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Blog – Personal stories, news, advice, and interviews from professionals, caregivers, and people with lived experience

Coping With the Holiday Season- An AMI-Quebec Interview

By Giovanna As the holiday season nears, many of us are anticipating the frenetic pace that so often accompanies this time of year. And for some, the aftermath of the celebrations are quickly replaced by dread for the ensuing bleak winter months. If you have a mental illness, or perhaps …

Sandra Gissi, volunteer at AMI-Quebec shares her heartfelt experience with obsessive-compulsive disorder

I have suffered from severe OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) since 2009. I considered myself an unlucky twenty-one year old at the time. Today, I cannot say that I feel blessed to have this mental illness. I can only try my best to live, laugh, and love as much as possible. We …

Calling all Canadians: Clara’s Big Ride for Bell Let’s Talk gets ready to roll

  MONTREAL, Oct. 10, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ – Bell today announced the Official Route and National Partners for Clara’s Big Ride for Bell Let’s Talk, the national bicycle tour around Canada by Clara Hughes in support of mental health. Beginning March 14, 2014, and spanning 110 days, Clara’s Big Ride …

Take precautions against rising stress

Chatham Daily News – Recently, I have been amazed at how accurate the forecasters were concerning the possibility of flooding. Predicting the local river systems would be overwhelmed by impending rain, they issued early warnings for people to take the appropriate precautions. Sure enough by Friday, the heavy rains arrived and rivers, creeks and ditches were dangerously swollen. Predicting when an individual’s coping system will be overwhelmed is not as an exact science, but it can be forecast to some extent. Stress is universal but, in itself, stress is not a bad thing. We need stress to motivate us. For …

Give mental health same priority as physical, says Royal College of Psychiatrists

The Telegraph – Mental health should be given as much priority as physical health, the Royal College of Psychiatrists has claimed, as those with severe mental illness die 15 to 20 years sooner. The organisations, which take charge of commissioning NHS services from next week, should ensure that patients get ”equivalent levels of access” to treatments for mental health problems as for physical health problems. read more: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9953224/Give-mental-health-same-priority-as-physical-says-Royal-College-of-Psychiatrists.html

Gripping films about Mental Illness

Mental illness is one of the great taboos in society. Nobody wants to admit to it – not even depression – let alone bipolar or schizophrenia. Decent mainstream portrayals of mental illness are extremely rare and tend to glamourise the condition of the sufferer. Therefore we have A Beautiful Mind – connects schizophrenia to genius. Girl Interrupted – mental illness to creativity (the main character wants to be a writer). Read more at http://whatculture.com/film/10-gripping-films-about-mental-illness.php#DZUKXjsjVfoJE7w0.99  

The Goods on Hoarding

  The Goods on Hoarding By Gail Adams Hoarding is the accumulation of objects to the degree that it prevents the use of living space as it was originally intended. A mild hoarding problem may involve only minor inconveniences but in more severe cases the clutter may completely cover counters, stovetops, tables, chairs, sofas, beds and so on. Stuff can easily fill sinks and bathtubs and may also cover the floor so that it is impossible to move around the home without stepping on things. Only a small portion of the objects hoarded ever get used. In addition, these possessions are usually …

How to Boost Your Energy Levels – Advice From a Personal Trainer

So many people today complain of lack of overall energy in their lives. When it comes to caregivers, so much of their time is devoted to the ill person that they can quickly burn out or “run on empty”.  Sometimes the situation is that a loved one might feel well for a while and then relapse, so caregivers need to be prepared mentally and emotionally for these “ebbs and flows”.  Isabelle Leblond, a successful personal trainer shares with us her insights on things that people should be doing to keep those energy (and hence mood) levels up. Here is what …

4 Ways for Caregivers to De-stress

We are all aware that caregivers face many obstacles when caring for a mentally ill loved one. Sometimes situations become overwhelming but there are ways to cope. Francine Waters, counselor at AMI-Quebec suggests her top 5 ways to de-stress. 1)  Breathe! Doctors and fitness trainers alike recommend deep breathing. Here’s how to perform deep breathing effectively: Breathe in long, while filling your stomach and chest area with air. As you do this exercise, tense up all your muscles. Next breathe out slowly while consciously relaxing every limb in your body. Repeat several times. 2)  Worrying about the future often is …

How Families Can Help Recovery

  Everyday families – and especially mothers – have opportunities to improve the strength of their ill relatives’ recovery. It’s not complicated. Just be aware of the messages you are sending by what you say and do. A recent research study set out to better understand the trajectory of recovery. The authors believed that that the attitudes of family members would have an impact on their ill relatives’ self-image. Their view was based on the well-known fact that a positive self-image is vital to recovery. Those who see themselves as less competent, able or successful tend to behave in a …

A Ritual

“When I am in this anxious mood I noticed obstacles more than an harmonious reality. This illustration conveys that feeling”   What is it that helped me to go through my difficulties with anxiety? Most of the time I was responsible to find activities in volunteering, taking courses, going to events, conferences to help keep me busy, to try to avoid the constant nerves … but did they make me feel happier ? My answers for this was never clear but what I can say is that activities kept me busy – so busy that I didn’t have much time …