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Health & Wellness

This category contains 30 posts

Echo Boomers: One Good Reason

By Phillip Parsons

A recent study found that eight out of ten people are dissatisfied with their job.  But people still cling to them. Be it the need of money, fear of the unknown, or just simply not to be labeled a quitter. But Daniel Gulati, a business entreprenuer and writer in the Harvard Business Review, believes quitting and career change is an essential part of life. Phillip Parsons got in touch with Gulati to see what stops people from quitting their jobs. For Gulati, all it takes is one good reason….

ECHO BOOMERS: On the Horn

By Billy Courtice

A group of paralegals in Deerfield, Fla. gets fired for wearing orange to work. Could it happen to you? And just what could you do about it?

Western University journalist Billy Courtice gets on the horn to find out.

BELOW: Experts featured on “On the Horn”

Some upcoming stories

Western journalism TV specializing students Lisa Laventure and Jennifer James are busy working away on their next television feature. The final products are due next Tuesday, so they’ll be up for the world to see come Thursday!

Lisa is working on a story based on a new study revealing companies with women on their board of directors are more profitable. She’s interviewed a MBA student who is excited to become a successful career woman, a UWO professor who’s studying this area, and a woman currently on a board of directors in London, Ont. She’s investigating why women in charge make companies more profitable, and looking how this could be a step forward for women and equal employment rights.

Jenn is working on a feature about a new Google+ hangout self-help group for stutterers, called Stutter Social. She interviewed a couple people who stutter, as well as some speech pathologists, and the creator of the group.

Check back next Thursday when these stories will be posted!

Canadians go March mad

By Kaleigh Rogers
kroger7@uwo.ca

Every year around this time, a certain strain of spring fever sets in: March Madness. From coast to coast across the United States, it seems everybody has a stake in the National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s division one basketball championship — and it’s spread to Canada, too.

The annual event is the preeminent competition for college basketball in the United States and it seems everyone—from die-hard sports fanatics to those who can’t tell Vandy from Vancouver—starts placing their bets, entering pools and filling out brackets to predict who will win the tournament.

“When you have the president of the United States filling out a bracket, I think that really tells you the scope that we’re talking about,” said Greg Sansone, vice-president operations for The Score television network.

“It’s actually hard to believe that any collegiate or university sport can make it to the mainstream like it is has in the United States, especially as it relates to March Madness.”

While The Score doesn’t air current NCAA championship games, the network airs memorable March Madness games from the past with notable players including Michael Jordan.

Every year, a few Canadian-born players in the tournament are highlighted by Canadian media, but at the end of the day, this is an American competition and a college one at that. So, why the hype north of the border?

“It’s the bracket. It’s being able to have a personal investment in what you’re watching,” Sansone explained.

Coach Brad Campbell

Coach Brad Campbell cheers on his team at a Western University men’s basketball game. Photo by Corey Stanford

“Most people couldn’t tell you Creighton from Alabama and their basketball teams over the course of the regular season. But if they have bracket in front of them, they’re going to circle one of those teams and all of a sudden have a vested interest in it. That’s what makes all the difference in the world.”

While exact figures for the number of Canadians tuning in to the championship are difficult to pin down, the number of hours devoted to coverage of the tournament speaks to its popularity. Full commentary and coverage of the championship can be found on The Score, TSN, and sports segments on CTV and CBC newscasts.

Even those involved with university athletics find themselves intrigued by the tournament south of the border.

“I would consider it one of the best events in sports, period,” said Brad Campbell, coach of the men’s basketball team at Western University.

“Basketball is an exciting sport at the collegiate level where basically every game in the tournament, if you lose, you go home. I think that adds a lot of excitement, intensity and immediacy to the games.”

He also noted the nature of the tournament lends itself to more attention as many future professional basketball players get their start—even are scouted—in this championship. But basketball buffs aren’t the only ones caught up in the madness. Campbell said this is because of the nature of the tournament.

“The universal appeal is the underdog. Every year you can see there are always underdog victories. … Non-basketball people can relate to that and it just makes for a very exciting atmosphere.”

But despite the popularity of March Madness, for some, the real excitement remains above the 49th parallel—future NBA-ers or no.

“I find the storylines north of the border extremely exciting and that’s where I invest my time and interest. There’s no shortage of great stories to tell,” said Marg McGregor, CEO of Canadian Interuniversity Sport.

“Canadians are kind of self-deprecating and there’s a misconception that if it’s south of the border it must be better, which I don’t subscribe to at all.”

Why so serious?

By Matt Dusenbury

There was silence at first, the audience unsure what the slender boy dressed in black on stage would do next.

Then, with a burst of energy, 16-year-old Michael McCreary leapt to the front of the platform, his hands placed firmly on his hips.

“And now, in an effort to promote Aspie awareness, I’ve created Socially-Awkward Man,” he announced to the auditorium, striking a pose like Superman.

The crowd burst out laughing.

McCreary was the youngest performer in Stand Up For Mental Health, a show performed at Western University March 22 as part of Mental Health Awareness Week. The group featured four comedians, all of whom have been diagnosed with mental health issues, performing stand-up comedy to raise funds for the First Episode Mood & Anxiety Program (FEMAP) at the London Health Sciences Centre.

Hailing from Orangeville, Ont., McCreary was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder, at age five. He also suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder, which made school particularly difficult.

“I got into a rough patch in Grade 8,” recalled McCreary.

Michael McCreary
Courtesy of Facebook
Michael McCreary uses comedy as a way to educate people about mental illness.

It was around that time his mother encouraged him to enroll in Stand Up For Mental Health classes in Guelph, where people with mental health issues as it says on its website “learn to turn their problems into comedy.” Soon afterward, McCreary – who calls himself an “Aspie” for short – was performing stand-up across Ontario and eastern Canada. He performed in venues ranging from conference halls to university campuses, in an effort to raise awareness about mental health.

