong.

An anonymous donor has just done something staggering – He/She/They has just donated $100 million to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Canada’s leading treatment and research centre for mental health and addiction.

And they don’t want to be named! Who the what the saints and angels!

Per the article in the Toronto Star, “A donor is giving a record $100 million to CAMH — and doesn’t want to be named“:

The donation was given to support research into mental illnesses, which affect some 6.7 million Canadians and are the leading cause of disability on earth.

The donation…will support the recruitment and retention of top scientists and encourage them to take chances with their research.

“In order to enable quantum leaps forward, this gift will also support high-risk, high-reward research,” the donor said.

Miracles really do happen and there are such things as real-life saints.



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Stigma: The Mental Health App

There really is an app for everything! One of the newer ones in town is Stigma, what Christopher Capps over @dailypocketnews described as “the new app from Stigma Inc: the mental health journal that you can carry with you everywhere you go.”

It’s totally anonymous and essentially comes down to this:

“Users select a mood describing how they are feeling (from a list of moods), then they write a 200-character journal entry describing ‘why, what, who, where’ was causing them to feel that way.”

My thanks to mymessedupmind.blog, who posted on the app and wrote a very candid review of it.

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Mental Health Alert: Christmas Music

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This is frickin’ you on Xmas music for 55 days straight. (P.S. Thanks, Andy!)

I effin’ love IFLScience. In a piece titled “Christmas Music Could Harm Your Mental Health,” the good folks there explain why Christmas music can screw us up. Like, screw us up bad to quite bad.

Now, can someone please pass this memo on to stores that insist on playing the stuff 24/7 from November 1 onwards?

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AI, Suicide & Mental Health Initiatives

Image result for mri of the brain

As regular visitors to my site will know, I am passionate about the subject of mental health, especially when it comes to better understanding it and exploring ways to combat/solve/help/address (not sure of the best verb here) it.

I suppose one could argue that suicide is the most extreme – and troubling – form of mental health problems/issues/dilemmas (again, a semantics question). As someone I met years ago once stated ever-so bluntly: “If you think you know what rock bottom is, think again. Rock bottom is death.”

Writing for @futurism, Dom Galeon posted a piece titled “Machine Learning Is Aiding in the Fight Against Mental Illness” that is equal measure “morning call” (as they say in Korean) and equal measure bastion of hope.

Per the article:

“[A] team of researchers from several institutions including Carnegie Mellon University and Harvard University developed a machine learning algorithm trained to understand neural representations of suicidal behavior, and it works with a regular functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).”

The evidence can be seen in these images:

Image result for mri of the brain, suicidal thoughts

So, why, you might ask, is it critical to rely more heavily on AI for identifying suicidal tendencies? Because of this:

“At present, the best way to anticipate suicidal behavior is to directly ask a person if he’s ever thought about it. However, that’s not entirely accurate, as studies have shown that almost 80 percent of people who committed suicide denied having had suicidal tendencies during their last appointment with a mental health professional. This new algorithm can help address this issue.”

Even science has its limitations, though. As Dr. Marcel Just from Carnegie Mellon puts it,

“It would be nice to see if we could possibly do this using EEG, if we could assess the thought alterations with EEG. It would be enormously cheaper. More widely used.”

But, Dr. Just adds,

“If somebody didn’t want others to know what they are thinking, they can certainly block that method. They can not cooperate. I don’t think we have a way to get at people’s thoughts against their will.”

Thus, it’s still up to us as friends, family members, colleagues, loved ones, and humane humanoids to reach out in the oldest way possible: by talking; by listening; and by empathizing with, not judging, others in their time of need.

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The Letters of Sylvia Plath


And still she speaks to us.

Her editors in New York knew exactly what they were doing with this book design. Just as the Instagram campaign highlighted recently, what you see on the outside is rarely what’s happening on the inside. Look at this beautiful blonde woman, the cover beckons us. Striking debutante? Swimsuit model? New wife and mother who has already “recovered” to her perfect form?

Nope. That’s the face of someone who put her head in an oven while her kids were in their bedrooms and killed herself from carbon monoxide poisoning.

More than 50 years after her death, Parul Sehgal (@parul_sehgal) reviews what may the most intimate look at the famed poet and writer in “Sylvia Plath’s Letters Reveal a Writer Split in Two.”

The title of the tome (1,388 pages), edited by Peter K. Steinberg and Karen V. Kukil, is The Letters of Sylvia Plath Volume 1: 1940-1956, so you can expect a second volume soon, I imagine.

While works like The Bell Jar are seen as semi-autobiographical, and her poetry now described as “confessional,” there’s no doubt that in these letters Plathophiles will see a side to a woman who has come to represent all that was wrong with mental health diagnosis in the past, especially when it came to depression.

In light of #WorldMentalHealthDay yesterday – and with Plath’s legacy still as strong as ever – hopefully these letters will illuminate parts to her past that have remained hidden up until now, shedding new light on awareness about mental health.

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