Thursday, November 10, 2011

Taking stock of schizophrenia




An article definitely worth reading.

Also, you might want to listen to the audio interview with Prof. Sir Robin Murray (pictured) accompanying the article .


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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Your Recovery Journey

An article published in the Fall 2011 edition of SZ Magazine:




Please click on an image to magnify it.


To download the entire article (PDF), please click here.

Also see:

Your Recovery Journey

Schizophrenia Society of Canada

Saturday, November 5, 2011

23rd Annual Conference

The Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia's 23rd Annual Conference, held at the Dalhousie University Club on November 4th, 2011, was attended by over 160 people.



Please click on the image to magnify it.


Please click here to download the conference program
and presenter biographies




Conference Photographs

Please click on any photograph to enlarge it.



Cecilia McRae, president of the Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia, prepares to sell raffle tickets on the Recovery Quilt.



Hilary Thorne, the Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia's project coordinator, distributes parking passes outside the conference venue.



Annette Murphy (foreground, left), a member of the Conference Organizing Committee, registers a conference participant.



Chris Croke (left) accepts the Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia's 2011 Janine Williams Memorial Bursary from Cecilia McRae.



Christine Parsons (left) receives the Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia's 2011 Special Bursary from Debbie Gladstone, a member of both the Conference Organizing Committee and the SSNS's Board of Directors.



Dr. Susan R. McGurk delivers the conference's plenary presentation.  To download Dr. McGurk's presentation slides (PDF), please click here.



Dr. McGurk receives a thank you gift from Cecilia McRae, president of the Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia.



Dr. David Gardner speaks about antipsychotic medications and their side effects during his keynote address.  To download Dr. Gardner's presentation slides (PDF), please click here.

To purchase Dr. Gardner's book, Antipsychotics and their Side Effects, please click here or here.  For information on the MED ED booklet and accompanying passport, please click here and here.



Dr. Gardner is thanked by Phil Rogers, a member of the Board of Directors of the SSNS, as well as the Board of Directors of the Schizophrenia Society of Canada.



Vince Daigle, a peer support worker with the Healthy Minds Cooperative and co-facilitator of the From Recovery to Discovery Peer Support Group, speaks about peer support.



Donna Methot, a member of the Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia's Board of Directors and president of the HRM Chapter of the SSNS, thanks Vince Daigle.



Terry Vernon, a member of the Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia's Board of Directors and the Conference Organizing Committee introduces speakers from the Beacon Program.



Valerie Davis presents an overview of the Beacon Program. To download the Beacon Program's presentation slides (PDF), please click here.



Pam Langille, an occupational therapist, talks about the goals and activities of the Beacon Program.



Will Moerman talks about his experience as a participant of the Beacon Program.



Valerie Davis is thanked by Terri Vernon.



Terri Vernon thanks Pam Langille.



Will Moerman receives a thank you gift from Terri Vernon.



John Murphy, a member of the Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia's Board of Directors, introduces Dr. Jason Morrison.



Dr. Jason Morrison presents on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and how it can help with relationships.

For a list of references for further reading on CBT for psychosis, please click here (PDF).  These references were provided to the SSNS by Dr. Morrison after the conference.



John Murphy presents Dr. Morrison with a framed Nova Scotia photograph by John (Randy) Ross.



Patrick Burke QC, a member of the Board of Directors of the SSNS, introduces presenters from Connections Halifax and the Mindful Mango Café.



Gail Kelly, an occupational therapist with Connections Halifax, speaks about social enterprises in general and the Mindful Mango Café in particular.



Jude Williams speaks about her life experience and her current position as kitchen supervisor with the Mindful Mango Café.



Marting Hoben talks about his job as supervisor at the Mindful Mango Café.



Patrick Burke thanks the speakers from Connections Halifax and the Mindful Mango Café.



Dr. Zenovia Ursuliak presents on a wellness program that she developed and helped deliver at the Nova Scotia Early Psychosis Program.  To download Dr. Ursuliak's presentation slides (PDF), please click here.



Patrick Burke thanks Dr. Ursuliak.



A big THANK YOU to our conference sponsors!


Conference Organizing Committee

Stephen Ayer
Executive Director
Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia

Debby Gladstone
Secretary, Board of Directors
Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia

Annette Murphy
Community Volunteer

Terri Vernon
Director, Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia


All photographs by Stephen Ayer

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia Conference - Recovery

Today's media advisory from the Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia:

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011
Halifax, Nova Scotia

Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia Conference: Recovery


With its theme of recovery, the 23rd Annual Conference of the Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia promises to deliver a message of hope. The conference takes place at the Dalhousie University Club, 1 Alumni Crescent, Halifax, from 8:45 am to 4:30 pm on Friday, November 4th, 2011.

Recovery from a mental illness involves progressing from a state of distress arising from active symptoms, through the stages of acceptance, rehabilitation, and reintegration into family, work, and societal roles. “Recovery is not an endpoint, but a process and a state of being,” says Vince Daigle, peer support worker with the Healthy Minds Cooperative. This conference will prove that recovery is not only possible, but expected in most cases.

