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Topics - Daniel F

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1
Youth and Young Adults / Youth Living Well group - expanded age range
« on: January 24, 2017, 09:40:55 AM »
We have expanded the age range of our Youth Living Well group at the MDAO for Transitional Aged Youth to 16-29 for the new year. Please see the revised flyer attached and feel free to share with anyone who may be interested.



“Youth Living Well” is an open-ended group for youth and young adults aged 16-29 who are affected by mood disorders and related issues. Youth Living Well is an interpersonal skills-building group that focuses on relationship issues with immediate family members, close supporters, and significant others. Each group consists of an ice-breaker exercise, a structured psychoeducational/active participation group activities portion in the first half of the group, and a facilitated group counselling/peer support session focused on the topic of the week in the second half of the group.

 Topics that will be covered include:

    Stigma and self-stigma
    Talking about mental health issues
    What’s a relationship anyways?
    Wants, needs, and rights
    Assertiveness
    Active listening
    Boundaries
    Responding to criticism

The group takes place on the second and fourth Thursday of each month from 6:00pm to 8:00pm, at the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario (MDAO), 36 Eglinton Avenue West, Suite 602. People interested in attending should contact me at danielf@mdao.ca or 416-486-8046 ext. 237.

2
Youth and Young Adults / "Youth Living Well" - new MDAO group
« on: August 19, 2016, 01:27:19 PM »
New group starting in September for youth and  young adults at the MDAO:



“Youth Living Well” is an open-ended group for youth and young adults aged 16-24 who are affected by mood disorders and related issues. Youth Living Well is an interpersonal skills-building group that focuses on relationship issues with immediate family members, close supporters, and significant others. Each group consists of an ice-breaker exercise, a peer support session focused on the topic of the week in the first half of the group, and a structured psychoeducational/active participation in group activities portion in the second half of the group.

Topics that will be covered include:
•   Stigma and self-stigma
•   Talking about mental health issues
•   What’s a relationship anyways?
•   Wants, needs, and rights
•   Assertiveness
•   Active listening
•   Boundaries
•   Responding to criticism

Meets the second and fourth Thursday of each month from 6pm-8pm at the MDAO (36 Eglinton Avenue West, Suite 602).

Please see the attached flyer for more details and feel free to share this information with anyone who may be interested.

3
General Discussion / Virtual Peer Support Survey
« on: May 30, 2016, 11:52:36 AM »
Dear Forum Users,

We are working on making MDAO’s services and supports more accessible to people from around the province. To help overcome the barrier of geographic limitations, one way we are hoping to expand the reach of our services is through the use of various technologies (e.g. phone, video conferencing, online forums, etc.) to provide peer support virtually. The first step in being able to expand the services we currently offer is to conduct an initial needs assessment by means of a simple, short survey to determine which services are most needed, where they are most needed, and to assess the best way to delivery these services.

This survey is open to anyone, and we’d like to get input from peer support group attendees/participants, peer supporters, and other working in Ontario in the field of peer support who are affiliated with the MDAO in any way.

Survey Link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1MszTMtsM6sUgRlIL3F17Wr53zS_EsC7ActjjGB2ON5E/viewform

Please feel free to forward this survey to anyone who may have useful input to give us.

Thank you for your help.

5
Family, Friends, and Supporters / Family Matters Guide for Families
« on: July 09, 2015, 12:14:24 PM »
he Family Matters team has developed a comprehensive guide for family members, friends, and supporters of individuals experiencing mood disorders and related issues. The Family Matters Guide for Families is an informational tool designed to give people a sense of grounding and an understanding of issues related to mental health and recovery. In addition, the guide provides resources that family members may found useful in supporting themselves and their families during difficult times. A digital version of the guide is available free of charge and can be accessed here: https://indd.adobe.com/view/93357642-cd4e-408e-a483-a1e54f4216a8

6
Hey Everyone,

The Surviving to Advising project, which is a CAMH program that pairs peers/mental health consumers/survivors to be advisors to psychiatric residents, is currently looking for new recruits for their next round, which starts in July. The purpose of the program is to make peer support and peer perspectives a part of psychiatric education, and in essence to “build better psychiatrists.” This is a project that I’ve been a part of as an advisor for the past year and a half, but regrettably won’t be able to continue on due to scheduling conflicts for the coming year.  If you are interested or know of any peers who may be interested in participating, please check out this link: www.camh.ca/s2a where you can find out more.

