New Intervoice website and BC Hearing Voices Network updates

Intervoice website and World Hearing Voices Congress

Exciting news! Intervoice, the umbrella organization which connects local Hearing Voices networks around the globe, has launched its new website. You can check it out here: https://www.intervoiceonline.org/ The Intervoice website compiles news, resources, and research on the topic of hearing voices in an accessible, open-ended format, as well as a directory of Hearing Voices networks around the world. Intervoice also recently hosted the (virtual) 12th annual World Hearing Voices Congress in Cork, Ireland, where myself (Rory Higgs) and Anne Liao of the BC Hearing Voices Network were grateful to have the opportunity to speak about our vision for community- and rights-based approaches to voice hearing. Recordings from the Congress should be available online shortly.

BC Hearing Voices Network updates

We are hoping to restart the Hearing Voices Study Club, a discussion group focused on articles, research, and personal stories related to the topic of hearing voices (potentially in a virtual, province-wide format). If you’re interested in receiving Study Club updates, please contact admin@bchvn.ca. We will also be introducing regular province-wide virtual meetings to support group facilitators and organizers. If you’re considering starting a group locally and are interested in attending an upcoming meeting, please contact admin@bchvn.ca for more information!

Upcoming webinar: Hearing Voices: The Value of “Experts-by-Experience”

Upcoming webinar with lived experience expert Dmitriy Gutkovich taking place Thursday, July 22nd:

“In this webinar, Dmitriy Gutkovich will present on how lived experience is reshaping support and strategy in the hearing voices community.

Major topics will include a brief history of the hearing voices movement, including its struggles from a social justice perspective. Dmitriy will address frequent voice-hearing challenges including belief structures, attention, hostility, isolation, and relationships; and how community solutions have helped impact what is a fundamentally individual experience. He will then discuss more recent research, and how social and individual perspectives on hearing voices can impact quality-of-life. Finally, he will conclude with a conversation on the challenges for building a knowledge base for lived experience solutions, unifying a hearing voices community, and changing the public narrative of stigma and discrimination on the experience.

In addition to 11 years of personal lived experience, Dmitriy has earned leadership roles in nonprofits including Hearing Voices Network NYC, Hearing Voices Network USA, ISPS-US, and the New York City Peer Workforce Coalition. He is the recently published author of “Life with Voices: A Guide for Harmony” and collaborates as a project partner for Yale’s Cope Project. He has also frequently appeared on podcasts and webinars, championing the role for lived experience in the national conversation.”

Admission is by donation, and you can register for free using the discount code “Freebie”. Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/hearing-voices-the-value-of-experts-by-experience-tickets-161228339303

 

2021 World Hearing Voices Congress: Update and Call for Submissions

The 2021 World Hearing Voices Congress will be taking place September 1st-3rd in Cork, Ireland, with a hybrid virtual/in-person format. The theme of this year’s Congress is “Solidarity in Times of Adversity: The Global Voice Hearing Community Reconnecting”. The conference organizers write:

This year’s Congress will create spaces for voice hearers, family members, carers, practitioners, academics, and all those interested in the principles and values of the International Hearing Voices Movement, to connect and/or reconnect with one another in a post-pandemic world, either in person in Cork, Ireland or online across the globe. Drawing on two ancient Irish traditions, the Congress organisers aim to provide a platform (ardán) to focus on the ways in which many voices can work together, supporting each other in difficult times (meitheal).

*Ardán (pronounced ar-dawn) is an Irish word meaning platform, stage, but it is also used in the context of ‘raising one spirits’!

*Meitheal (pronounced meh-hill) is the Irish expression of the ancient and universal appliance of cooperation to social need, referring to the co-operative labour system in Ireland where neighbours help each other in turn with farming work, such as harvesting crops. It establishes community unity through cooperative work and mutually reciprocal support.

Online registration for both in-person and virtual tickets is now open: click here.

The call for papers, presentations, workshops, and performances is also now open (deadline for submissions is July 30th): click here.

To learn more, visit the conference information page on the Intervoice website, or check out Hearing Voices Network Ireland!

Call for proposals: ISPS-US Virtual Conference

The call for proposals for the International Society for Psychological and Social Approaches to Psychosis US Chapter’s upcoming virtual conference is now open! The conference will take place November 5-7 and the theme will be “Moving Toward Shared Understandings in Psychosis and Extreme States: Professional, Individual, and Family Perspectives.” Proposals are due by July 5th. For more information, visit the ISPS-US website.

