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.

Submission: “Genesis of a Mad Person,” by Sankofa Backwards-Looking Prophetess

No matter what authority one exercises, one can never fully take possession of another’s story, as long as one knows one’s power (and is not physically contained, or rather detained), one can thwart narrative containment – grab the pen and throw in a plot twist.

In this lyric essay, author Sankofa Backwards-Looking Prophetess weaves together poetry, prose, and prophecy to reflect on the nature of shared and created realities for survivors of trauma. Sankofa writes from the intersection of the Mad, 2SLGBTQA+, and Black liberation movements, punctuating wry observation with cascades of magic and metaphor for a read that is as much disquieting dreamscape as it is social commentary.

The following piece was written on traditional, ancestral and unceded ʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō, Stz’uminus and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) territories, where the author resides.

Content warning: includes references to trauma; incarceration; sexuality; Christianity and Christian imperialism; child abuse, including childhood sexual abuse

Continue reading “Submission: “Genesis of a Mad Person,” by Sankofa Backwards-Looking Prophetess”

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 update: New web address

You may have noticed that our former web address, bchearingvoicesnetwork.wordpress.com, now redirects to a fancy new one: bchvn.ca. We think you’ll agree that this new address is a bit easier to remember! Don’t worry if you need some time to get used to the new address, though – the old one should still work just fine. While we’re in the process of switching over to the new bchvn.ca domain, you may have temporary trouble loading the BC Hearing Voices Network website. This should be resolved within the next two days.

We’ve also set up a new email address for questions related to the BC Hearing Voices Network or support groups in BC. You can now contact the BCHVN site administrator here: admin@bchvn.ca.

Thank you for your patience as we continue updating the site!

Call for submissions: Art, poetry, essays, and more

Do you have an article, work of art, poem, autobiographical essay, or other work related to your experience of hearing voices that you’d like us to share on the BC Hearing Voices Network blog? We’d love to hear from you! Anyone who self-identifies as having experienced voices, visions, unique beliefs, other unusual sensory experiences or extreme states, and/or psychosis is invited to submit art, short written works (approximately 1000 words), or other visual, audio, or videographic works. Please note that submissions will be reviewed by the blog administrator, and we may choose not to publish a submission if the content is excessively graphic, hateful or discriminatory (for example, if it contains racist or homophobic comments), contains identifying/private information about other people, or is otherwise inappropriate.

Works can be submitted via email to admin@bchvn.ca with the subject line “Blog Submission”. Please also include the following information:

  • How would you like to be credited for your work? You can choose to provide your full name, first name, a pseudonym, or to remain anonymous.
  • In a few words, how would you describe your work? For example, “autobiographical essay,” “abstract painting,” “mixed media,” “experimental,” “humorous,” “non-fiction,” or “short story” are possible ways you might describe your submission.
  • Is there anything you would like people to know about you? If you like, you can provide a short bio. For example, “Tom is a visual artist living in Vancouver with his two cats. Most of his work is in acrylic, but recently he has been experimenting with collage.”

For any other questions, please contact admin@bchvn.ca. Please note that it may take several days to respond to your email.

New virtual support group – North Shore

The North Shore Voices and Visions support group is going virtual! The group will be held over Zoom, and is open to everyone with lived experience of voices, visions, or other unusual sensory experiences, as well as their supporters. The group will be held on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of every month, from 5:00-6:00 pm. You don’t need to register to attend this group, and you don’t need to be the client of a mental health team. For more information, call Debbie Sesula at 604-983-6023 (ext. 1).

Link to join (will work for all sessions): https://phsa.zoom.us/j/61674532688?pwd=eXFBbk8rVHZaSFYvWGIxOEVSRElYdz09
Meeting ID: 616 7453 2688
Password: 773404

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

 

Wanted: Hearing Voices Support Group Facilitators

Wanted: Hearing Voices Network Support Group Peer Facilitator

Closing:  Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019

Contract with: The CI&I Peer Support Program (Voices and Visions), Vancouver Coastal Health

Location of work: Various sites in Vancouver, BC.

Duration of placement:  1 year with potential to renew

Rate of Pay: $15 per hour (you are paid $30 per session).

