Posted by & filed under 2015 Presentations, Health Talks, Health Talks, Quality Forum 2015.

Let’s Consider Physical Activity for Mental Health – Sarah Lambrick’s Health Care Pecha Kucha

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Sarah is a fifth-year Human Kinetics student at the University of British Columbia Okanagan. With a major in Community Health Promotion and a background in exercise science, she hopes to work in the health promotion sector after graduation. With a strong interest in mental health, Sarah’s hope for healthcare is to increase awareness of the issues surrounding mental health and alternative treatment options. Mental illness affects millions around the world and often those who suffer are not made aware of the increasingly broad set of options available for treatment. Through the facilitation of discussion on the experience of mental illness, its underlying causes and available treatments, Sarah believes it is possible to help relieve the stigma and damaging stereotypes or beliefs surrounding mental health.

Sarah won this year’s Health Talks Student Contest, which invited students from across BC to submit their hopes for health care. Here is her winning entry: a powerful poem about depression.

My mother asks, why do think you are depressed?
I tell her it is because I am the moon.
I orbit around an earth that has grown too large,
And I grow more tired with each rotation.
The earth I orbit has colour and vibrance
Which I can see but am just too far to touch it.
I, pale and colourless, have no illusions as
To its relation to me as it cruises around the sun,
Spinning me along in its wake. I am not
A planet teeming with life, filled to the brim
With possibilities. I am the moon,
With my craters and my dark side.
Nobody wants to look at the dark side
So we focus instead at craters, pretend it isn’t there.

My brother asks, why can’t you just be happy?
I tell him it is because I am a hot air balloon.
I set off on my journey with a full tank of fuel,
And I soared up in the atmosphere where the
Weather could not rock my basket. Until the light
In my burner flickered. And I came down, winds
Drifting me over an ocean I cannot navigate.
Each ‘just stop being sad’ is frigid air,
Threatening my fire, expending my fuel.
Rough winds send me further from shore and
I, without a map, am left to operate alone.
My burner is flickering and failing and
My seams slowly unravel thread by thread.
I am no mechanic. I am no seamstress.

My doctor asks, why don’t you take these pills?
I tell her it is because I am a submarine.
And I cannot use sponges to plug these holes.
The sponge will hold it for now but I am
Still taking on water. Little pills take me from
Ground zero down to the Marianas Trench.
And I, with all of my portholes and the real holes,
Am well equipped to watch myself sinking.
Instead of initiating an escape plan, the
Coast Guard has sent me water wings and a
Pool noodle. Feelings are a weight to me and
Numbness pulls me under. But those pills?
They drown me. And the Coast Guard refuses
To send reinforcements.

People ask why because I am the elephant
In the room that is impossible to ignore.
I am the moon and a balloon and a
Sinking submarine and the only band aid
I was ever told about was a tiny pill
And a tall glass of water. Yes, those
Band aids help millions of moons and
Balloons and especially submarines.
But while a Band-Aid may cover a couple
Craters, it cannot cover the dark side of
The moon. A Band-Aid is only needed when
There is blood. Let’s stop the flow. People
Only ask why when they do not understand
The question. Let’s answer it.
Sincerely, depression.