From the ISPS-US website:

Psychosis and extreme states are complex, multifaceted phenomena. Mainstream mental health care in the United States has historically presented a narrow view of both root causes and treatments for the distressing symptoms associated with psychosis, viewing these experiences from a purely bio-medical framework. However, scientific advances over the past decades, and greater awareness of social, cultural, and societal influences on mental health have opened up opportunities to shift the conversation toward more humanistic, person-centered understandings. Thanks to the contributions of people with lived experience, family members, and enlightened practitioners, many of the experiences associated with psychosis are now understood as ways in which the human mind and spirit respond to confusing, challenging, and often difficult environments and relationships. While much progress has been made, much work remains to be done.

Join ISPS-US at our 2021 Conference and Annual Meeting as we consider the progress that can be made when multiple perspectives are honored in the treatment and understanding of psychosis.

We welcome presentations that examine and build upon rich collaborations between people with lived experience, family members, researchers, and clinicians across theory, practice, and innovation. We especially encourage presentations that acknowledge and address the additional burdens faced by people of color whose efforts simply to live in an increasingly hostile world can lead to psychosis and extreme states. Join us as we seek to reimagine a future that offers greater hope, understanding, and possibility for all people who experience and struggle with extreme states.

This year we plan to include an interactive Creative Healing Space to present an array of therapeutic and creative arts modalities used for treatment, and as forms of self-expression that provide connection, comfort, joy, and healing. These can include origami, visual art, poetry, photography, music, dance, spoken word, and more. This Creative Healing Space was inspired by the ISPS International Congress, to be held in Perugia, Italy in September 2022. With permission, we will take these submissions with us to Perugia next year.

Update: Living with Voices & Visions Virtual Event

The date for the Living with Voices & Visions virtual event has been changed. The event will now be taking place on Thursday, May 6th. Please share the updated poster!

Image description: a poster for the Living with Voices and Visions virtual event. Text copied below.

Join us Thursday, May 6th from 5-6 PM (PST) for an opportunity to learn about the BC Hearing Voices Network, hear personal experiences from those living with voices, visions, and unique experiences, and learn how to participate in local support groups.

This event is open to those who experience voices, visions, or other unique sensory experiences, their supporters, those working in mental health, and any others who are interested!

Speakers include:

Rory Higgs

Rory Higgs is a non-binary artist, writer, and activist living and working in Vancouver. Rory serves as a facilitator for Voices and Visions groups, and is the newly appointed administrator for the BC Hearing Voices Network. Rory’s work on this movement has been published in the Health and Human Rights Journal. 

KC Pearcey

KC has been a voice hearer and vision seer for nearly 15 years. He was a participant in Voices and Visions groups when they first started in Vancouver in 2013 and began co-facilitating the groups in 2018. He is also a Peer Support Worker for Coast Mental Health and has co-facilitated a Voice Hearers group for that organization as well. Additionally, he co-facilitates Living Well with Voices and Unique Beliefs for the North Shore Mental Health team. 

Zoom link: https://vancouvercoastalhealth.zoom.us/j/65896012879?pwd=L0pnb2d3YW9pY2o4Q S9nVmU4UGcvQT09

Questions? Email Gill Walker at gill.walker@vch.ca for more information.

Virtual Event: Living with Voices and Visions – May 6th

UPDATE 19/04: The date for the Living with Voices and Visions virtual event has been changed! The event will now be held on Thursday, May 6th from 5-6 PM (PST).

Join us at a virtual roundtable on Monday, May 3rd from 5-6 PM (PST) for the opportunity to learn about the BC Hearing Voices Network, ask questions, and give your feedback on what you’d like to see at future groups/events! This event is open to everyone, including people who hear voices, see visions, or have other unusual sensory experiences; people who are questioning whether Voices & Visions support groups are for them; supporters and allies; and professionals interested in learning more about the BCHVN.

Details below:

Image description: a poster for the Living with Voices and Visions virtual event. Text copied below.

Join us Monday, May 3rd from 5-6 PM (PST) for an opportunity to learn about the BC Hearing Voices Network, hear personal experiences from those living with voices, visions, and unique experiences, and learn how to participate in local support groups.

Speakers include:

Rory Higgs

Rory Higgs is a non-binary artist, writer, and activist living and working in Vancouver. Rory serves as a facilitator for Voices and Visions groups, and is the newly appointed administrator for the BC Hearing Voices Network. Rory’s work on this movement has been published in the Health and Human Rights Journal. 

KC Pearcey

KC has been a voice hearer and vision seer for nearly 15 years. He was a participant in Voices and Visions groups when they first started in Vancouver in 2013 and began co-facilitating the groups in 2018. He is also a Peer Support Worker for Coast Mental Health and has co-facilitated a Voice Hearers group for that organization as well. Additionally, he co-facilitates Living Well with Voices and Unique Beliefs for the North Shore Mental Health team. 

