Monday, May 3, 2021

May is Mental Health Awareness Month!

May is Mental Health Awareness Month:  How to Get Mental Health Help
May is Mental Health Awareness Month:  How to Get Mental Health Help

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Everyone has mental health! This designation for May was begun in 1949 by Mental Health America. Their theme this year is “Tools 2 Thrive.” Mental Health America provides resources to improve personal mental health and increase resiliency.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) promotes the theme “You Are Not Alone.” NAMI states that the purpose of this theme is to “focus on the healing value of connecting in safe ways, prioritizing mental health and acknowledging that it’s okay to not be okay.”

In Canada, Mental Health Week 2021 Is May 3-9. This year’s theme is “Name it, don’t numb it.”

In the UK, Mental Health Awareness Week is designated May 10-16 in 2021. The 2021 theme is “Nature.” A strong connection to the natural world is good for anyone’s psychological and emotional health.

Did you know that one in five US adults and one in six US youth and teens will experience a mental illness in any given year? It is a sad statistic that less than half of them will receive any treatment. One in five homeless people in the US have a serious mental health condition. Over a third of incarcerated adults and nearly three-quarters of youth in the juvenile justice system have been diagnosed with a mental illness.

Anyone who is affected by mental illness, including family members, coworkers and friends of those directly affected, should receive appropriate support without stigma. With proper care, those struggling with mental illness can achieve a high quality of life and be happy and fulfilled. Nobody needs to feel alone.

Please check out the informative poster sets on Virtual Ability’s Healthinfo Island during May to learn more about mental illness and the resources available. You can teleport to any of the eight displays and exhibits using the SLURLs below. Click on the poster with the same name as the title of the poster set to receive a notecard of all the text of the posters plus descriptions of the images. If you click each poster, you will get a message with additional information and live links.

Mental Health Awareness Month: How to Get Mental Health Help
    SLURL: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Healthinfo%20Island/111/81/24

Minority Mental Health Equity
    SLURL: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Healthinfo%20Island/21/62/32

Borderline Personality Disorder
    SLURL: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Healthinfo%20Island/99/37/26

Dementia
    SLURL: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Healthinfo%20Island/51/27/28

Bipolar Disorder
    SLURL: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Healthinfo%20Island/25/24/30

Basic Facts About Depression
    SLURL: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Healthinfo%20Island/196/156/23

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
    SLURL: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Healthinfo%20Island/187/181/24

Music and Mental Health
    SLURL: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Healthinfo%20Island/172/154/22

 

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Cookies Eat Dinosaur

The Caramel That Tried To Escape
The Caramel That Tried To Escape

By Orange Planer, Virtual Ability member

It was a quiet Sunday afternoon when my wife said, “I need chocolate!”  I like to think I’m a good husband, so I raise my bulk off the couch to make my top-secret chocolate cookies.  Re-reading the recipe is always a good thing, so after doing that I promptly forget everything, mix all the dry ingredients, crack the two eggs into a bowl, and wait for the butter to soften.

After an hour or so the butter is softened.  The recipe doesn’t make a lot of cookies, so out comes the smaller bowl and the beater with the rubber scrapers on the edge.  Time to cream the butter (beat a lot of air into it).  The butter goes into the bowl, I start the mixer on low and slowly speed it up.  Great, the butter has gone from soft yellow to white with the additional air.  The recipe says to add two cups of sugar (to beat a lot more air into it).

We have trouble:  the sugar was combined with all the other dry ingredients.  Now what?  Well, there's sugar in there SOMEwhere, hopefully it will help cream the butter…  I add the first of two cups of dry ingredients and put the mixer on low.  Uh oh.  I forgot cocoa powder is light and prone to fly all over the place.  Result:  happy, graceful cocoa powder clouds rise into the air.

In for a dime, in for a dollar.  I continue adding dry ingredients with the mixer on low.  So far, so good, the cocoa powder clouds are subsiding, but the butter is sticking to the beater shaft.  Increasing the mixer speed from 2 to 4 should take care of that.

We have more trouble:  I did not wait until the dry ingredients were incorporated.  Now unhappy, not-so-graceful, cocoa powder clouds color the air around me.  It’s in my mouth, it's coating the mixer, the rest of the kitchen, and it's all over me.

