Monday, April 19, 2021

Virtual Ability's Mental Health Conference

by Gemma Cleanslate

It was a busy informative day over at Virtual Ability Island. The Mental Health Conference went very well. I am a greeter for events there and love meeting all the attendees. I don’t get to attend the all the presentations so am thankful they will be on the Virtual Ability Youtube website. .

I was able to attend Claragonzalezsa Clara Gonzalez Sanguino’s presentation. She is the Anti-Stigma chair at the Complutense University of Madrid in Spain. Her talk was about their research on the effects of the Covid 19 on mental health and its contributing factors. There are so many factors to consider . Since Spain has had four surges there was an enormous amount of data for their study and it still continues. Questions and answers were most interesting. You can see it all on the website. People from many countries attended the event and stayed for all the presentations.

I was reminded to take a trip over to Health Island in the next region during a break where I have not been for a while.

 As I walked the island I remembered how much is really over here. It is well worth a visit if you have not visited.  I made a stop at the Health exhibits pavilion where the concentration this month is Mental Health . It changes every month. There are resources there for all sorts of issues. Stop by.

I visited the Path of Support also. This is an wonderful path to walk. Here you will find the names of groups in sl that are helpful to almost any possible issue one might have, mental or physical. I have brought people looking for  somewhere to vent  to someone who understands what they are talking about and perhaps offer help and support. 

Go see if you find a group you would like to join. Here is the entrance to the Island .

Later in the day I was able to attend another presentation. This one I found fascinating because it was about the impact of virtual worlds during the pandemic. Tom Bukowski, Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine and two graduate students, SandyZan and Ev Anthro (Evanthro),  using a research grant ventured into virtual worlds to search out information on the use of virtual worlds during this agonizing time. They did research in Second Life and New Horizons and Animal Crossing but used the time today to talk about  their work on data from “Animal Crossing”. Again, it was most interesting and the Q&A was fascinating.Some of the data definitely overlapped with what was happening in Second Life.  Check this out also on the website above.

 I am glad I was able to be there for part of it and will also watch the ones I missed. The whole day was a great success. One thing I gleaned from the day, especially Tom’s talk is how our virtual lives can help us survive the problems of the real world by being here in sl and send us back to the real world to be able to cope more easily. Many found solice , hope and friendship during these trying times .

Gemma Cleanslate

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