Spoken word artist Shane Koyczan gives a live performance of “To This Day” in a TED Talk. Accompanied by a violinist, as well as the crowdsourced animation from the viral video (with 7.5 million views and counting), Shane also gives a longer introduction with more talk about bullying and growing up.
Rousing, touching, funny and sad, this is a beautiful performance that received a standing ovation. Transcript available in nine languages.
A woman talks about her experiences with being suicidal in “You want to die,” with the important message that it gets better, and links to get help. She describes several situations with suicidal thoughts, being affected by a parent’s suicide plans, and talks about how she made it through and is now thriving. A powerful video with an authentic voice.
Melissa C. Water also has a YouTube channel with with over 10,000 subscribers featuring videos about mental health topics including Tourette’s syndrome, OCD, self-harm, and eating disorders.
Solome Tibebu, creator of the web site Anxiety In Teens, gives a TEDx Talk about her experiences with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and panic attacks. As a youth (not that she’s old now, in her early twenties) she felt alone and had difficulty reaching out for help, but once she accessed professional care was able to work on managing the disorder and living a healthier life.
She created Anxiety for Teens because when she was a teen looking for information and community, she was unable to find anything appropriate online that provided both information and community. Now a popular and valuable resource, the site provides information on anxiety, inspiration and tips on how to cope, and peer support in a forum. It’s a fantastic site and a great addition to mental health sites for youth.
Heartwrenching and visually exquisite, “To This Day” is an animated journey into the effects of bullying.
Mental health problems, long lasting impacts on self-esteem, and other consequences result from bullying in youth. But as well as exploring those themes in touching ways, this video inspires people to recover and look to their own beauty. A great way to begin an anti-bullying conversation from the perspective of recovery instead of empty “end bullying” sloganeering, this video immediately went viral, with a To This Day Project campaign underway.
Shane Koyczan is an acclaimed spoken word poet whose work goes far beyond old fashioned sonnets, a modern communicator who expresses emotional truths in powerful ways. Koyczan probably had his biggest audience when he performed during the opening ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, but this video has over 2.5 million views as well. Animating his lyrics for “To This Day” with crowdsourced imagery is a welcome and wonderful idea, strong with authenticity. I hope to see more like it.
In the cutest, funniest, educational science video you’re likely to find, LOLCats are used to illustrate a report on a neuroscience study about why hairy mammals enjoy being stroked.
This brief and adorable production from Nature Video mixes LOLCat images with narration about a experiment with mice that found specific neurons are activated when they are stroked versus other physical sensations, and that when the mice were given a choice they preferred the stroking effect. Although the study didn’t examine cats or humans specifically, it is theorized that all hairy mammals enjoy stroking each other because of the way their brains react. The video features cute imagery of many cuddling, grooming mammals as well as LOLCats.
Fortunately, he connected with Pets for Vets instead. They’re a 501(c) non-profit organization who rescue dogs from shelters, rehabilitate and train them to become certified psychiatric service dogs, and match them to veterans who can benefit from these special companions.
Blade was paired with a puppy named DD and from the moment they met, a weight was lifted from his shoulders. Watch the video for a touching description of what happened when they were introduced, and how DD has changed his life.
Pets for Vets is a great organization that’s always seeking donors and volunteers as well as veterans to be recipients of service dogs (free!). You can help by donating funds or doing things like fostering, training dogs, writing grants, and other behind the scenes tasks.
But perhaps the most powerful words come from DD’s companion, Blade, who says DD saved his life.
“I have a message to other vets,” he says. “Whatever it is that we’ve gone through or not gone through or whoever it is that we are, you should be proud of what you’ve done, proud of who you are, and accept that there’s something that’s hurting you. And admit…that it’s OK to ask for help.”
If you are an American veteran experiencing suicidal thoughts, connect to confidential support available 24/7 at the Veteran’s Help Line, and consider getting a service dog.
Producer: The Pet Collective
Featuring: Blade, DD, Clarissa Black, Ali Goldstein
Babies smiling at their mothers, and vice versa, were studied for signs of healthy development using a video facial tracking system.
In one finding, at around six months of age a baby will start to look away from its mother if she’s not smiling at it, which indicates interest in its environment, a normal stage of development. A failure to respond in typical ways may be indicative of developmental disorders like autism, and early detection can lead to early intervention and better outcomes.
It’s time again for the annual Neuro Film Festival video contest, sponsored by the American Brain Foundation, the foundation for the American Academy of Neurology. Patients, caregivers, service providers, students, and researchers are all invited to create videos up to five minutes long, for a chance to win a prize of $1,000 and a trip to San Diego for the AAN conference. The deadline to enter is January 31, 2013.
It’s rare to find the perspective of a person who has dementia, and this is a a fantastic personal story. Eloquent and intelligent with insights like, “I miss the intensity of life. It’s like the colours of the sunset, and the sky, and the ocean, have all diminished.” Perhaps the most touching moment happens when he thanks his wife for her caregiving and says that if he ever forgets to thank her, he wants her to know that he really is appreciative and loves her.
Although sad to consider what lies ahead for this man, it’s wonderful that he’s sharing his story now in order to educate people about early-onset Alzheimer’s and the need for research.
If you would like to make a video about a neurological condition, enter it in the contest before month’s end, and stay tuned for an opportunity to vote.
At year’s end, it’s a tradition for blogs to post a list of their most popular posts of the year. I thought I’d shake things up a bit and rather than create a list based on page views, share my personal favourites featured here in 2012. Some were very popular, and some were a bit overlooked.
It’s my hope that you’ll enjoy the familiar titles, and discover great videos you may have missed the first time around.
1. U Can Cope – An inspiring short film for those who are feeling suicidal, featuring people in recovery from depression discussing what helped them as well as info and advice from experts.
2. Self Help Books: How Can You Tell Which Ones Are Good? – An excellent and informative vodcast from The Psych Files. Psychologist Michael A. Britt explains some of the common pitfalls in pop psychology books, what makes useful advice and what doesn’t, and what to look for to spot a book from an author with low standards. Very useful tips before you go shopping for a new self-help book.
As days grow shorter in late fall and early winter, the lack of sunlight leads to changes in the circadian system that can trigger SAD. More common in women than men (up to 80% of sufferers are female), symptoms range in severity from the milder “winter blues” to severe depression with low energy, increased appetite and sleep, and psychological symptoms that include hopelessness and lethargy.
SAD is treatable, with methods ranging from cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to tryptophan to prescription antidepressants, but perhaps the most commonsense is light therapy. Special lamps are used with exposure to precise amounts of light each day, to make up for a lack of outdoor sun.
It’s important to use a special SAD lamp and not a random artificial light source, as the precise amount of light and type of wavelength is critical. A non-SAD lamp could damage eyesight from too much UV light, exposure to excess light at the wrong time of day can trigger mania in people with bipolar disorder, and not enough light will obviously not have a therapeutic effect on SAD symptoms. SAD lights are commonly sold in drug stores now, but please consult a mental health professional and follow instructions carefully before use. As Dr. Levitan notes, it’s important to have the disorder professionally diagnosed before starting a treatment.