Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The 2017 Mental Health Symposium at Sojourner Auditorium

By Gemma Cleanslate

The  2017 Mental Health Symposium at Sojourner Auditorium  on Saturday drew a large audience. The topics were related to “ways to promote mental health for themselves and their families, how diet affects mental health, and how first responders and medical clinicians can improve their own mental health.”  

I’m sorry to say I  missed some of the presentations however the ones I attended were most interesting and informative. Many people do not realize amount of support that is available in Second Life for mental or emotional issues and also other health issues.  

There were tours offered to three sites where people could find out information about the ways in which Second Life can help and support someone inworld. I have been to all three before but visited to see the the tours.

Our first visit was to Ethnographia Region .  “This installation is a sort of "build biography" -- a story of discovery of a new self as a result of being in a virtual world, after having become disabled. The build is set up like an immersive gallery exhibit that you can walk through and interact with. It includes signs with pictures and captions, as well as objects and demonstrations that show some of the things that the story is talking about.”  The notecards represent how Second Life can be helpful in itself in helping a person to manage and enhance their identity in real life and SL. Jadyn Firehawk greeted every one and explained how the exhibit worked. This  exhibit is not to be missed by anyone who is curious about help in Second Life and by those who are interested in the regions in Second Life that are mental health related in any way,.

The second visit was to Virtual Hallucinations. Eme Capalini greeted us at the entrance and explained the site .  Wearing a hud into this exhibit will put you in the mind of someone suffering from schizophrenia and help one understand what goes on in this disease. “  About 1% of the population will develop schizophrenia during their lifetimes. It usually strikes in the late teens or early twenties, and is very debilitating." Visitors are warned to watch out for triggers but I recommend it to anyone who wants to become more aware of the issues with which one can suffer.

My third stop was at Inspiration Island. Wisdomseeker (Lissena Resident) addressed us at this site and gave us an over view of the island.  This is the home of Whole Brain Health. Here you can learn how to use this virtual world to “train your brain to function optimally over the life span”. There is so much here to explore and absorb. I plan to go back to see how it  all works.

The day was certainly full, inspirational and rewarding. I am glad I was able to attend at least part of the symposium. It took a great deal of work to put something like this together and Virtual Ability does it every year. Here I am sitting next to Gentle Heron who as President of Virtual Ability is very active in all the activities held here.

Gemma Cleanslate 

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