Zoom link: https://vancouvercoastalhealth.zoom.us/j/65896012879?pwd=L0pnb2d3YW9pY2o4Q S9nVmU4UGcvQT09

Questions? Email Gill Walker at gill.walker@vch.ca for more information.

NEWS: ISPS Conference Dates Extended and Call to Action on Racism and Social Justice in Mental Health

The International Society for Psychological and Social Approaches to Psychosis has pushed back the dates for the upcoming conference in Peruga, Italy. The conference will now be taking place in September 2022. This means that the call for abstracts is currently open. If you would like to submit a proposal for a workshop, panel, or other presentation, you can do so here: https://isps2021.it/call-for-abstract/


McGill University’s Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry has published a call to action on racism and social (in)justice in mental health, which you can read here: https://www.mcgill.ca/tcpsych/network/call-action

This follows on the tail of other recent publications calling for a change in how mental health is understood, for example: the British Psychological Society’s Power Threat Meaning Framework; the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Mental Health’s recent reports, 2017-2020; Harvard’s Health and Human Rights Journal’s 2020 special issue on shifting the paradigm of mental health; and, in BC, the Carnegie Community Action Project’s 2018 report on a new vision for community-based mental health in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

The BC Hearing Voices Network stands with these calls to action. We recognize the importance of social and political context in shaping experiences of mental/emotional wellbeing and distress, as well as how these experiences are perceived and responded to. Poverty, racism, sexism and gendered violence, homelessness and housing insecurity, criminalization, displacement from ancestral territory, lack of social or legal protections, and lack of access to food, clean water, sanitation or medical care are just some of the issues that contribute to experiences of mental/emotional distress – including distressing voices and visions.

Voices and visions occur in the context of our lives, and can have different meanings and causes for different people. For some, these experiences are directly or indirectly related to experiences of trauma, injustice, discrimination, and disenfranchisement over our lifetimes. We hope to see lasting efforts to change the aspects of society that overwhelmingly create distress rather than focusing exclusively on changing individual people, which pathologizes understandable reactions to suffering and overlooks the communities we share – and which we share a responsibility to ensure are safe, just, and equal for all.

Upcoming conferences: Intervoice and ISPS

2021 World Hearing Voices Congress: Survey

Intervoice and the Hearing Voices Network Ireland want to hear from you: what format do you want to see the 2021 World Hearing Voices Congress in Cork, Ireland take? The organizers are considering a hybrid virtual conference and have requested input from those who are potentially interested in attending later this year (online or in person). You can learn more or take the survey here.

22nd Congress of the International Society for Psychological and Social Approaches to Psychosis: Co-constructing Healing Spaces

The 2021 ISPS Congress will be taking place in Perugia, Italy in September. The theme will be “co-constructing healing spaces” and will explore what humane approaches to psychosis can look like and what work remains to be done, as well incorporating an arts-focused event, Healing Spaces: Happening Without Authors. To learn more, you can read the conference brochure or visit the conference website.

Site Updates and Art Opportunity for Youth

First, a brief site update: the BC Hearing Voices Network website is in the process of switching administrators this month, and you may notice changes to group information pages, site layout, etc over the next few weeks. This shouldn’t impact any groups that are currently running! We’re just in the process of bringing the website up to date to reflect what’s actually going on around BC. For now, any questions about the BCHVN, Hearing Voices groups in BC, or the website itself can be directed to Rory Higgs at rhiggs@foundrybc.ca. Please note that it might take a little while for us to get back to you during this transitional period. We appreciate your patience!

Second, an update on opportunities in the community: Foundry and the Consumer Initiative Fund will be offering a series of virtual art groups starting in February for young people ages 12-24 who live anywhere in BC and who identify as experiencing voices, visions, unique beliefs, and/or psychosis. Participants will be provided with supplies from The Paint Spot valued at $125, and each group cohort will be six sessions long, with sessions held every other Wednesday from 5:30-7:00 pm. Sessions will take place over Zoom and consist of a combination of guided creative exercises, discussion, and free creating time, as well as participation in a collaborative art project and (optionally) the opportunity to have your work exhibited online. The group will. be peer-led, meaning that the facilitators are not clinicians, but people who identify as having personal experience of voices, visions, unique beliefs, and/or psychosis.

To learn more, or to register for the group, check out the Groups & Workshops for Young People page on the Foundry website: https://foundrybc.ca/virtual/youth-groups/

Or, view the Spotlight on Mental Health posting: https://www.spotlightonmentalhealth.com/consumer-initiative-fund-cif/

For any additional questions, please contact the group facilitators, Rory Higgs (rhiggs@foundrybc.ca) and Anne Liao (aliao@foundrybc.ca).