Well, that did not work, so after turning off the mixer and scraping the butter off the beater shaft, the dry ingredients get incorporated.  Now it is time to finish creaming the butter with the mixer at high speed.  That is also when I realize the bowl is not big enough. Dough is starting to spew all over me and the kitchen.

I turn off the mixer, clean up the mess, and get out the BIG bowl, 5.5 quarts.

And, on a hunch to keep the clouds under control, I change from the beater with the scrapers to the one without scrapers.  I also bring out the two-piece bowl cover that has a ramp where I can slide in dry ingredients.  Of course, the way this day is going, it does not fit.  It was made for a smaller bowl.

All right, I remove the half of the bowl cover without the ramp, hold the part with the ramp in place using one hand, and turn the mixer on low.  With my free hand I try to put the cap on the vanilla extract.  I knock the bottle over, spilling a teaspoon or so on the counter and all over the instructions.  After picking up the bottle with my free hand, I’m starting wonder whether I should just go to the store, but my pride is at stake.  These cookies won’t defeat me!

I am still holding the half bowl cover with one hand, so I grab a cloth and wipe up the vanilla with the other hand.  I think about putting the cloth in the sink, say “heck with it,” and throw the cloth onto the instructions, 'cause.

Time to start adding the eggs.  This is a little tricky because the recipe says to add one egg at a time.  The first egg goes in just fine, along with about half the egg white using the ramp on the cover.  I wait for the egg to mix in, pour the other egg down the ramp and into the bowl… and somehow the egg yolk misses the ramp, breaking on the counter.  I sigh in frustration.  Well, there's nothing on the counter but cocoa powder, so I scrape it up and put it in the bowl and let it finish mixing.  Now it's time to put in the dry ingredients.

Well, the rest of the dry ingredients.

Trying to keep the unhappy clouds from happening again, I leave the mixer on low and pour a cup of the mixture down the ramp.  Had I forgotten that there was egg white on that ramp?  Yes.  A whole bunch of the dry ingredients sticks on the ramp, but most of it gets in the bowl.  But because the mixer is moving, unfortunately, my attempt at reducing the unhappy clouds is an abject failure.

Now there are angry cocoa powder clouds that make me think of Mt. Kilauea and I can barely see anything.  No wonder they evacuate people from around active volcanoes.


Picture of an erupting volcano with clouds of brown gas

Finally, the remaining cocoa powder and the rest of the dry ingredients get incorporated, but as before it is sticking to the shaft of the beater.  I speed up the mixer to 8 to spin it off with no luck.

Time to bring out the muscle.  Out comes the silicone spatula.  I am partway through mixing the dough when I realize that (a) my trigger finger is bad – the right ring finger is locked on the spatula – I cannot change grip; and (b) remember when I said I stopped using the beater with the scrapers?  Yeah, that would have been useful right now.  About a half cup of the dry mixture is at the bottom of the bowl, unmixed.

I pull the spatula from my hand and unwind my finger with the other hand.  Now I can change grip from “fist” style to how I hold a pen.  I slowly (because I forgot silicone spatulas are freakishly soft!) mix the rest of the dry ingredients in.  I ask my wife if she wants to taste the batter.  After observing the kitchen, the bowl, the implements of destruction, and me she just licks my arm.

"Tastes good!" she says, and heads back to the living room.

I sigh.

The dough is now cooling in the fridge.  Everything's been wiped down, washed, put in the dishwasher, or otherwise sanitized.

But it will not surprise me if my coffee tomorrow turns out to be mocha.

Top Secret Chocolate Cookies


Yield: 2 1/2 dozen cookies
Level: Easy
  • 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs, unbeaten
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • White Sanding sugar, for garnish (optional)

  1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together with a hand mixer.

  2. Add the eggs and vanilla extract to the creamed mixture and mix until combined.

  3. In a medium bowl, mix the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, and salt.

  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and continue mixing until incorporated.

  5. Roll the dough into TWO logs that are about 2-inches high and 1-foot long. Wrap the dough logs in waxed paper and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

  6. Preheat oven to 350°F.

  7. Once the dough is thoroughly chilled, slice the logs into 1/2-inch thick rounds and dip all sides in sanding sugar. Place dough rounds on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes.