From the application tab on the website:

“We are always interested in hearing from people who might like to participate as advisors.  Minimum qualifications include at least 5 years of experience using mental health and addiction services and experience working as a peer or system advocate.  A deep and broad understanding of recovery and the ability to engage learners in constructive dialogue and critical reflection are key skills. 
If you are interested in applying, please email sacha.agrawal[at]camh.ca”

Please help spread the word to anyone who may be interested.

Thanks.

7
General Discussion / Introductions
« on: January 23, 2015, 02:55:44 PM »
We got a great suggestion about having an introductions thread, so here it is! Feel free to introduce yourself/say a little bit about yourself in this thread.

I'm Daniel, administrator and sometimes moderator of this forum, and I'm also a peer support worker at the MDAO. I enjoy movies, good TV shows, listening to and making hip hop music, playing with my two cats (although I am still a dog person at heart!), and when I am feeling like doing something active I like biking, Ultimate Frisbee, skiing, and stuff like that.

8
Family, Friends, and Supporters / WRAP for Families
« on: January 02, 2015, 04:45:33 PM »
See flyer for upcoming program!

9
Forum Guidelines / Forum Guidelines
« on: December 17, 2014, 11:32:24 AM »
Discussion Forum Guidelines

The success of these forums will be based on the user’s enthusiasm and eagerness to share ideas, information, and their willingness to listen and accept differences of opinion. Like any support group, there are basic guidelines that keep groups healthy and functioning well.

Registration

You agree, through your use of the forum, that you will not post any material which is false, defamatory, inaccurate, abusive, vulgar, hateful, harassing, obscene, profane, sexually oriented, adult material, threatening, invasive of a person’s privacy or statements that harm an individual, business, product, group, government, religion, or nation or otherwise in violation of any International or Canadian Federal law. You also agree not to post any copyrighted material unless you own the copyright or you have written consent from the owner of the copyrighted material. Spam, flooding, advertisements, chain letters, pyramid schemes, and solicitations are also forbidden on this forum.

You have the ability, as you register, to choose your username. We advise that you not use your real name, and ensure it is appropriate. Furthermore, you agree to never give your password out to another person except an administrator, for your protection and for validity reasons. You agree also to never use another person’s account for any reason. We also highly recommend you use a complex and unique password for your account, to prevent account theft.

After you register and login to this forum, you will be able to fill out a detailed profile. It is your responsibility to present clean and accurate information. Any information MDAO or its representatives determine to be inaccurate or vulgar in nature will be removed, with or without prior notice. Appropriate sanctions may be applicable.

Maintaining a positive atmosphere

Post messages that are respectful of other individuals, no matter how strong the disagreement may be about ideas. Unpleasant personal remarks are hurtful. Highly critical comments can make other members wary of expressing their opinions. So, please feel free to disagree, but couch all comments in respectful language. Racist, sexist, abusive or disrespectful comments will result in your privileges being denied.

Share your experience – not your advice

It is far more helpful to share what you did to solve a problem than to tell someone what to do. So, if you find yourself responding to a post with "you should", quick - hit the delete button and start again. Tentative suggestions and enquiries should be made with the utmost sensitivity, and forum users are responsible for using their own discretion in taking suggestions and/or responding to enquiries. Users should not take any suggestions given on the forum as a substitute for professional advice.

Seek professional help when in crisis

The discussion forum is not intended to provide crisis support. If you are in crisis and/or are feeling actively suicidal, then this is not the place to seek help! We encourage you to get professional assistance so that you can get the care you need. If you are in crisis, please click this link: http://mooddisorders.ca/in-crisis

Feeling hopeless is often an unfortunate part of having a mood disorder and sharing those thoughts and feelings is O.K. – but please don’t post that you are actively planning to act on those thoughts! This makes others feel frightened and helpless. People will want to help but they may not know how. It can be very scary to worry about the health and safety of someone in crisis. Help others by getting help when you need it! For this reason, we encourage you to seek out professional help. When in crisis, we encourage you to build your resources and focus on yourself. You may need to take a break from the forum until you are feeling stronger and more in control, and then come back and let us know how things are going. We know that others will want to learn what you did to find your balance when it was lost!

Use caution and "common sense"

Virtual discussion groups are a great way to connect with other people. However, keep in mind that people may not always be what they seem to be/present themselves as online. We recommend that you do not share personal identifying information online.

