Spirituality and Wellness
Columbian Centre Board of Directors
Doug Anderson Allan Falconer Peter Giovando Liz Hewetson Harold Kamikawaji Mary Magrega Bill MacGougan Blake McGuffie Karl Rainer Garrett Woolsey Medical Advisor: Dr. Neil Rogers This issue of Currents is dedicated to spirituality as one aspect of wellness. The terms spirituality and religion are often used in place of each other, but for many people they have different meanings. Religion may be defined as a specific set of beliefs and practices, usually associated with an organized group. Spirituality may be defined as an individual’s sense of peace, purpose, and connection to others, and beliefs about the meaning of life. * While Columbian Centre Society is a non-religious organization, it does appreciate the importance of spirituality to human development. A discussion group meets Saturday mornings, lead by a nurse, to explore spiritual topics of interest. The group considers questions like “what gives your life meaning and purpose?” or “what can you do to stay in harmony with yourself, with others, and with nature?”. An appropriately appointed room in Columbia House is devoted exclusively to spiritual exercise; it is in this room that the discussion group takes place. In September, residents, staff and volunteers participated in a three day spiritual retreat at the Rivendell Retreat Centre on Bowen Island. (see story on page 4) Mind, body, and spirit (From The Power of Higher Powers by Michelle Morra) When Chris Summerville was a teenager, he struggled with severe clinical depression that persisted throughout his adult life, often resulting in suicidal ideation. As a Christian, this caused him tremendous guilt. He thought he shouldn’t be experiencing such despair if he prayed hard enough. Summerville became an evangelical pastor at age 17 and continued that vocation for the next 25 years. In his last year as a pastor, he “came out of the closet” about his depression during a sermon.
Columbian Centre Board members Harold Kamikawaji (left) , Bill MacGougan (right)
“It was very awkward for the congregation,” he recalls. “Even though they were very loving, they were shocked that their (continued on page 2)
* definition from the National Cancer Institute (US)
Our Mission Statement
To provide rehabilitative residential and community oriented support services for adults with a psychiatric disability including those with addictions. These services promote personal development and choice so that the best possible mental health and quality of life may be achieved.
2356 Rosstown Road, Nanaimo, B.C. V9T 3R7 Phone: 250-758-8711
Spirituality and Wellness
(continued from page one) spiritual leader would have existential despair.” That experience, says Summerville, was one reason he resigned as pastor in 1994. Today, at age 55, Summerville continues to minister, but in new ways. He is the executive director of the Manitoba Schizophrenia Society, interim chief executive officer (CEO) of the Canadian Schizophrenia Society, and on the board of directors of the Mental Health Commission of Canada. Summerville has made it his life’s mission to alter the concept that mental illness can only be dealt with from a mind-body perspective. “I know it’s radical for someone in my position to say this, but the biomedical model is deficient,” he says. “In Canada, Aboriginal people have taught us that if you want to talk to us about mental health, then talk to us about the mind, body, and spirit connection. The Eurocentric, biomedical model has proven to be deficient because of its exclusive emphasis just on biochemistry.” Summerville and a growing number of his peers believe that faith is the number one missing element, “the forgotten dimension” in mental health services. But others are reluctant to address faith in a professional context, he says, because their issues of countertransference get in the way. If they don’t
consider themselves spiritual, or don’t believe in discussing such issues, they will feel very uncomfortable when a consumer talks about spirituality. Several medical publications have discussed the issue in recent years, including the Journal of Ethics in Mental Health and the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, each of which dedicated an entire issue to spirituality and recovery in 2007. Summerville attributes this to the recovery model, which has shifted care for the mentally ill from strictly passive - relying only on medicine and therapy - to a more active model that suggests people can recover meaning and process to their lives despite the effects of their illness. “What’s fundamental to the recovery model is hope,” he says. “Hope that I can move beyond my illness; hope of recovering the things I lost. With the emphasis of hope, people have become more interested in the concept of spirituality in mental illness because hope is essentially a spiritual issue.” Medication, says Summerville, accounts for 20 percent of the recovery experience. Eighty percent has to do with “personal medicine” - being at one with nature and creation, as well as spirituality. With personal medicine added to the mix, “consumers tell us they not only cope, but thrive in spite of bipolar [disorder] or schizophrenia.” From The Power of Higher Powers - What psychiatrists are learning from their patients by Michelle Morra (Excerpt reprinted with permission from SZ Digest, Summer 2008 www.szdigest.com )
A study published in October 2008 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) shows that 53 percent of homeless people in Toronto have experienced a traumatic brain injury and in 70 percent of these individuals, the injury occurred before the person’s first experience of homelessness. The number of prescriptions for antidepressants in Canada has been steadily climbing over the years, reaching 27.4 million prescription in 2007! This in a country of 33 million of which almost 5.5 million are 14 years-of-age or less.
“doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity
Psychiatrists are the worst-paid specialists in Canada, earning on average $175,444, about half as much as dermatologists.
“ Why is it that when we talk to God we’re said to be praying, but when God talks to us we’re schizophrenic?” Lily Tomlin
2356 Rosstown Road, Nanaimo, B.C. V9T 3R7 Phone: 250-758-8711
MID WEEK MOVIES
Nov 5 Nov 19 Dec 3 Dec 17 Jan 7 Jan 21
The Joy Luck Club Devil Plays Hardball Mr. Holland’s Opus Stuart Saves His Family Bee Movie A Streetcar Named Desire
Dr. Gabor Maté
Dr. Gabor Maté will be a guest speaker at the Coast Bastion Hotel, Tuesday, November 25 at 7:30 p.m. This event is sponsored by Columbian Centre Society in partnership with Vancouver Island Regional Library and John Howard Society Nanaimo Region
Dr. Gabor Maté
Join us the first and third Wednesday of the month at Maffeo Auditorium in the Community Services Building at 285 Prideaux Street. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the film screens at 7:00. There is no admission charge. Please enter via the parking lot on Fitzwilliam Street. Popcorn, coffee or pop are available at our in-house concession. After each movie, please join us for some lively conversation. The Mid Week Movies is a partnership of Columbian Centre Society and Open Minds Open Windows Society in Nanaimo BC.
Admission is by donation. Dr. Maté is currently the staff physician at the Portland Hotel, a residence and resource centre for the people of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, and the author of four books, including his latest: The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction. Many of his patients suffer from mental illness, drug addiction and HIV, or all three. He is widely recognized for his focus on the importance of the connection between mind and body health.
Spiritual Retreat at Rivendell Retreat Centre
For three days in late September, Rivendell welcomed ten people, 6 residents, 3 volunteers and one staff person from Columbian Centre for their first visit. Rivendell Retreat Centre on Bowen Island opened 6 years ago as a place of peace and quietness, away from the noise, distractions and pressures of the city, with magnificent views of mountains, forests and seas. It offers a welcome to small groups and individuals who are seeking spiritual renewal, respite and growth. “ We all tend to our own unique spiritual journey, and Rivendell offers an atmosphere of peace and quiet to be even more intentional. We spent time relaxing and being in nature. As a group we had time together which included opportunities to share our stories and share in rituals such as the sacred lighting of a candle each time we met. We were all invited to reflect on a cup we had each chosen, pondering the uniqueness and the goodness of each individual. It was a privilege for me to be with the group, and meaningful to connect with them as individuals. Columbian Centre is welcome to come again, I would love to have them return.” Kathi Bentall, Spiritual Retreat Director, Rivendell Retreat Centre “ Rivendell Retreat Centre has a very warm and inviting atmosphere. It has an amazing view of about 320 degrees and it is surrounded by such a beautiful environment. It was a good experience for the residents - it was an opportunity to have a holiday, and to experience something they may not have been able to before. It was a time for reflection and to pay attention to spiritual development. There was some structured time and there was also plenty of free time. Everyone had their own room, so there was lots of privacy, and it was a wonderful change of environment for all of us. I very much enjoyed the circle activities that Kathi led for our group. I was very, very honoured to attend and be part of this progressive move by Columbian Centre Society to honour the spiritual part of life. I hope visits to Rivendell will continue, and that this will be an example to other places of how to treat the whole person, not just the physical, but also the spiritual.” Janice Dunn, Columbian Centre volunteer and Rivendell participant
Above: Rivendell Retreat Centre on Bowen Island
Above: Vince Smith , 2nd left in back, Kathi Bentall, 3rd from right in front, and Janice Dunn, far right, with the other participants from Columbian Centre at the Rivendell Retreat Centre
2356 Rosstown Road, Nanaimo, B.C. V9T 3R7 Phone: 250-758-8711
“ I have always been interested in knowing more about life than just the physical side. This three day retreat at Rivendell expanded and stabilized my mind. Each morning we started with a prayer, we had time in a circle, we hiked the trails, and nature was very close. The architecture at the Centre was beautiful. It was more like a large home, and the meals were very good. There was lots of privacy, and it was quiet and restful, that was part of the experience. My favorite experience was watching two bucks fighting on the property, so near to people and yet they didn’t seem to mind, they must have felt very safe. I also enjoyed walking in the labyrinth. I would definitely go back again.” Vince Smith, a participant in the spiritual retreat at Rivendell
Awareness of mental illness is the first step in helping those afflicted
Editorial in Vancouver Sun, Saturday, October 04, 2008 It’s hard to believe that an illness that one in five Canadians will experience during their lifetimes also remains among the most misunderstood and heavily stigmatized of all illnesses. Yet this is the case with mental illness.