A variety of experts will present on state-of-the-art approaches to optimizing recovery from serious mental illnesses. Cognitive remediation, psychosocial rehabilitation, psychopharmacology, peer support, supported employment, and a well-designed wellness recovery program will all be featured.

The plenary speaker, Dr. Susan McGurk (pictured) of Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, New Hampshire, will present her recent research results on the Thinking Skills for Work program. This unique program involves combining supported employment with methods to help a person improve cognitive skills through focused practice using computerized cognitive exercises, and to develop cognitive compensatory skills to “work around” persistent difficulties.

“Clients target work as an important recovery goal,” says Dr. McGurk, who also notes that rejoining the workforce is destigmatizing and has many other benefits, including social and financial ones. Building on this theme, Gail Kelly from Connections Halifax, and staff from the Mindful Mango Café, will describe important advances that have been made locally in supporting people in returning to work.

Dr. David Gardner of Dalhousie University will address medication, “major part of the road to recovery.” Using his unique interactive presentation style, Dr. Gardner will open the floor to questions and use that opportunity to discuss antipsychotic medications and how they can be part of a “set of investments” for recovery.

Healthy, fun, active, and creative – this is how Dr. Zenovia Ursuliak describes the wellness program recently created for participants in the Nova Scotia Early Psychosis Program. “This program was very dear to my heart. I put so much energy into this program because I really believe that we can help people reach their full potential by providing environments and services that engage them as human beings, in addition to what I’ve been trained to do as a psychiatrist – give them medications, monitor their medications.” Dr. Ursuliak describes the participants’ regaining of hope, self-efficacy, and motivation as being critical to recovery.

The support of one’s peers and the guidance based on direct experience of a mental illness is invaluable. As Mr. Daigle points out, the role-modelling and insight that a peer support worker provides cannot often be matched by that of a mental health clinician who has no direct experience. A peer support worker’s example contributes hope – both for people challenged with an illness, as well as for their family members.

Healthy relationships are critical to anyone’s mental health, and Dr. Jason Morrison of Dalhousie University will outline how they can be promoted through cognitive behavioural therapy. Additionally, Valerie Davis and Pamela Langille of Kentville’s Beacon Program will present their organization’s multidisciplinary approach to empowering and supporting the development of individuals through psychosocial rehabilitation.

Describing possible outcomes of the conference, Dr. Ursuliak anticipates “that the audience comes out of there inspired that recovery is possible.” She adds, “From that positive attitude, people will advocate for change.”

FOR BROADCAST USE

The Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia is holding its 23rd Annual Conference beginning at 8:45 am on Friday, November 4th, at the Dalhousie University Club, 1 Alumni Crescent, Halifax. The theme of the conference is Recovery.

The objective of the conference is to demonstrate that recovery from a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia is not only possible, but, with treatment and other supports, can be expected. The plenary speaker, Dr. Susan McGurk of Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover, New Hampshire, will present her recent research results on the Thinking Skills for Work program. This unique program involves combining supported employment with methods to help a person improve cognitive skills through focused practice using computerized cognitive exercises. Other topics to be covered include peer support, psychosocial rehabilitation, medications, cognitive behavioural therapy, and a wellness program. On-site registrations are available. For further information visit www.ssns-conference.com.

About the Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia

The Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia works to improve the quality of life for those affected by schizophrenia through education, support programs, influencing public policy, and encouraging research. In addition to the provincial office located in Dartmouth, the Society has chapters conducting monthly support group meetings in Cumberland County, Halifax Regional Municipality, Kings County, and Lunenburg County.

Media Contact


Dr. Stephen Ayer
Executive Director
Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia

Phone: (902) 465-2601
Toll-free in Nova Scotia: 1-800-465-2601
Fax: (902) 465-5479

Room B23, E.C. Purdy Building
300 Pleasant Street
P.O. Box 1004, Station Main
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
B2Y 3Z9

Website: www.ssns.ca
Weblog: www.blog.ssns.ca


To download a printable version of the media release (PDF), please click here.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Computerized Brain Training Can Produce Functional Changes in Schizophrenia

An article posted online on October 31st by Psychiatric News:
Successful training of the brains of people with schizophrenia in discrete attentional tasks is possible and appears to translate into improvements in quality of living, said Sophia Vinogradov, M.D., winner of APA’s Alexander Gralnick Award (pictured with past APA President and current APA American Psychiatric Foundation Treasurer Richard Harding, M.D.) At APA's Institute on Psychiatric Services in San Francisco, Vinogradov described research showing that computerized games aimed at training the brains of patients in very specific tasks can have effects on multiple interactive systems resulting in changes in global functioning. The finding marks a new direction in what has been called “cognitive remediation.” Further coverage of Vinogradov’s remarks will appear in a future issue of Psychiatric News. For further information about cognitive remediation, see "Neurocognitive ‘Training’ May Undo Schizophrenia's Brain Damage" and American Psychiatric Publishing's Essentials of Schizophrenia by Jeffrey Lieberman, M.D.
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