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Mental Wellness

Tonight I went to a talk about schizophrenia and bipolar disorder hosted by Chinese Mental Wellness Association of Canada. The association invited a UBC psychology professor to give some general information about the two mental problem. The speaker talked about the symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and corresponding treatment options. The speaker talked in English and a volunteer translate the talk to Cantonese and Mandarin in real time.

The information in the talk is very general, probably less than what is in the Wiki. But the information sinks in much better from a live presentation than reading dry text. Let alone that I probably won’t read the information on my own. Today I learned that mental problem is partly genetic and partly environmental. Mental problem can not be cured, it can only be controlled or maintained. The treatment always begins with the psychiatrist, get some pills to stabilize the problem, then consult with psychologist to work on mental therapy. The hardest part is to get the patient aware of the problem and willing to accept treatment. Many audiences asked questions relate to how to treatment the problem in the Q&A session. Too bad that I forgot to ask the speaker whether smoking will make schizophrenia worse.

In addition to the content of the talk, I have some inspiration about volunteer works. It is the first time I have first hand experience about grass root charity organization. Unlike the big volunteer program, like the Red Cross or charity run by churches, the CMWAC has a total different aura. It is more like a support group for Chinese families with mental problem. The founder and chair person also acted as the translator for the talk. Juxtaposing her side by side with the psychology professor, I can see two difference kind of volunteers. The professor is the technical expert and gives credibility to the talk. The chair person knows a lot about hands on knowledge and very enthusiastic in her volunteer work. It is not that one is better than another, but rather the kinds of two volunteers make a good complement to each other. It is like scientists and research assistants, engineers and technicians, doctor and nurses, it takes two to get the job done.

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