New Canadian stamp issued for Mental Illness Awareness Week October 5 -11, 2008
admitted they would feel fearful being around someone they didn’t know who had been diagnosed with mental illness. Finally, while mental illness is estimated to cost the economy some $51 billion annually and result in the loss of 35 million workdays, only three in 10 respondents thought that mental illness was hurting the economy. Several other surveys confirm this lack of awareness in the workplace. A survey of more than 450 organizations conducted by Mercer for CAMIMH found that only 13 per cent of senior executives have a strong awareness of the impact of mental health on the organization.
Further, 54 per cent reported a lack of awareness by frontline managers and supervisors, and 57 per cent said managers and supervisors don’t treat mental health issues equally with physical We still prefer not to health issues. talk about the subject, which ensures that it Columbian Centre’s will remain stigmatized and misunderstood. Finally, only 22 per cent of respondents innovative People First said that their organizations measured the For this reason, the Canadian Psychiatric Radio was recognized impact of mental health issues. Association in 1992 established Mental nationally on the 2008 Illness Awareness Week. A recent survey by the Public Health Mental Illness Awareness Agency mirrored these results as it found The week is now coordinated by the website www.miaw.ca 46 per cent of respondents estimated that Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and they have five per cent or fewer employees Mental Health (CAMIMH), an alliance of who experience mental illness in a year, and mental health organizations. another 22 per cent estimated the prevalence to be between five And this year, the week began Sunday, October 4. and 10 per cent. Clearly, there is an abundance of evidence that increased Yet experts estimate that 13 per cent of Canadian adults awareness is sorely needed. As former Canadian Medical have a diagnosed or undiagnosed mental illness, and some Association president Brian Day said upon the release of 20 per cent will experience mental illness at some point. an Ipsos-Reid survey conducted for the CMA’s 8th Annual These surveys demonstrate the need for a week devoted to National Report Card on Health Care, “mental illness is the detailing the extent, symptoms and treatment of mental illness. final frontier of socially acceptable discrimination.” Indeed, the survey discovered that Canadians treat physical and mental illnesses very differently. For example, while 72 per cent of respondents said they would tell friends or co-workers that a family member was diagnosed with cancer or diabetes, only 50 per cent would reveal a diagnosis of mental illness. Further, 42 per cent of respondents were uncertain if they would socialize with a mentally ill friend, and 27 per cent 5 But given the extent of our ignorance, they also demonstrate that a week is not nearly long enough. In one week, we can only begin the process of familiarizing ourselves with a problem that affects us all in some way, and affects many of us intimately and profoundly. Nevertheless, individuals and organizations should begin the process this week, and then continue increasing awareness throughout the year.
Some six million Canadians will suffer from a diagnosable mental illness at some point, and three per cent of Canadians are likely to live with a serious mental illness.
Addressing Tobacco Addiction
The prevalence of tobacco consumption with psychiatric disabilities is much greater than that of the general population. People with schizophrenia are known to have a 90% prevalence, those with depressive disorders 50% and those with drug and alcohol dependence 70 - 90%. These alarming rates of tobacco consumption underscored the urgency for making nicotine replacement therapy available to the residents of Columbian Centre Society. Tobacco has been largely ignored in the field of treatment for addictions. It is often the first drug used and the last to stop being used due to its highly addictive properties – it is ten times as addictive as heroin. Columbian Centre Staff received three in-services on Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) from VIHA specialists to help increase their knowledge and awareness. Staff reported that they found practical value in the educational sessions and products to support cessation and behaviour change. There are many new nicotine replacement products available including the nicotine lozenge, the inhaler and the nicotine sucker which can be made by a compounding pharmacist. Champix, a new prescription medication is now available for individuals. Columbian Centre clients are also able to access the new VIHA NRT benefit which provides them with 3 months worth of products to support cessation. I was happy to see that Columbian Centre Society is working with a psychiatrist, physician and pharmacist to provide case
Daybreak Rotary volunteer Barry Fulford puts the finishing touches on the beautiful new gazebo built with the help of Daybreak Rotary as part of the behaviour change component of NRT for smokers.
management support for tobacco cessation for clients. I would like to thank Kevin B. from Central Drugs and Nancy Embury from Johnson & Johnson for co-facilitating the session on NRT. Behaviour change has to be realistic, is a process and not an event and is best achieved within a supportive environment. I applaud CCS for creating such an environment! El Taylor, B.A., B.Ed. (PD-PP), Tobacco Control Program, Vancouver Island Health Authority
Columbian Centre Society wishes to thank the Mid-Island Co-op for their recent generous donation.
Residents enjoyed an overnight camping trip at Rathtrevor Beach in Parksville July 14 and 15