In this post I am going to discuss my thoughts about the Mental Health Conference that I had the pleasure of attending.
In all honesty I have never been to a Mental Health before this one so I didn’t really know what to expect. I didn’t have any expectations going into it, though now for future I will have some expectations going to more in the future. This could possibly be a positive or a negative thing depending on how it is you look at it. On one hand I know what to expect and I know how something should run. On the other hand I may judge something a little harsher in the future.
Overall the Mental Health conference was very informative and inspirational all wrapped in to one. It is something that more people need the opportunity to attend so the word can be spread about mental health and eating disorders. Everyone should have the chance to become informed about mental health. There are so many people who live with mental health or know someone who lives with mental health and I think educating others is the first step to a much bigger picture. Conferences such as this one is such a great step and it is something that needs to get out there, word on these needs to be spread.
I believe everyone who was able to attend the conference gained something from it and I believe that when it happens again the result will be the same. It is a valuable resource and sad that not everyone sees it that way. I know there is still a stigma around mental health and eating disorders but only with education can that change. People need to have the chance to learn about those topics surrounded with stigma or the stigma is never going to disappear and the conference is one of the ways that can happen. If you ever have a chance to attend a mental health conference I highly recommend attending.
On the weekend of February 3rd and 4th I had immense pleasure of attending a Mental Health Conference at York University that was organized by one of my friends with Project Heal. This was the very first Mental Health Conference I have ever been to, however I know that it won’t be my last as it was such an inspiring experience. Not only was I able to attend but I was also able to assist in running the conference over the weekend.
Day one began with a welcome address presented by Alicia Pinelli, who then introduced the first keynote speaker Charles Hargobind. Charles spoke about Mindfulness in the 21st Century and his talk was very relatable. He focused on calming one’s mind and body through mindfulness practices and the benefits such practices have on everyday life. He spoke about his own life experiences and how he has used mindfulness practices to calm his mind and body.
Once the keynote speaker had finished there was a break to allow for everyone to mingle as well as check out some of the displays and vendors. These included Scared Queerless and NEDIC both of which I was able to talk to. Scared Queerless is a nonprofit organization started by a group of individuals who are aiming to combat violence in and towards the LGBT+ Community. NEDIC is an organization that focuses on awareness and prevention of eating disorders, food and weight preoccupation, and disordered eating by promoting critical thinking skills and a healthy, balanced-lifestyle.
Next everyone had a chance to attend one of four workshops all of which were very well done as I had the pleasure of attending bits of all four. The first was presented by Alan Faigal and was titled Mindful Movement. He focused on using movement and self-care, including moving creatively to gain vitality and self-awareness. Everyone involved in the workshop was able to find news and creative ways to move their bodies to release some of the daily stressors and replenish their energy. This was a very fun workshop. The second workshop was presented by Alyia Chan and focused on Supporting Loved Ones Experiencing Mental Health. She focused on being able to support loved ones and other’s we work with who are experiencing mental health. She taught how to facilitate conversations, identify changes in mental health, and other ways of support beyond the medical model. Her workshop was very informative and something I think I will be able to use.
The third workshop was presented by Cameron Algie and was titled Overcoming Anxiety Through Play. He spoke about using Improv and play to help with anxiety. He introduced different forms of improv to allow someone to connect with their body, let go of judgement, make mistakes and laugh. This was a very fun and helpful workshop as I live with anxiety. It was nice to be able to let go, just be myself without worry. The final workshop was presented by Alicia Pinelli and was titled Reclaiming Your Awesomeness. Alicia spoke about the awesomeness we had as children and what has made us lose that sense. How society has shaped who we are and what we can do to get back what we had as children. This workshop was very inspirational and is something that really makes someone stop and think.
Once the workshops were finished lunch was provided and NEDIC did a presentation that was truly powerful. Everyone was then able to go to a second workshop of the four that were presented. Finally everyone came together for the last keynote speaker of the day Janna Morrison. Janna spoke about her experience with an eating disorder in a talk titled The Chaos Within: The Healing Process. She shared her journey with an eating disorder as well as her experience with the healing process. Her talk left very wet eyes in the audience, it was very moving and inspirational as well as emotional and very real.
Overall the day was a success and by the end of it I was ready for day two to begin. Stay tuned for Day 2 as well as an overview of the weekend.
Write about 5 blessings in your life
- My mom. I’ve been through a lot in my life and there have been some really rough times. My mom has been there through everything and is the person who keeps me going. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without my mom in my life.
- My siblings. As much as we might fight and bicker my siblings are very important to me. My brother has seen me through a lot and has helped me more than he will ever know. My sister shows me each and every day that though someone might be different they can still accomplish the same things.
- My friends. My friends are there to pick me up when I’m down and I am thankful for each and every one of them. I know that I can always count on them and that is such a good feeling to have. My friends are really important to me and I don’t think I would be where I am without them.
- My puppy. Logan is fairly new in my life but he has already done so much for me. Whenever I am having a lot of anxiety he seems to know and he is there. He has a way of calming me down which is simply amazing.
- The opportunities I have been offered. There have been some points in my life when I have been down and thought things were going to stay bad. But I have been offered a lot of opportunities that have brought me back up and given me hope for the future and that hope is something that can’t be beat.