Mental Health Symposium 2013

Do You See ME?

Last year, the Virtual Ability Mental Health Symposium talked about overcoming the stigma of mental illness. This year we ask this question, “Do You See ME?”  Our focus is on mental health care – remembering the person in our interactions rather than the illness – and we’ll explore different aspects of mental health care treatment.

We are pleased to kick off the 2013 Symposium with a special keynote presentation by Jayme Nelson, and we’ll further explore the theme from other points of view. We encourage you to come and participate in the discussions.

All presentations will take place on Saturday, the 27th of April, 2013 in Second Life, with all presentations made simultaneously in Voice and Text.

NameTitleDescriptionPresenter Bio
Jayme Nelson, RN, MS (SL Avatar: Jayme Xaris)Will you Treat ME?
Funding mental health care treatment – now and under the Affordable Health Care Act
(Keynote Presentation)
Medicine has long recognized that mental health disorders as well as alcohol and chemical dependencies should be treated as diseases, yet insurance companies have not treated these conditions in the same way as other chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure. Many have called for mental health parity – equal reimbursement for mental health conditions as for any other medical or surgical procedure. Come learn about how (finally) there is growing mental health parity at the federal level and in the U.S. Affordable Health Care Act.
Update April 28: The slides used in Jayme’s presentation are now posted here:
Jayme Nelson is an Associate Professor of Nursing. Jayme has presented nationally and internationally on topics relevant to health care ethics. A professor for 13 years and still a practicing nurse in the Emergency Room, Jayme’s nursing experience has primarily been in organ transplantation, trauma, and critical care. As a parent to a child with a chronic illness (Lupus), Jayme is interested in the experiences of those accessing the health care system from both the provider and client aspect. Jayme uses a great deal of technology in the classroom (Vodcasts and simulation) and has been a member of Second Life for several years now.

Jayme Nelson has recently published two peer-reviewed teaching strategies with the Quality and Safety Education for Nurses Institute. The QSEN project is funded by Robert Wood Johnson and is a national initiative developed to educate nursing students on patient safety and quality health care delivery.
Brenda Bryan (SL Avatar: Brena Benoir)Meet Your Counselor – An AvatarWe will focus on the Portal Virtual World Programs at Preferred Family Healthcare. We will examine the benefits and challenges of providing treatment services in virtual world settings.Brenda Bryan has been employed by Preferred Family Healthcare for over 17 years. She currently holds the following credentials: BA, CRADC, CCDP, SQI. Brenda has been serving in the capacity of a Virtual World Counselor for approximately 5 years, and has extensive experience in working with adolescents and young adults who suffer with drug and alcohol issues and mental health issues.
Deborah Houston-Schrenzel (SL Avatar: Brede McDonnell)Sudden Violent Loss: Its Impact on Every Member of the CommunityIn light of recent traumatic events in our country and all over the world, this presentation will emphasize traumatic stress and PTSD. It will include information about the effects of stress from traumatic events on individuals and the community.Deborah Houston-Schrenzel (SL- Brede McDonnell) is a nurse practitioner who came into Second Life to support veterans working through PTSD. She also works with the Ann Myers Medical Center to educate medical professionals about PTSD and end of life.
Eliza Madrigal, Zen Arado, Szavannah ResidentPoetry and Mental HealthReading and writing and discussing poetry is increasingly used as part of therapy for mental health disabilities. Three readers will share a wide variety of poems from both modern and classical poets who deal with mental health issues.Eliza Madrigal is a researcher in SL, studying the meaning of community. She is a member of PlayasBeing.

Zen Arado is an RL/SL artist. He enjoys philosophy discussions, DJing, theater, and Zen.

Szavanna Resident is based in Africa. She loves to explore topics on Africa, open source software, community building and art projects in both worlds.
Lissena ResidentIntroducing the Whole Brain Health Fair to Second LifeLissena will introduce a WHOLE BRAIN HEALTH FAIR into Second Life beginning on April 28th. That day visitors can sample the kinds of activities that scientific research is discovering keep our memory and thinking sharp, as well as help us stay physically aware, emotionally balanced, and deeply engaged with life in meaningful ways.