This discussion group is moderated by MDAO staff and volunteers. As such, the MDAO and/or its representatives are not responsible for the content contained within, and do not warrant the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information presented. The posted messages express the views of the author, and not necessarily the views of this forum or the MDAO. Anyone who feels that a posted message is objectionable is encouraged to click the “Report to Moderator” button at the bottom right of the post. Reported posts will be reviewed ASAP and removed if they violate the terms of these guidelines, and the user who posted them will be contacted and given a warning. Users who repeatedly violate these guidelines despite warnings from moderators may be banned from the forum.

The MDAO and its representatives reserve the right to remove objectionable content, within a reasonable time frame, if determined that removal is necessary. This is a manual process. Please realize that removal or editing of particular messages may not happen immediately. This policy applies to member profile information as well. That being said, the owners and representatives of the MDAO Forum reserve the right to remove, edit, move or close any thread for any reason.

Keep posted content within the scope of the forum

Please check with the MDAO before announcing any commodity or service that is sold for profit. Non-profit agencies are welcome to announce upcoming trainings, conferences, new materials, etc. that are relevant to the content of the forum. Feel free to let others know about other great websites that may be helpful. If you do post for commercial reasons, however, you will be blocked from accessing this site.

The MDAO reserves the right to restrict access to any individual who misuses the discussion forum or fails to respect the guidelines provided.

If you have any ideas or suggestions on how this forum can be improved, please let us know by commenting on the “Suggestions, Comments, Feedback?” board. It is your forum we want to make it work for you!

10
Announcements / Discussion Forum Guidelines
« on: December 17, 2014, 10:23:12 AM »
Discussion Forum Guidelines

The success of these forums will be based on the user’s enthusiasm and eagerness to share ideas, information, and their willingness to listen and accept differences of opinion. Like any support group, there are basic guidelines that keep groups healthy and functioning well.

Registration

You agree, through your use of the forum, that you will not post any material which is false, defamatory, inaccurate, abusive, vulgar, hateful, harassing, obscene, profane, sexually oriented, adult material, threatening, invasive of a person’s privacy or statements that harm an individual, business, product, group, government, religion, or nation or otherwise in violation of any International or Canadian Federal law. You also agree not to post any copyrighted material unless you own the copyright or you have written consent from the owner of the copyrighted material. Spam, flooding, advertisements, chain letters, pyramid schemes, and solicitations are also forbidden on this forum.

You have the ability, as you register, to choose your username. We advise that you not use your real name, and ensure it is appropriate. Furthermore, you agree to never give your password out to another person except an administrator, for your protection and for validity reasons. You agree also to never use another person’s account for any reason. We also highly recommend you use a complex and unique password for your account, to prevent account theft.

After you register and login to this forum, you will be able to fill out a detailed profile. It is your responsibility to present clean and accurate information. Any information MDAO or its representatives determine to be inaccurate or vulgar in nature will be removed, with or without prior notice. Appropriate sanctions may be applicable.

Maintaining a positive atmosphere

Post messages that are respectful of other individuals, no matter how strong the disagreement may be about ideas. Unpleasant personal remarks are hurtful. Highly critical comments can make other members wary of expressing their opinions. So, please feel free to disagree, but couch all comments in respectful language. Racist, sexist, abusive or disrespectful comments will result in your privileges being denied.

Share your experience – not your advice

It is far more helpful to share what you did to solve a problem than to tell someone what to do. So, if you find yourself responding to a post with "you should", quick - hit the delete button and start again. Tentative suggestions and enquiries should be made with the utmost sensitivity, and forum users are responsible for using their own discretion in taking suggestions and/or responding to enquiries. Users should not take any suggestions given on the forum as a substitute for professional advice.

Seek professional help when in crisis

The discussion forum is not intended to provide crisis support. If you are in crisis and/or are feeling actively suicidal, then this is not the place to seek help! We encourage you to get professional assistance so that you can get the care you need. If you are in crisis, please click this link: http://mooddisorders.ca/in-crisis

Feeling hopeless is often an unfortunate part of having a mood disorder and sharing those thoughts and feelings is O.K. – but please don’t post that you are actively planning to act on those thoughts! This makes others feel frightened and helpless. People will want to help but they may not know how. It can be very scary to worry about the health and safety of someone in crisis. Help others by getting help when you need it! For this reason, we encourage you to seek out professional help. When in crisis, we encourage you to build your resources and focus on yourself. You may need to take a break from the forum until you are feeling stronger and more in control, and then come back and let us know how things are going. We know that others will want to learn what you did to find your balance when it was lost!