New Virtual Support Group: 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the Month

VOICES & VISIONS VIRTUAL SATURDAY SUPPORT GROUP
2ND AND FOURTH SATURDAYS OF THE MONTH
STARTING MAY 23, 2020

Explores living well with voices, visions and other unusual sensory experiences.

You can participate via computer or telephone.

Questions? Email: renea.mohammed@vch.ca or call 604-708-5276

Virtual Support Group Saturdays rev2-page-001

Logon & dial-in information for the 4th Saturday of the month:
Join Zoom Meeting
https://vancouvercoastalhealth.zoom.us/j/96896031133?pwd=T3dwc2Q2M3YrU3RZSGJyVStmbElkUT09

Meeting ID: 968 9603 1133
Password: 119643

One tap mobile
8557038985,,96896031133# Canada Toll-free

Password: 119643

Dial by your location
855 703 8985 Canada Toll-free
Meeting ID: 968 9603 1133

Password: 119643

Logon & dial-in information for the 2nd Saturday of the month:
Join Zoom Meeting
https://vancouvercoastalhealth.zoom.us/j/96189949737?pwd=S2pqcnBmaEE5eFBOMDRrOVhHeFlQdz09

Meeting ID: 961 8994 9737
Password: 731767

One tap mobile
8557038985,,96189949737# Canada Toll-free

Password: 731767

Dial by your location
855 703 8985 Canada Toll-free
Meeting ID: 961 8994 9737

Password: 731767

HOPE YOU CAN MAKE IT!

Hello,

Due to the Corona Virus, all groups in Vancouver are currently on break except for our new online support group. Groups in other areas may also be cancelled. We recommend you look at the contact information on flyers and check to see if the group is running before planning to attend.

Stay safe!

Warm regards,

BC Hearing Voices Network

Hearing Voices: Art & Storytelling Workshop, in Vancouver

Rory's story telling workshop flyer

Individuals who identify as hearing voices, seeing visions, having other unusual perceptions or beliefs, and/or living with psychosis are invited to participate in a six week program where they will create and discuss stories told through art and writing. The program will explore how lived experience can inspire works of fiction, as well as how creative self-expression and the art of storytelling can help us to make sense of our experiences. Participants will have the opportunity to experiment with a variety of processes and mediums, as well as to discuss the creative process in a safe, supportive group of peers, and encouraged to build their own creative practice outside of sessions. 

The program will incorporate principles from the Hearing Voices movement, namely, that we are all experts on our own lives, and that our individual stories and interpretations of our experiences are valuable. The program takes the stance that everyone has something valuable to contribute to the world of the arts, and that this is rooted in our uniqueness as people – including experiences such as hearing voices or seeing visions. 

All art supplies will be provided, including a sketchbook, but participants are welcome to bring any additional materials they would like to use. You do not need to be a client of mental health services. 

For more information, email hearingvoicesworkshop@outlook.com or call Rory Higgs at 778-689-1626. To register online, visit: https://forms.gle/12z9FDHFHfB3Zh2H8

 

Hearing Voices Network Study Club Re-starting

Hi all,

Just a reminder that our next Hearing Voices Network Study Club Meeting is coming up on March 22 from 6:30-8:00 pm.

These meeting are open to everyone. People who have unusual sensory experiences, family members, friends, mental health service providers and people in the community who are just interested.

On March 22, will be watching a 15 minute presentation on “psychosis and normality” by Will Hall and then discussing.

Location is Creekside Community Centre, 1 Athletes Way, Vancouver in Multipurpose Room 2.

More details are on the attached flyer below.

Hope you can make it!

HVN Study Club Flyer 12-page-001

Hearing Voices Network Study Club Meeting: Feb. 22, 2019

Hi all,

The Hearing Voices Network Study Club will have its next meeting tomorrow, on Friday, Feb 22, 2019.

This group meets to discuss podcasts, videos and articles related to the International Hearing Voice Network.

The group is open to everyone: people who hear voices or have other unusual sensory experiences, family members, service providers and people in the community who are just interested.

Please see flyer below for more information.

We meet at Creekside Community Centre, 1 Athletes Way, Vancouver, in a NEW ROOM: MULTIPURPOSE ROOM 2 from 6:30-8:00 pm.

At our meeting this Friday, we will be watching a video presentation from the 6th World Hearing Voices Congress titled: “Odysseying with the sirens: Struggling towards recovery in times of crisis”. Robin Timmers talks about hearing voices, recovery & emancipation: Lessons learned and future challenges.

You can see the talk at the following link or wait to watch it with us:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0XpkWcAiso
 
Hope you can make it 🙂