Mental Health Symposium 2017

Virtual Ability’s Mental Health Symposium 2017

“I can relate to that”

Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Sojourner Auditorium, Virtual Ability Island

In Second Life

The Virtual Ability community in Second Life invited you to join us for our sixth annual Mental Health Symposium. It was held on Saturday, May 27, 2017 beginning at 6 a.m. Pacific (9 a.m. Eastern), and continued through 5:30 p.m. Pacific (8:30 p.m. Eastern). There was no charge to attend.

The theme of this year’s Symposium was “I can relate to that.” Our international group of presenters offered a wide interpretation of the theme, based on their interests and academic backgrounds. Attendees learned ways to promote mental health for themselves and their families, how diet affects mental health, and how first responders and medical clinicians can improve their own mental health.

The Symposium took place in Virtual Ability’s Sojourner Auditorium, on Virtual Ability island. The SLURL for the auditorium is: Sojourner Auditorium, Virtual Ability Island.

The Virtual Ability community hosts this annual Symposium to share information about mental health and mental disabilities with the general population. Within our cross-disability community we have members who deal with a variety of mental health issues. Not only is this an opportunity for our community members to learn more about topics related to mental health from experts they probably would not have a chance to meet otherwise, it allows the general public to attend a professional conference at no cost.

Below is the full schedule for the conference.

6:00 AMTracy BurrowsDiet, Nutrition and Food AddictionTracy Burrows is an Associate Professor in Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Newcastle in Australia. She is an Advanced Accredited Practicing Dietitian. She is highly passionate about all things food, food behaviours, and communicating high quality, evidence-based information about diet and nutrition. Tracy has expertise in the areas of the assessment and validation of dietary intake, obesity management across the lifespan and food addiction. She has delivered a range of community interventions and is involved in all aspects of teaching, from undergraduate through postgraduate.Tracy Burrows Transcript
7:30 AMSarah Henderson and Kristin KlimleyFirst Responder Mental Health: The Importance of Training and InterventionSarah Henderson is a fourth year clinical psychology doctoral candidate at Nova Southeastern University. Her research has focused on behavioral health issues in first responders, particularly the effects of post-traumatic stress on physical health conditions. Ms. Henderson has published several articles related to stress and suicide within the fire service and co-created a number of behavioral health programs within Broward Sheriff’s Office Department of Fire Rescue and Emergency Services. Ms. Henderson is also a co-coordinator of the Family Violence Program, under Dr. Van Hasselt.

Kristin Klimley is a second year clinical psychology doctoral student at Nova Southeastern University, hoping to specialize in trauma and police psychology. Ms. Klimley is the Research Coordinator for Dr. Van Hasselt’s Police Psychology Research and Training Team, as well as a Nova Players Coordinator working with various hostage negotiation teams in South Florida. Ms. Klimley is engaged in research with various first responder populations including law enforcement, emergency dispatchers, firefighters, and correctional staff.
Henderson-Klimley Transcript

Henderson-Klimley Presentation

9:00 AMJoel EdmanNutritional and Holistic Approaches to Stomach and Intestinal Disorders: Practical guidelines that can also be helpful for chronic and/or complex health issues.
Due to technical difficulties, Dr. Edman’s presentation had to be rescheduled. We will announce the new date and time on our blog,
Joel Edman was the Director of Integrative Nutrition and Associate Research Director for the Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University and Hospital (Pennsylvania, US). A Fellow of the American College of Nutrition, he specializes in teaching and coaching about the most effective use of nutritional and integrative health therapies for everything from chronic and complex symptoms and disorders to wellness and disease prevention. He has developed nutrition, lifestyle and integrative health programs for individuals with heart disease risk factors, neuropsychological disorders, cancer, gastrointestinal disorders and other diagnoses. His consultations and coaching programs focus on approaches that are individually tailored to the unique needs and characteristics of each person or group.
10:30 AMParticipants joined us on selection of tours of SL sites related to mental health in Second Life
NoonIan ColmanMental health promotion – What can you do for you and your loved ones?Ian Colman is the Canada Research Chair in Mental Health Epidemiology and is an Associate Professor in the School of Epidemiology, Public Health, Preventive Medicine at the University of Ottawa. Dr. Colman’s research lab investigates factors associated with depression, anxiety, and suicidal behavior, with a particular focus on public health approaches toward prevention and intervention.
His presentation at noon US Pacific time is titled “Mental health promotion – what can you do for you and your loved ones?” This talk will focus on things that people can do that might help their own mental health, and in doing so may also improve the mental health of those around them. Research will be discussed supporting the importance of a healthy diet, social activity, and speaking to a health professional when you are concerned about your mental health.
Ian Colman Transcript
1:30 PMKaren DavisonBridging the Divide: Exploring research in nutrition, mental health and food securityKaren Davison is a registered dietitian and certified health education specialist who consults on nutrition and psychiatry. She is also a faculty member at Kwantlen Polytechnic University and research affiliate with the Social Justice Centre. She was the project lead for the Dietitians of Canada role paper on nutrition and mental health ( Currently, she is the principal investigator of the Bridging the Divide project. Dr. Davison advocates for integrated approaches to nutrition and mental health care and participatory approaches to research. Her presentation, “Bridging the Divide: Exploring research in nutrition, mental health and food security,” will begin at 1:30 p.m. US Pacific time. A growing body of evidence indicates that food insecurity, diet quality, and mental health are interrelated. In this presentation, we will explore this research and where future efforts may be directed that foster nutritional and mental health. As part of this discussion, Canada’s Bridging the Divide project ( will be highlighted.Karen Davison Transcript

KarenDavison Presentation
3:00 PMDiana AndersonVirtual Windows: Design solutions to improve the mental health of clinical staffDiana Anderson is a board-certified healthcare architect with the American College of Healthcare Architects (ACHA) and a board-certified physician through the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM). As a “dochitect,” Dr. Anderson combines educational and professional experience in both medicine and architecture, in order to fully understand the medical planning of healthcare environments. She has worked on hospital design projects within the United States, Canada and Australia. A frequent speaker about the impacts of healthcare design on patient outcomes, clinician wellness, and care delivery, Dr. Anderson is currently a Human Experience Lab Fellow at Perkins+Will Architects, and co-founder of the Clinicians for Design group.Diana Anderson Transcript
4:30 PMNamaara MacMoraghMental Health Following Brain InjuryNamaara MacMoragh is the avatar of Gloria Kraegel. Ms. Kraegel has been a nonprofit consultant for 30 years and is currently the Executive Director of the Brain Energy Support Team, an organization created by, and for, those with brain injury and their families. She is also the owner of Etopia EcoCommunity Sims in Second Life and blends the virtual and physical worlds to provide education and social opportunities that build community and showcase the potential of cooperative and interdependent living..Namaara MacMoragh Transcript