  8. Cool cookies on a wire rack.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

April 5-11, 2021, is National Public Health Week

National Public Health Week, April 5-11, 2021
Building Bridges to Better Health

April 5-11, 2021, is NationalPublic Health Week. The 2021 theme is “Building Bridges to Better Health.” 

What is included in public health? It is all efforts to promote health, prevent disease and encourage healthy behaviors. It can occur at national, state, and local levels.

You probably think of antismoking advertisements and other campaigns to increase awareness of health issues and wellness strategies. You may realize that fluoride in public drinking water is a public health effort. Presently, public health efforts include widespread vaccination programs.

Public health also promotes advocacy and action for health-related social justice. Making communities safe and healthy for all community members is public health’s top priority.

Although the most obvious and historically prevalent arenas for public health involve physical health, mental health is now understood to be equally important. Please mark your calendar to attend Virtual Ability’s Mental Health Symposium in Second Life, or watch the sessions live on Virtual Ability’s YouTube channel. The Symposium takes place on Friday, April 16, between 7am and 3:30 pm, Pacific Time.

A recent public opinion survey showed that almost three-quarters of Americans agree that “The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed that major changes are needed to our public health systems.” What can be done by our nations, states, communities, and ourselves as individuals to improve public health? Where is public health headed?

Stay safe and stay healthy!


National Public Health Week
An initiative of the American Public Health Association


Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Mental Health Symposium, Friday, April 16, 2021, “Mental Health in Trying Times”

Virtual Ability Presents

the 10th Annual Mental Health Symposium
“Mental Health in Trying Times”

Friday, April 16, 2021
Sojourner Auditorium,
Virtual Ability Island
In Second Life

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Virtual%20Ability/53/172/23



The 10th annual Mental Health Symposium will take place in Virtual Ability’s Sojourner Auditorium, on Virtual Ability island on Friday, April 16, 2021. There is no charge to attend.

The theme of this Symposium is “Mental Health in Trying Times.”  Our international group of presenters will offer a wide interpretation of the theme, based on their interests and academic backgrounds.

The Symposium will take place in the virtual world of Second Life, at the Sojourner Auditorium on Virtual Ability island. The SLURL for the auditorium is:  http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Virtual%20Ability/53/172/23.  (You can create a free Second Life account through Virtual Ability’s Sign-Up Portal (https://virtualability.org/second-life-signup/), entering at the beginning of our New Resident Orientation Course. You can then post the auditorium’s SLURL into Nearby Chat, click the green underlined link, and teleport to the auditorium.)

Virtual Ability 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.

Mental Health Symposium 2021 Schedule of Events

April 16, 2021. All times are in SLT/PST.

Start Time Presenter Name Institution
7:00 am
Clara González Sanguino
Anti-stigma chair University Complutense of Madrid - Group 5
Title of Talk:
The impact of Covid-19 on our mental health: A longitudinal study from the beginning of the pandemic to the return to the new normality in Spain
Presenter Biography:
Clara González Sanguino has just obtained her PhD in psychology at the Complutense University of Madrid, where she is currently on a postdoctoral fellowship and part of the anti-stigma chair UCM-Group 5. Her research is mainly focused on the stigma associated with different mental health problems, and with the arrival of Covid-19 on the consequences of the pandemic for mental health.
Summary of Talk:
Spain has been one of the countries most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, leading the world on several occasions in the number of infected and dead people. The aim of this research was to know the consequences throughout the first wave of the pandemic on depressive symptomatology, anxiety and post-traumatic stress by means of a longitudinal study in the general population. Other measures such as loneliness, spiritual well-being, discrimination or social support were also evaluated. The results showed the impact on mental health over the months, with values appearing to improve with the return to the new normal. Loneliness, spiritual well-being, being female and younger age were the main predictors of the impact on our mental health.
8:30 am