“This whole thing is about taking something we’re afraid to laugh at and laughing about it,” said McCreary. “It’s fantastic.”

It was the second time in two years Stand Up For Mental Health performed at Western. The show was organized by the Western chapter of Active Minds, a student-run group dedicated to eradicating the stigma surrounding mental health issues.

Jeanine Lane, a fourth-year student who helped put on the event, was thrilled at the high turnout.

“It’s very nice to have such support for the event,” she said. “A lot of people just don’t feel comfortable talking about (mental illness), but shows like this can make a difference.”

For Lane, it’s the comedians’ unique blend of comedy and candid descriptions of living with their disorders that makes Stand Up For Mental Health an interesting and captivating show.

Jeanine Lane and Kopi
Photo by Matt Dusenbury
Jeanine Lane and Kopi Thiyagalingam work to eliminate the social stigma surrounding mental health issues.

Al Strong, 52, is a fellow performer of McCreary’s who acted as emcee for the evening. Along with his own jokes, he used the stage to educate the audience and put the importance of mental health into perspective.

“Unfortunately, mental health is still one of the last taboo subjects,” he told the crowd. “And not talking about it is the barrier for treatment.”

Although billed as an evening of fun, the 90-minute show was tailored to cut through that barrier by getting people to talk about the mental health problems they’ve faced, either personally or through family members.

“Humour is a way of breaking down those walls,” said Strong. “We want to open up the conversation.”

Event organizers wore green shirts – the official colour of Mental Health Awareness Week – as a way to promote awareness, the backs of which featured the slogan, “1 in 3 people will suffer from a mental health problem.”

At one point, Strong asked audience members whether they knew someone who suffered from a mental illness. Nearly everyone’s hand went up.

Building that connection and sense of community is what McCreary enjoys the most about his performances and why he plans to continue traveling with Stand Up For Mental Health.

“It’s really a great sensation,” he said. “I love doing it.”

[View the story “Why so serious?” on Storify]
BELOW: A Stomp on Stigma personal story by Grace Jones.

Overcoming mental illnesses

In her first television feature of the term, Western journalism student Nida Siddiqui reports on how those dealing with mental illnesses can lead productive lives in their communities.

A splashing good time!

The Reporter
24 hours in London: 6 a.m.–8 a.m.

By Kaleigh Rogers
kroger7@uwo.ca

As the sun comes up in London and most people are still in bed, one downtown building is bustling with an unlikely energetic crowd.

“If we knew you were here, we would have gone au natural,” quips one participant when he spies a student journalist, the only fully clothed person in the room.

It’s the 7 a.m. aquafit class at the Waterloo Street location of the YMCA of Western Ontario and the students are restless because the instructor is missing in action. As they bide their time in the whirlpool, the lifeguard on duty, 18-year-old Mo Nabavieh, prepares to teach the class himself.

“I’ve never done this before,” he admits as he raises the floor of the pool and pulls barrels of foam pool noodles out of a storage closet. A few moments later, the 80’s soft jams are cranked and the three participants who decided to stick around are easing into the pool.

“This is cold compared to the soup bowl,” jokes 66-year-old Brian Bouckley. A retired insurance broker, he tries to make it to the class five times a week. He says the water puts less pressure on his joints while still allowing for a challenging workout.

“It’s become my primary exercise. I have arthritis so I have some issues with joints and the water is good resistance,” he says.

“It supports our bodies so that it’s not as hard on the knees and the ankles where as if I was up in the gym I’d be dead.”

Today, first-time teacher Nabavieh is putting them through their paces. He starts out easy with standing leg lifts and an underwater skiing motion, but after a half hour the class switches from light aquafit to deep aquafit, which means it’s time to get moving.

The students start to walk and run through the water around the perimeter of the pool. Nabavieh doesn’t hold back – he does each exercise along with them from the deck, walking and jogging along the edge.

The class slowly starts to fill out at this point, topping out at around 20 participants—half male, half female. They make their way into the pool, shedding towels, flip flops, and the occasional walker or cane before joining in. The participants are a noticeably older crowd—one woman pauses to chat and says this is “the old people class”—but you’d never know it from their high energy.

Nabavieh keeps everyone entertained and the blood pumping with a mix of standing and running exercises and stretches, from leg lifts using a pool noodle for resistance to arm-swinging power walks through the water. It’s a full body workout for all involved.

“Being in the water gives you a different resistance than you would get in the gym,” Nabavieh explains. “Some of the exercises don’t work unless you’re in the water, so there’s a benefit from that.”

It’s not purely a physical activity, Nabavieh says, but a social one as well.

“All of (the students) know each other. It’s kind of like you’re always with your friends.”

This is evident by the chatter and laughs that fill the pool during the class. No one is afraid to joke with one another—or with the reporter—while enjoying the benefits of physical activity.

The social side is something Nabavieh can relate to himself. He’s been coming to the YMCA since he was a six-month-old baby. To him, it’s a second home that feels more like play than work—even on days like today, when he has to start his shift at 5:15 a.m.

“It’s not really going to work,” he says. “It’s going to the Y. I love it here.”

Fighting For Wildlife

Jennifer James looks at a man who is trying to build a new facility in order to house the thousands of injured, sick and homeless animals around London, Ontario.

 

Changes

Lisa Laventure looked into the life of a family who’s been affected by the electro-motive plant closure in London, Ontario.

The Therapeutic Benefits of Jewelry Making

Every week a group of women gather at a local transtional support centre called My Sisters’ Place. These women come from troubled backgrounds. Many of them were homeless. As a group they connect through beads and strings. Alaa Yassin has the story.