Music is Medicine, Music is Sanity

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Robert Gupta is passionate educator, musician and an activist for mental health issues. He discusses his experience with teaching a man with schizophrenia the violin the the personal lessons he acquired from this experience. This man used to attend Juilliard but after not being able to manage his schizophrenia he ended up homeless on the streets of skid row in Los Angeles. Gupta discusses how music pulled this man out of his lowest state and how music had allowed this individual to express his creativity and emotions. He also emphasizes how taking part in music allowed the man with schizophrenia to come back to reality when having manic or psychotic episodes. Playing the violin allowed this individual to be accepted into society and be a part of a musical community that adored and respected him. Participating in a passionate occupation (the violin) physically and mentally saved this man’s life.

The movie “the soloist” was based off this man’s experience.

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Family Psychoeducation

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Family Psychoeducation (FPE), an evidence-based practice, gives consumers and families information about mental illnesses, helps them build social supports, and enhances problem-solving, communication, and coping skills.
This film gives viewers basic information about the Family Psychoeducation (FPE) program, including the following:
* Practice principles;
* Practice philosophy and values;
* Basic rationale for services; and
* How the evidence-based practice has helped consumers and families.

Power of our brain in positive- Cognitive re-wiring for wellbeing

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Cognitive Behavioural Modification can be used with anyone for changing thought processes, which can impact our mood/affect and happiness. Not only is this information relevant for the mental health population, but it is just as important for the general public to manage daily emotions and wellbeing.

Shawn Achor, a psychologist who specializes in positive psychology, makes a case for cognitive behavioural modification. Throughout this talk he highlights the power of positive thinking and how our brain functions more productively. He indicates that when studying general student mental health in Harvard, the school focused only on the negative (prevalence of depression, eating disorders etc) versus focusing on the positive- Achor argues that this is not an effective as a tool as, “the absence of a disease does not mean health”. From research what they have discovered is that the brain functioning in positive performs significantly better than when it is functioning in negative, neutral or stressed. Our brain in positive increases our Intelligence, creativity and energy levels. In addition, our brain at positive is 31% more productive, 37% better at sales and doctors are faster and accurate in making diagnosis than when  the human brain is functioning at negative neutral or stressed.

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That Achor and his studies have discovered is that we can rewire and train the brain to be more positive and optimistic with only 2 minutes spans in 21 days in row.  Techniques for optimism and positive cognitive modification are listed below:

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Psychosis Simulation

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To really understand how someone experiences psychosis, it is important to try to put yourself in the shoes of someone with this disorder. As a future occupational therapist, understanding this can help with empathy and awareness, which will help us be able to build therapeutic rapport when working with these clients. Youtube has many videos simulating this experience, which I have attached below.

This video is a simulation for someone with schizophrenia/ psychosis, who has not taken their prescribed medication.

This video is a clip from 20/20 on ABC. They have created a virtual reality simulation which allows us to see what someone with schizophrenia may see when they hallucinate.

This video allows us to hear what individuals with schizophrenia may experience with auditory hallucinations

This is Water

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This video is a convocation speech written by David Foster. I found that this video really relates to the first question posed in this weeks lab: “are you a glass have full or glass half empty” kind of person. Though we may bounce from being a “glass half full” to “glass half empty,” we have a choice in how this impacts us emotionally. When this choice seems impossible, and a certain way of thinking begins to impede our function in our daily lives is when it starts to affect our mental and physical health.

In this video, David Foster really emphasizes that the way we choose to view situations or understand the people around us in everyday situations can help mold our daily experiences. He creatively and eloquently expresses that our experiences could be viewed both negatively or positively but this experience is based on our ability to control our thoughts.

Andres Lozano: Parkinson’s, depression and the switch that might turn them off

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Andres Lozano, the chair of neurosurgery and University of Toronto discusses a new technology that can “turn on” or “turn off” physical, cognitive or mental diseases by increasing or decreasing electrical activity in the brain as if one were using a remote control. In relation to OT 845, he discusses how placing electrodes in certain areas of the brain can lower symptoms of depression.

Image taken from the Ted Talks posted above

Image taken from the Ted Talks posted above

Image taken from the Ted Talks posted above

Image taken from the Ted Talks posted above

When electroconvulsive therapy does not work for patients with depression, Lozano looks to using his new electrode technology. In Cat scans for individual’s with depression Lozano noticed that parts of the brain are shut down, which is the blue areas located in the picture above. These blue areas are areas involved in motivation, drive and decision making. The red parts are the sadness areas of the brain, which are often hyperactive in individual’s with depression. When placing the electrodes in the “sadness” areas, Lozano and his team were able to “turn down” the red “sadness” areas and “turn up” the blue “motivation and drive” areas of the brain. Though this technology is very new, it is exciting for cognitive neurological approaches to treating mental illnesses like depression. I believe this technology is fascinating and revolutionary.

Elyn Saks: A Tale of Mental Illness from the Inside

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Elyn Saks provides a personal account of her battle with schizophrenia. She describes in detail when she first started acting erratically and the types of incoherent phrases that she would speak when having an episode.
What particularly interests me is her experiences with restraints and how every mental health patient she spoke with despises them- They are meant to make the patients feel “safe” and be “safe” but this is having a complete opposite effect. She even states that many patients are physically harmed or strangled under restraints. Through this technique, mental health patients are stripped from their own sense of safety and freedom and are imprisoned not only mentally but physically. She makes us understand that people with mental illness are often misunderstood and that we should be more understanding of the conditions they are facing on a day to day basis.