Laura Ritchie and Daniel P. Cervone
University of Chichester Conservatoire, UK and University of Illinois at Chicago
Title of Talk:
Projects pursued and abandoned: Pandemic reactions of care & coping
Presenter Biography:
Laura Ritchie is Professor of Learning and Teaching at the University of Chichester, UK. Laura’s teaching is heavily influenced by her research into people’s self-efficacy beliefs and metacognitive processes as they learn and perform/carry out tasks. Her recent book Yes I Can: Learn to use the Power of Self-efficacy is a practical and personal book about self-efficacy, strategic thinking, and recognising possibility in order to adopt the yes of self-efficacy into daily life.
Daniel Cervone is Professor of Psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His research has addressed issues in social-cognitive analysis of personality and behavior including self-efficacy processes, self-regulation, and the influence of affective states on thinking about the self. In recent years his main effort has been to advance a model of the overall architecture of cognitive and affective personality systems: The Knowledge and Appraisal Personality Architecture or KAPA model, which, in research by Dan and others has shown how social-cognitive systems can account for a classic phenomenon in personality psychology, namely, the cross-situational consistency of psychological response.
Summary of Talk:
In early 2020 with the global spread of COVID-19, ‘lockdown’ imposed travel restrictions that affected many aspects of day to day living, including the pursuit of meaningful personal goals. This study investigated the impact of that initial period of lockdown on people’s views and self-beliefs about personal projects they were already working to complete when they were suddenly interrupted. Participants were invited to complete an online questionnaire collecting both qualitative and quantitative data about self-efficacy beliefs and free text responses describing their goals and projects, whether they believed they could still complete them, if and how they were pursuing them, and whether they still cared about the project. At the time, life had been ‘normal’ only a few weeks before and participants were able to compare how they felt both before and in these new lockdown conditions. There was a notable drop in self-efficacy levels; over two thirds of the 161 participants were either unsure or did not believe they could still carry out their goals. Over a quarter either abandoned or were uncertain they could pursue their goals, but despite this, people continued to care about their goals. The self-reported strategies for dealing with the new situation included aspects of emotional and problem-focused coping and involved active planning and engaging with metacognitive strategies. The implications and usefulness of creative engagement and strategies for coping with realigned goals beyond lockdown are discussed.
10:00 am
Catherine Ettman
Boston University School of Public Health
Title of Talk:
Mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic: A story of depression and growing inequity
Presenter Biography:
Catherine Ettman is Chief of Staff and Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Dean’s Office at Boston University School of Public Health. Catherine is pursuing a PhD in Health Services Research at Brown University School of Public Health. Catherine studied public policy at Princeton University. She has previously worked in campaign politics in Washington, D.C., and Texas. She is the co-editor of Urban Health (Oxford University Press, 2019). Her work explores the social and economic factors that shape population mental health.
Summary of Talk:
While the COVID-19 pandemic has upended daily life for all people, the economic and mental health consequences of the moment have not been borne equally. This presentation will report the first findings published in the U.S. on depression severity experienced during the pandemic relative to before COVID-19, and emerging trends for increasing inequities. We will explore leading edge data on mental health, assets, and what we can learn from this moment to build back a better world post-pandemic.
11:30 am

Tom Boellstorff, Evan Conaway, Sandy Wenger
University of California, Irvine
Title of Talk:
Virtual Worlds, Mental Well-Being, and COVID
Presenter Biography:
Tom Boellstorff: I’m a professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine. My original research was about sexuality in Indonesia and includes the books The Gay Archipelago and A Coincidence of Desires. Since 2004 I have been studying the cultures of virtual worlds, and have written about this in my books Coming of Age in Second Life and Ethnography and Virtual Worlds: A Handbook of Method. I have also studied disability in virtual worlds. Two articles about that research are “The Ability of Place” and “The Opportunity to Contribute.” I’m excited to be working with Evan and Sandy on this project!

Evan Conaway: I’m a graduate student in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine! My focus is on video game preservation, and in my dissertation I explore the motivations, values, and strategies of people who are working to bring old online virtual worlds back to life, closely examining the challenges and meanings that emerge as a result of the centrality of servers to these endeavors. I have also worked on projects related to mental wellness among youth online, LGBTQ gaming communities, and data localization laws. I’ve been an avid gamer since I was a kid, and I’m thrilled to be bringing my passion for games, virtual worlds, and specifically Animal Crossing to this project!