The Vancouver Visions and Voices Groups are a peer-led support groups based on the International Hearing Voices Network. Their aim is to be a place where people who hear voices or see visions can give and receive support, share techniques for living well with their experiences and/or explore the meaning those experiences have for them. The groups are facilitated by peers who support the smooth functioning of the group and make Hearing Voices Network resources available to participants.

Summary of Responsibilities

  • Set-up of room and facilitate support group meetings – ensuring meetings run smoothly
  • Be open to a range of ways of understanding experiences
  • Ensure everyone has a chance to speak
  • Draw on Hearing Voices Network resource materials in discussions and make these resources available to participants
  • Share personal experience for the benefit of the group or individuals

Skills and Abilities Required

  • Lived experience of hearing voices, visions or having other unusual sensory experiences
  • Willingness to take group facilitator training & also attend an orientation to the Hearing Voices Network
  • Excellent listening and communication skills
  • Ability to attend sessions consistently and be highly reliable for attending sessions you have signed up for
  • Successful completion of a criminal record check (organized by us)

Time Commitment

Community groups run twice a month during the day. Our hospital group runs weekly Tuesday evenings. You would be part of a rotating team of facilitators which means you would not be attending every session for each group and so have some flexibility with your schedule. You can also choose which groups you are available for. Our groups are facilitated by teams of two Peers.

Start Date: ASAP

To apply:

Please submit a resume and cover letter to:

Renea Mohammed, Peer Support Program, Consumer Initiative Fund, Vancouver Coastal Health, #200-520 West 6th Avenue, Vancouver, BC V5Z 4H5 (Telephone 604-708-5276; Faxes accepted to: Attention: Renea Mohammed, 604-874-7661)

If you wish to email your application send to: renea.mohammed@vch.ca with the following subject line: “HVN Group Application 2019”

No later than : Nov. 26, 2019

VCH Logo    LOGO

 

Co-existing with Voices by Golya Mirderikvand

It was exactly four years ago when my voice hearing experience first started. Dazed, confused, and convinced that spiritual beings were communicating with me, I was taken to the psychiatric ward of our local hospital, where I was certified for about two weeks. If you were to tell me then that these voices would still be around a few years later, I probably would not have believed you. I always regarded this experience as temporary and something that will come to pass; a short-lived spiritual training as I thought of it then.

The magical reality and beliefs I had come to accept, came to an abrupt end when I was given a mental health diagnosis by the medical community. Trying hard to make sense of my new experiences solely based on the medical model was a harsh new reality. After several months of various pharmaceutical drug treatments, I became disillusioned that the medical model alone was going to “fix” me. The voices were always there, constantly, no matter what medication or dose I was on. Thankfully, I caught on with the Hearing Voices Movement at a fairly early stage on my journey of recovery. I reached out to my nurse and asked that she put me in touch with a support group where I would be able to connect with other voice hearers. I went to the Hearing Voices Study Club and felt extremely relieved to connect with other people who had similar lived experiences. This group is a safe and welcoming space for people to share their experiences and alternative strategies that work for them. It was learning about these alternative approaches that gave me new tools to work with and ultimately healed me.

 I came to realize that the content of my voices actually matter and that they cannot be just silenced with medication. It was extremely helpful to talk about the content of my voices with a therapist who helped me deconstruct them and get at the root of the underlying messages, which were often times linked to my insecurities and core beliefs. I learned to engage with my voices constructively and set clear boundaries. In short, I have learned to co-exist with my voices. I no longer reject the experience and by accepting it, I have managed to establish an amicable co-operative relationship where there’s mutual trust and respect. These days, rather than talking to me and distracting me all the time, my voices pick certain pre-established times of the day to chat with me. I welcome this and let them have their moment. I feel in complete control of the experience and can simply turn it off when I don’t want it around. Why might I still want this experience around, you might ask, if I can very well make it go away? Well, this brings me to another important point: this experience can be made into a positive one. There is a good percentage of people out there who hear voices and have come to see their experience as life enhancing and valuable.

 Thanks to these alternative approaches that I have learned from other experts by experience, I have been able to live a full, engaging, and meaningful life, which involves me working full time and being an active member of my community.