Use caution and "common sense"

Virtual discussion groups are a great way to connect with other people. However, keep in mind that people may not always be what they seem to be/present themselves as online. We recommend that you do not share personal identifying information online.

This discussion group is moderated by MDAO staff and volunteers. As such, the MDAO and/or its representatives are not responsible for the content contained within, and do not warrant the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information presented. The posted messages express the views of the author, and not necessarily the views of this forum or the MDAO. Anyone who feels that a posted message is objectionable is encouraged to click the “Report to Moderator” button at the bottom right of the post. Reported posts will be reviewed ASAP and removed if they violate the terms of these guidelines, and the user who posted them will be contacted and given a warning. Users who repeatedly violate these guidelines despite warnings from moderators may be banned from the forum.

The MDAO and its representatives reserve the right to remove objectionable content, within a reasonable time frame, if determined that removal is necessary. This is a manual process. Please realize that removal or editing of particular messages may not happen immediately. This policy applies to member profile information as well. That being said, the owners and representatives of the MDAO Forum reserve the right to remove, edit, move or close any thread for any reason.

Keep posted content within the scope of the forum

Please check with the MDAO before announcing any commodity or service that is sold for profit. Non-profit agencies are welcome to announce upcoming trainings, conferences, new materials, etc. that are relevant to the content of the forum. Feel free to let others know about other great websites that may be helpful. If you do post for commercial reasons, however, you will be blocked from accessing this site.

The MDAO reserves the right to restrict access to any individual who misuses the discussion forum or fails to respect the guidelines provided.

If you have any ideas or suggestions on how this forum can be improved, please let us know by commenting on the “Suggestions, Comments, Feedback?” board. It is your forum we want to make it work for you!

11
Family, Friends, and Supporters / Family Wellness Tips and Tools
« on: November 03, 2014, 10:19:15 AM »
How do you keep yourself and your family well?

Here are some ideas:

●   Spend time each day doing something for no other reason than your own leisure.
o   Find activities that bring you pleasure, help you relax, unwind, and recharge. For example: spend half an hour reading a good book, going for a walk, watching your favourite TV show, taking a bath, etc.

●   Keep a personal calendar/day planner.
o   Write all your appointments and tasks down in a place that you can access them easily (calendar, day planner, cell phone application, computer, etc.). Schedule everything – even leisure time. The time you spend scheduling your life might equal less stress and feelings of being overwhelmed later on.

●   Keep a personal journal
○   Many people find it helpful to journal regularly to organize their thoughts, express themselves, and process their emotions. You can keep track of life events, moods/feelings, fears, hopes, and dreams in your journal. You can also keep track of successes and signs of progress, in addition to challenges that you may be facing. Journalling can also be a way to understand your needs, keep track of ways you are practicing self-care, and as a mode of self-care in and of itself.

●   Keep a family calendar.
o   In a shared space in the home, keep a calendar of appointments, family events, and anything outside of the regular routine. This is a simple tool you can use to keep everyone on the same page.

●   Have a family white-board.
o   This is another tool you and your family can use to communicate. You can write encouraging messages to your loved ones, post reminders, share resources, or draw silly pictures. This tool is especially useful if verbal communication is difficult in your home or if tensions are high.

●   Schedule “family time.”
o   Assuming everyone is willing to do so, scheduling time to spend with your family is a good way to connect, open lines of communication, and find out what’s going on in other family member’s worlds. This scheduled time could look like anything: a family meal, going to a movie, a walk in the park, a games night, etc. Keep in mind, however, that your loved one may not always be up to “family time,” even if you’ve scheduled the time and made it a priority. Spending time with family can be stressful and anxiety-provoking for some people, depending on a variety of factors. As such, it’s a good idea not to make “family time” a requirement, but rather an option and an open invitation; keep this time flexible.

●   Create a crisis plan.
o   Make a plan for what you will do in crisis/emergency situations. Make sure to include all family members in the making of the plan. There is a good template for crisis planning through the WRAP program.