Sandy Wenger: I am a graduate student in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine. My research is about love and relationships among queer men in Malaysia. I examine how men navigate competing ideas about masculinity, sexuality, and male bodies in their relationships with one another. Before moving to the US, I spent several years working at a university college in Malaysia where I taught classes on food and culture, culture and media policies, and research methods in the social sciences. While I do play the occasional game (this may or may not primarily happen on my phone), participating in a project that focuses on virtual worlds is new and exciting for me.
Summary of Talk:
This talk is based on a research project supported by the National Science Foundation, involving four anthropologists (Tom Boellstorff, Evan Conaway, Chandra Middleton, and Sandy Wenger) and the filmmaker Bernhard Drax. With a primary data collection period of July 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021, the research project took place entirely online, focusing on the virtual worlds Animal Crossing: New Horizons (ACNH) and Second Life. In this talk we will focus on ACNH, with some comparative insights from Second Life. We will discuss how residents of these virtual worlds have used them to respond to the challenges of the pandemic with regard to mental well-being, as well as ways in which the virtual worlds were experienced as less beneficial to mental well-being. At this early stage of our data analysis, we will set forth some preliminary conclusions and their broader implications, and look forward to audience questions and insights.
1:00 pm
Ryan Schultz
University of Manitoba, Canada
Title of Talk:
Acedia During the Coronavirus Pandemic: A 5th-Century Term for a 21st-Century Problem
Presenter Biography:
Ryan Schultz is a science and agriculture librarian at the University of Manitoba Libraries in Winnipeg, Canada, and for the last three and half years he has been writing a blog about social VR, virtual worlds, and the metaverse (including coverage of steals, deals, and freebies in Second Life!) at https://ryanschultz.com. From time to time he writes about other topics, such as the pandemic, and mental health issues (he is a mental health consumer and he writes from that perspective).
Summary of Talk:
Acedia, described as listlessness, distraction, and wanting to avoid the task at hand, was first identified by 5th century monk and theologian John Cassian. The spatial and social constrictions of 5th-century monastic life are also a rather apt and concise description of the governmental and societal responses to the coronavirus pandemic. Social distancing limits physical contact, and quarantines and lockdowns constrict physical space and movement. Working from home day after day, and rarely leaving that space, means a distinct lack of external stimulation. In other words, the 21st-century coronavirus pandemic conditions we face ironically approximate those of 5th-century solitary desert monks.
2:30 pm
Mark Czeisler
Monash University (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)
Title of Talk:
Mental health, substance use, and suicidal ideation during the COVID-19 pandemic—disproportionately affected populations
Presenter Biography:
Mark Czeisler, A.B. (he/him), is a Fulbright Scholar and Ph.D. student in psychology at the Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health of Monash University (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia). He is also a Research Trainee in the Department of Psychiatry of Brigham and Women's Hospital (Boston, Massachusetts, USA), and an Honorary Research Fellow at the Institute for Breathing and Sleep of Austin Health (Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia). Since March 2020, Mark has been leading The COVID-19 Outbreak Public Evaluation (COPE) Initiative, a public health surveillance activity launched to assess (1) public attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs about the COVID-19 pandemic and its mitigation, and (2) mental and behavioral health during the infectious disease outbreak.
Summary of Talk:
The COVID-19 pandemic and its mitigation have introduced challenges for communities related to the morbidity and mortality caused by the disease itself, and related to mental and behavioral health. Just as with the disease itself, mental and behavioral health inequities are evident. This presentation reviews evidence on mental and behavioral health in 2020, particularly in terms of populations that have disproportionately experienced adverse mental and behavioral health symptoms, and considers how we may reduce these inequities going forward.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

SAVE THE DATE! - Friday April 16, 2021 - Virtual Ability, Inc. Mental Health Symposium

 

Bluebirds singing sweetly in a tree with new green leaves
Virtual Ability, Inc.
2021 Mental Health Symposium
Mental Health in Trying Times

Friday April 16, 2021 is Virtual Ability, Inc.'s Mental Health Symposium.  This year the theme is “Mental Health in Trying Times.”

Please view Virtual Ability's page for the event at Virtual Ability, Inc. - YouTube.

