Sunday, May 28, 2023

May is Mental Health Awareness Month – Can you pass this quiz?

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Surely, you’ve read an article about it, or attended Virtual Ability’s Mental Health Symposium. We hope you checked out the poster displays on Healthinfo Island. There have been lots of opportunities to learn the facts about mental health.

Are you ready to test your knowledge? Here’s a short true-false quiz. Try to answer all of them before looking up the answers!

  1. Everyone gets depressed from time to time. Depression isn’t a real mental health condition. True or False?

  2. Mental health diagnoses are common. True or False?

  3. Mental health conditions are not really illnesses. True or False?

  4. People with mental health conditions could just “snap out of it” if they really tried. True or False?

  5. Someone with a mental health condition most likely brought it on themself. True or False?

  6. If you have a mental health condition, you shouldn’t be employed. True or False?

  7. People with mental health conditions are no more likely to be violent or dangerous to others than are people without mental health conditions. True or False?

  8. Counseling helps people with mental health conditions, so nobody needs to be medicated. True or False?

Scroll down to find the answers.

Keep going...

A little more...


  1. False. There is a difference between ordinary depression and clinical depression. Temporary mild sadness about something is not uncommon, and soon passes. Clinical depression is a serious condition that interferes with everyday activities and relationships. It is described as a mental illness in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

  2. True. Mental health conditions are common worldwide and are nothing to be ashamed of. About one in five US adults and one in six children have some kind of mental health problem. Not all are serious, though, and the severity of each condition falls along a spectrum. Approximately one in twenty US adults has a serious mental health condition.

  3. False. Mental illness is identified by its symptoms and causes. It is as real as any other kind of illness or disease. Diagnosis with a mental illness is helpful, because it is the key to access to appropriate care.

  4. False. Stigmatization of mental illness is unfortunately common. This misbelief is harmful to persons with mental illness, because it blames the person for not getting better. Medical issues need medical treatment. Some symptoms can’t be easily controlled, however, even when the person is compliant with recommended treatment.

  5. False. Mental health problems are complex, usually caused by an interactive combination of genetics, environmental factors, and life event triggers such as trauma. People are individuals, with different capabilities for dealing with these potential causes. But mental illness is never a “fault” of the person dealing with it.

  6. False. Although underemployment of persons with mental illness is common, individuals living with mental illness can enter or return to the workplace. They can be as productive as any other employee; employers are legally required to provide appropriate accommodations for their needs. The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) provides employment modification suggestions for employers and employees.

  7. True. Despite what is reported in the media, most people with mental illness are no more dangerous to others than are those without mental illness. In fact, a person dealing with mental illness is ten times more likely to be a victim of violence or abuse than are others.

  8. False. While it is true that counseling or psychotherapy is a cost-effective and long-lasting treatment method that helps many people with common types of mental illness, some conditions need to be addressed through hospitalization and medication. Every condition and every individual is different and requires individualized treatment plans.

Healthinfo Island Displays and Exhibits for May 2023

May is Mental Health Awareness Month! Read more about the special celebration here:

NOTE: All the poster sets on Healthinfo Island this month support Virtual Ability's annual Mental Health Symposium on Friday, May 12. For information on the Symposium:

You can teleport to any of the eight displays and exhibits using the SLURLs in this blog entry. Click on the poster with the same name as the title of the poster set and you will get a notecard that contains 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.

Central Pavilion of Healthinfo Island

Check out the calming breathing exercise on the back wall!

Loneliness, Social Isolation & Mental Health

Counteracting Loneliness

Music and Mental Health

Minority Mental Health Equity

Tips for Maintaining Mental Health

Boost Your Resilience

Stress Awareness

How to Get Mental Health Help


Thanks to Mook for assistance with the posters this month.

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Mental Health Symposium 2023 Schedule of Events (cont.)

 Virtual Ability Presents
the 12th Annual Mental Health Symposium
“Self-Identity and Mental Health”
Friday, May 12, 2023
Sojourner Auditorium,
Virtual Ability Island
In Second Life

Mental Health Symposium 2023 Schedule of Events (cont.)

All times are in SLT/PDT.

Start Time: 9:00 am
Presenter: Dr. Kate Cooper

Institution: University of Bath

Presenter Biography: Dr. Kate Cooper is a clinical psychologist and researcher from the University of Bath in the UK. Kate’s work focuses on understanding social identity and gender identity in autistic people to promote psychological wellbeing.

Title of Talk: 
Autism social identity and well-being

Abstract: This presentation will start by looking at different ways to understand identity. It will focus on research about identity in autistic people and how social identity processes can support psychological wellbeing.

Start Time: 10:00 am
Dr. Fred Berlin

Johns Hopkins

Presenter Biography: Fred S. Berlin, M.D., Ph.D. is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and an Attending Physician at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. He is the Director of the National Institute for the Study, Prevention and Treatment of Sexual Trauma and the Director of The Johns Hopkins Sex and Gender Clinic. Dr. Berlin has given addresses at the White House, the US Senate, and the European Parliament, and frequently testifies as an expert witness in addition to his numerous publications.

Title of Talk: 
Transgender Persons (Gender Dysphoria)

Abstract: The presentation will describe the nature of gender dysphoria (sometimes called gender incongruence), and what is known about its etiology. It will review historical and cross cultural examples of transgender persons and communities. It will discuss whether transgender persons should be permitted to participate in athletic events in keeping with their personal sense of gender identity, and it will address the question of what is a man and what is a woman. It will briefly discuss hormonal, surgical, and mental health supports available for transgender (and non-binary) adults and children.