●   Make a list of what works and what doesn’t.
o   A simple and useful strategy for distinguishing issues in your family relationships is to create a two column chart with the heading “Works” in one column and “Doesn’t Work” in the other. With your family, fill out each side with points from each person’s perspective. For example, you may write that yelling and screaming doesn’t work, but communicating calmly does; your loved one may write that pressuring them to do things doesn’t work, but asking them if they want to do things does.
o   You may want to also keep this in a visible place so that you can remind yourself (and each other) of what you’ve discovered. You may also want to do this exercise periodically as new challenges come up.
o   This exercise is not about putting down one another or assigning blame; it’s about acknowledging what happens in your relationships and looking at how to make them better.
o   You can also do this exercise on your own to reflect on how you are relating to your loved one(s).

●   Access supports from outside the family.
o   Some of the issues and conflicts that occur in your family may be beyond your ability to solve on your own. This is not a weakness - it can actually take a lot of strength to reach out and admit you need support. Getting the input of other family members, friends, peers, and professionals can make a significant difference in your situation.
o   Peer support groups, counselling (individual and family), and recovery programs can make a difference in the quality of your home life. You may receive valuable insights and strategies that help you deal with your loved one’s mental illness. It can also be helpful to simply connect with others experiencing similar situations and to reduce feelings of isolation.

●   Educate yourself.
o   Access to information has never been more readily available than it is today. Books, the internet, professionals, and peers are just a few sources of knowledge that you can tap into. The more you learn, the more equipped you will be to handle the challenges that come up.

●   Remember: exercise, diet, sleep…
o   All of the factors that affect your own health will have an affect on your ability to support your loved one and be there for your family. Making time for exercise, eating a balanced diet, and getting adequate sleep are just a few of the important factors that can contribute to your overall wellness. The better care you take of yourself, the more you will be able to help those around you.


12
Announcements / New Registration Procedure
« on: September 22, 2014, 11:47:25 AM »
Dear MDAO Forum Members and Prospective Members,

Due to the issue of several spam accounts being registered and posting on the forum, registration policies have been adjusted to see if we can rectify the problem.

Thus far, the following steps have been taken to attempt to stop spammers:

1. Registration required with email activation/verification for all members (guests/non-registered members cannot post on the forum).
2. Fill out a "captcha" to confirm not being a robot.
3. Answering a simple question (true/false, simple response, etc.) to prove being human.

All of these measures have stopped over a hundred potential spammers from registering and posting on the forum. However, despite these measures, there have still been dozens of spam accounts registered and posts on the forum as a result.

We have diligently removed spam posts and banned the accounts of spam users on an ongoing basis, however this often can only occur once someone posts a spam post on the forum.

To see if we can further address the problem, as of today the measure of requiring admin approval to register to the forum is being implemented. This will hopefully allow us to ensure that only legitimate accounts are being created going forward. The risk of this approach, however, is that some potential members may be discouraged from registering and posting due to the added barrier to access - we hope that this will not be the case and that people will understand the reasons for the added step of verification.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to rectify these problems.

13
Announcements / Accessing Private Boards
« on: July 29, 2014, 02:29:18 PM »
There are private boards on this forum that are only open to specific members (e.g. provincial group boards only open to members of that provincial group). To access a private board on the forum, please read the following:

Private boards can only be seen by members who have been added to the corresponding “member groups” on the forum. To gain access to a specific board:

1.   Click on the “Profile” tab on the toolbar near the top of the screen.
2.   Hover the mouse over the “Modify Profile” tab and then click on “Group Membership.”
3.   Under the heading “Available Groups,” select the group you wish to join and click the “Request Membership” button on the right.
4.   A request will then be sent to the moderator of that group; once they have approved your request, you will be able to see, access, and post to that particular board.

14
Announcements / New MDAO Forum
« on: July 29, 2014, 02:01:23 PM »
Hey Everyone,

We unfortunately lost access to our previous forum for unknown reasons; the forum was hosted on another company's website and as such we do not have control over it's administration. We have contacted the administrators of the other site to see if we can regain access to the forum, and at the very least salvage previous topics and posts.

Going forward, however, this will be the new MDAO Forum. This forum is hosted on the MDAO site and we have administrative control over it, so we will be able to address any issues that come up.

Please feel free to create a new profile and contribute to our online community of support for people affected by Mood Disorders and related issues.

Thanks for your understanding and we apologize for the inconvenience.

-MDAO Admin Team

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