You can attend “live” in Second Life or watch the live stream on Virtual Ability, Inc.'s YouTube site.

We hope you can attend!



Important Goals for Maintaining Goal Achievement: Self-confidence and Satisfaction

Just be yourself, you are beautiful


We’ve all heard the stories about yo-yo dieting: the weight comes off then goes right back on. We know of people who have quit smoking or drinking… numerous times. The inability to maintain goals once achieved may seem inevitable, but there are individuals who have long-term success. How do they do it?

Of course part of the answer is that they have adopted lifestyle changes that support the goal. But there is more going on.

A review of factors associated with long-term weight loss maintenance revealed that those who managed to keep their goal weight had certain personality traits, such as an internal locus of control, and that the goal had intrinsic value.

Weight loss maintainers were more likely to engage with long-term self help groups and have face-to-face or web-based interventions. They had relatively low levels of depression. And most important, they were self-confident in their ability to lose weight, and they were satisfied with their results.

What does this mean for those of us with other types of lifestyle modification goals?

We all need to add increased confidence in our own abilities and increased satisfaction with the strategies we are using to support goal achievement to our actual lifestyle change goal. While not usually considered as part of goal setting, self-confidence and satisfaction are necessary for maintenance of lifestyle change results.


Monday, March 22, 2021

What is Adaptive Driving?

Car designed for those with disabilities

While not everyone with disabilities is able to drive a car, some can do so if they have the appropriate training and tools.

The process for adaptive driving begins with a clinical evaluation by an occupational therapist (OT). This is usually done following a referral by a neurologist or other physician. An occupational therapist qualified to perform driving evaluations often has had professional training to become a Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist (CDRS). The OT/CDRS will check your current driving skills and your physical capability. The assessment will include your vision, reaction time, cognition, muscle strength in core, arms and legs, and range of motion. If any areas of weakness are identified, the CDRS may refer you to another specialist, such as a physical therapist (PT), ophthalmologist, or speech-language therapist.

The instructors in an adaptive driving training program will help you find the best adaptive equipment for your car, and guide you in practicing to use it. The CDRS will make other suggestions to help you learn to drive safely, based on your individual driving habits and needs.

Then it is time to get your own auto modified. The CDRS will write up the specific equipment that works best for you. These adaptive tools are best installed by a National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association certified mechanic.

Unfortunately, insurance generally does not pay for adaptive auto equipment nor for the necessary evaluation and training. However, some car manufacturers offer rebates on the purchase of adaptive equipment to be added to their vehicles.

If you do not feel safe driving, or if you never thought you would be able to make use of that important independence tool called a car, consider finding out more about driver rehabilitation and adaptive driving. Many great options are available.

And away you go!


March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

The month of March has been designated as Brain Injury Awareness Month. One purpose of this special time is to increase awareness of how to prevent traumatic brain injury (TBI). Another purpose is to promote strategies which can improve the quality of life for persons living with TBI and their families.

TBIs are damage to the nerve tissue in the brain. They are caused by an impact or force to the head or body, or by a penetrating injury to the head. They are a major cause of death and disability in the US each year.

If the person with the head injury survives they may recover quickly or they may face effects that can last the remainder of their lives. They may have impaired movement, damaged vision, hearing or speech, problems with cognition and memory, or personality changes or depression. These issues will affect their family members as well as the person with the TBI.

Falls can cause TBIs and other serious injuries, and are a common concern among the elderly. Falls are the second leading cause of TBI-related deaths. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has created the STEADI (Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths & Injuries) program with materials for older persons to explain how to help prevent falls and decrease fall risks.

On Thursday, March 25, at 1pm SLT (Pacific time), Namaara MacMoragh of the Brain Energy Support Team will present on brain injury recovery and daily life in the Meeting Room on Healthinfo Island. You are welcome to join us for this session in Second Life here: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Healthinfo%20Island/206/73/22.

You may also want to visit the Healthinfo Island poster exhibit “Brain Injury Awareness Month” here: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Healthinfo%20Island/99/37/26.

For more information on brain injuries, including school sports concussions, please see: https://www.cdc.gov/headsup/basics/index.html.