NHBPM – We Need To Bring Mental Health And Mental Illness Out From The Shadows

Welcome. This post is part of the WEGO Health National Health Blog Post Month (NHBPM) challenge for November, 2012.

Mental health is a subject that still lurks in the shadows. It is slowly creeping out into the light. Mental health and mental illness are still only whispered by many, if at all. But, some of those whispers are turning into shouts that demand everyone’s attention. We must accept that mental health is just as important as physical health. If you are living with mental illness, you need to know they you are not alone. If a friend or family member has a mental illness, it’s time to learn as much about the illness as you can.

Every day personal stories and blogs, celebrity interviews, tv specials and mental health web sites bring us more information and more understanding about mental health and mental illness. For today’s prompt about mental health, I have chosen three different ways to become informed and to show others that they are not alone.

First is a TED video featuring comedian Ruby Wax who asks “How come every other organ in your body can get sick and you get sympathy, except the brain?”.

Next is the web site for Canadian independent registered charity Partners for Mental Health.  According to their Who We Are page, their goal is to:

In partnership with others, we will empower and mobilize Canadians to take action that will:

  • Encourage people to pay more attention to their own mental health and well-being.
  • Positively change attitudes and behaviours towards those living with mental health problems or illnesses.
  • Help change policies to improve the mental health system.
  • Increase funding for programs, services and research.

Lastly, TVO, Ontario’s public educational media organization, did “an in-depth exploration of the state of mental health in our society” in 2012 called Mental Health Matters with documentaries, interviews and topics  such as:

  • The Origins of Our Mental Malaise
  • Mental Illness in the Family
  • Today’s Mental Illness and
  • The Language of Mental Health

How Many Breadcrumbs Do You Leave While Travelling The Internet?

(Image via funny-potato.com)

Do you know who tracks you while you are on the internet? How private do you think the internet is? It ends up we are like Hansel and Gretel, leaving breadcrumbs all over the web.

If you use Firefox as your browser or watch TED videos, you may have seen this video about all the little breadcrumbs we leave when we wander the digital woods. In his presentation, Gary Kovacs, who is the CEO of Mozilla Corporation, talks about behavioral tracking and privacy.

 “In fact, there’s an entire industry formed around following us through the digital woods and compiling a profile on each of us. And when all of that data is held, they can do almost whatever they want with it. This is an area today that has very few regulations and even fewer rules. Except for some of the recent announcements here in the United States and in Europe, it’s an area of consumer protection that’s almost entirely naked.”

I downloaded Collusion and here’s two pictures of how I’ve been watched while on the internet. The first one shows the extra tracking done when all I did was check the weather. The centre dot is the weather site. The remaining 9 dots are now also tracking me. All I did was go to one site. The first couple of weeks after I installed Collusion, I would check how many extra dots there were from visiting the same site (The Weather Network) first thing in the morning. It varied. One day, I counted 14 additional dots.

This next image is after a couple of hours. I closed the sidebar and it still doesn’t show all the extra dots of sites that are tracking me.

If you are curious to see the trail you leave,  here’s the link for the Collusion add-on for Firefox.

Because we are always being watched.

“… You can download it, install it in Firefox, to see who is tracking you across the Web and following you through the digital woods. Going forward, all of our voices need to be heard. Because what we don’t know can actually hurt us. Because the memory of the Internet is forever. We are being watched. It’s now time for us to watch the watchers.”

ABCs of Disability – The Letter A

A is for adversity.  Normally, adversity is viewed as a negative.  However, there are people who are amazingly proving this wrong.

I recently watched a video from TEDMED which is part of TED.  If you haven’t heard about TED, TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design and started out as a conference in 1984.   Now…

Along with two annual conferences — the TED Conference in Long Beach and Palm Springs each spring, and the TEDGlobal conference in Oxford UK each summer — TED includes the award-winning TEDTalks video site, the Open Translation Project and Open TV Project, the inspiring TED Fellows and TEDx programs, and the annual TED Prize.

Their about page explains:

On TED.com, we make the best talks and performances from TED and partners available to the world, for free. More than 700 TEDTalks are now available, with more added each week. All of the talks are subtitled in English, and many are subtitled in various languages. These videos are released under a Creative Commons license, so they can be freely shared and reposted.

This list of tags shows how diversified the talks have become.

The speaker in the video I watched is Aimee Mullins and was filmed in 2009.  Aimee is an amputee who was a record-breaker at the Paralympic Games in 1996, and she talks about adversity and how adversity can be used positively in life.

It is 22 minutes long but goes by really quickly.   I found her quite engaging and inspiring as she talks about her life, her disability and how words and language label us and affect our thinking.

Here’s the link to the video. There is also a link to a transcript on the right-hand side of the page.

Enjoy and be inspired!