Start Time: 11:00 am
Dr. Bonnie Vest and Dr. Rachel Hoopsick

Institution:     University at Buffalo,
                        University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Presenter Biography: Dr. Bonnie M. Vest is a Research Associate Professor in the Primary Care Research Institute, Department of Family Medicine, at the University at Buffalo. She is a medical anthropologist and her research focuses on the complex relationships between identity, substance use, mental health, and social-environmental factors that impact healthcare utilization and overall well-being of military populations, using qualitative and mixed-methods approaches.

Dr. Rachel Hoopsick (she/her) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She uses epidemiologic methods and a socioecological lens to understand risk and resilience for problems with substance use and mental health among populations with high-stress occupations and life circumstances. Her research has primarily focused on military populations (including veterans, active duty service members, reservists, and military-connected families), with a particular focus on never-deployed service members and veterans – a population at increased risk for problems with substance use, mental health, and barriers to healthcare services, yet remains understudied.

Title of Talk: 
Military Identity and Service Expectations among Reservists: Associations with Mental Health and Substance Use

Abstract: Operation: SAFETY is an ongoing longitudinal study (PI: G. Homish) that examines the health and well-being of US Reserve and National Guard soldiers and their spouses. In this presentation, we will share insights into how military identity and military service expectations play into mental health and substance use outcomes among reservists. Specifically, we will discuss relationships between negative emotions related to not deploying and veteran identity centrality on substance use and mental health, as well as the intersections between them.

Start Time: 12:00 pm
Presenter: Wonkyung Jung, PhD, RN

Institution: Johns Hopkins School of Nursing

Presenter Biography: Wonkyung Jung is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the RESILIENCE Center at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, Baltimore, Maryland. Her research interests focus on healthy aging and social integration among people with disabilities.

Title of Talk: Social Integration and Resilience

We will talk about the concept of social integration and introduce the Resilience Center at the RESILIENCE Center in the School of Nursing, Johns Hopkins University.  The RESILIENCE Center funds several research projects for intervention development and dissemination. Among the projects, we will introduce “CAPABLE Family” and “Designed With You.”  “CAPABLE Family” is to adapt the original CAPABLE study for older adults with mild cognitive impairment and early-stage dementia and their family members. “Designed With You” is aimed to identify the needs of caregivers with disabilities and develop tailored interventions using human-centered design. 

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Mental Health Symposium 2023 Schedule of Events

Virtual Ability Presents
the 12th Annual Mental Health Symposium
“Self-Identity and Mental Health”
Friday, May 12, 2023
Sojourner Auditorium,
Virtual Ability Island
In Second Life

Mental Health Symposium 2023 Schedule of Events

All times are in SLT/PDT.

Start Time: 7:00 am
Presenter: Dr. Joanna Fox

Institution: Anglia Ruskin University

Presenter Biography: Dr Joanna Fox is a social work academic and expert-by-experience. She is Associate Professor in Mental Health Recovery at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, England. Joanna uses her own experiences of recovery in mental health to both teach social work students and development the involvement of people with lived experience in all forms of mental health research and services.

Title of Talk: Mental Ill-health and the Recovery Process

Abstract: Dr. Joanna Fox uses her personal story of the development of mental illness and treatment thereof to illustrate important aspects of the journey to recovery. She discusses the importance of shared decision-making during the treatment and recovery processes, and the facilitators and barriers that occur during recovery.

Start Time: 8:00 am
Presenter: Yasuhiro Kotera

Institution: University of Nottingham

Presenter Biography: Dr. Yasuhiro Kotera is an Associate Professor in Mental Health at the University of Nottingham, and Accredited Psychotherapist. His research focus is about mental health across cultures, especially the differences or similarities in the way we feel well across cultures. He balances work and family as a father of triplets+1.

Title of Talk: Cultures and how we feel well: Making a global map of mental health personal recovery

Abstract: Mental health is important to many people in many countries, and it is not just about feeling less bad (i.e., less stressed, depressed, or anxious). We also want to feel well. The way we feel well is different by cultures. In this talk, he will show you some of his research findings and current research projects about mental health and cross-culture. He would like to also think about mental health cross-culturally with the audience, and offer some practical tips for feeling well.

More tomorrow!

Monday, May 8, 2023

Save The Date! Friday, May 12, the 12th Annual Mental Health Symposium “Self-Identity and Mental Health”


Virtual Ability Presents
the 12th Annual Mental Health Symposium
“Self-Identity and Mental Health”
Friday, May 12, 2023
Sojourner Auditorium,
Virtual Ability Island
In Second Life

The 12th annual Mental Health Symposium will take place in Virtual Ability’s Sojourner Auditorium, on Virtual Ability Island on Friday, May 12, 2023. There is no charge to attend.

The theme of this year’s Conference is “Self-Identity and Mental Health.” We believe that personal identification can have a major impact on mental health, and we want to stress the importance of a healthy sense of personal identity to good mental health.

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: Sojourner Auditorium, Virtual Ability Island. (You can create a free Second Life account through Virtual Ability’s Sign-Up Portal, entering at the beginning of our New Resident Orientation Course. Next, post the auditorium’s SLURL into Nearby Chat, press Enter, click the green underlined link that appears in the Nearby Chat window, 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.

Stay tuned for more thrills, spills, and intellectual chills!