She will explain the various activities for visitors at the FAIR and what they will contribute to whole brain health. Of course, our minds and bodies and spirits form an organic unit, so attending to the whole brain really means attending to ALL the things that contribute to good Self Care.

The FAIR is an exciting place to try out different ideas in order to create your own personal program for brain fitness, one you can carry over into daily life in both SL and RL. Lissena will also answer questions about brain health and the FAIR.
Lissena has been a licensed psychotherapist (LCSW-R) in private practice for over 30 years, working with adult individuals and couples. Concurrently she was a special counselor for at-risk college students for many years.

Adding life coach training in the past decade, she has coached writers and artists primarily. Before becoming a psychotherapist, she worked on a doctorate in the Humanities and taught literature and composition to college students. She is now semi-retired.

Lissena has been a co-leader of the MentorCoach Alliance for Positive Psychology since 2006. She is a certified Total Brain Health Coach. Since 2007, with her RL husband Gabrielstradivarious, a musicologist, she has been co-writing a blog that combines information from music, neuroscience and positive psychology. The purpose of is to engage readers’ hearts and minds as they learn how listening to music can help them maintain a high quality of life and brain health over a lifetime.
Kara Bennett, Ph. D. (SL Avatar: Dancers Yao)Exploring New Ways of Evaluating Mental Capacity of SeniorsThe subject of this presentation is based on a specialty area of the presenter, the evaluation of mental capacity for seniors when there are questions concerning whether they need a legal guardian. This situation can be very threatening for people as there are no agreed-upon methods for assessment of mental competence, and the laws are different in each state.Dr. Kara Bennett has a career in mental health research and practice that spans over thirty years. She received her PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1981, and psychologist license in 1987.

As a post-doctoral scholar, she continued her dissertation research which proposed a dynamic model for how knowledge is represented to help create guidelines for making decisions in real life situations. This involved studying a variety of problem solving situations and exploring new research methods that could capture the dynamics of daily life experience. She has published articles in peer-reviewed journals regarding the role of problem-solving strategies in making decisions about health care.

Dr. Bennett also wanted to apply psychology to community issues by offering education in problem-solving. This led to contracting with the Los Angeles Public Schools to work on gang violence and job skills, and with the Los Angeles Police Department for education about child abuse.

Her membership in the Screen Actors Guild and Actors Equity Association offers the opportunity to participate professionally in creating interactive stories for both entertainment and education about human rights and health care.

In 2007, Dr. Bennett co-founded the nonprofit organization Elder Voices with her colleague Dr. Susan Patrice Weiner, a physician and human rights advocate. As the avatar Dancers Yao, she is presently exploring new venues for health education in the virtual world of Second Life.
Richard Roth (SL Avatar: Farm Gartenberg)Herbal Medicine and Mental HealthUse of herbal medicines is considered part of “complementary and alternative medicine.” Many people use herbs; people with mental illness are more likely to do so than people who don’t have that diagnosis. Are herbs safe? Are they effective?

This presentation shares the evidence-base about five herbs commonly used to treat mental disorders.
The hayseed avatar Farm Gartenberg will present on behalf of Richard Roth, who is a 4th Generation Kansas farm boy, born and raised within 3 miles of his German immigrant Great Grandfather’s original farmstead. Richard worked several years for USDA Soil Conservation Service in California, has a BS Degree in Agricultural Science from CSU, Chico, started the first CSA in Butte County. CA, sold at local farmers markets for 10 years, and is founder and CEO of the 501(c)3 nonprofit CCHAOS (Collaboratively Creating Health Access Opportunities & Services).

Richard is networking furiously toward building the local delivery capabilities for sustainable food systems in the Sacramento River Valley – and now in Second Life. He is also an active California Grange member.