How do our politicians use social media?

Date Originally Published: Monday, October 22nd, 2012

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The use of social media has undeniably become an important facet of any public figure’s open life, whether used as a platform for announcements and campaigns, or merely as a public wall of personal thoughts. Most of us are aware and even follow many celebrity twitters, maybe even like their Facebook pages.

But what about our very own London city council members?

Citizen Engagement in London Ontario (CELO) is a study that aims to find out exactly that. Conducted by  “a handful of ordinary citizens”, the CELO is an annual survey taken of the various London city council members. The 25-question survey covers a litany of topics not entirely limited to, but very inclusive, of social and generally electronically media, asking the members whether they maintain a mailing list or newsletter among other queries.

But the survy seeks to do more than just find out if, say, council member Matt Brown uses Twitter (by the way, he does, daily). As interesting as it would be to find out how our mayor uses his Facebook page, the true nature of CELO, according to its’ webpage, is to understand how engaged are politicians with citizens through more modern methods, With more conventional methods, such as radio, print, or television no longer reaching an audience as broad as the internet.

“At CELO, we believe that having an informed electorate directly relates to voter turnout and a healthy democracy. In the past, all levels of government could rely on citizens receiving healthy doses of political news through their local papers and radio stations. However, with newspaper readership on the decline and audiences tuning into other forms of media, it’s imperative that we find new ways to inform the electorate and keep them engaged in the middle of an election cycle.”, says the CELO website.

The CELO website, at http://ldnccreportcard.wordpress.com/, is fascinating and interesting to explore. On the front page, you’ll find what you probably came to the site for, the individual questionnare as filled out by each council member. You can also view statistics of the yes-and-no questions as well as a summary on the Results of Survey page. Whether you’re simply an avid politico or a political student wanting to gain a better understanding of campaign management, CELO nevertheless offers plenty of insight on our local politicians and their ways of conducting all things political.

Ignite Health: Living well is where you find it

Published: Monday, October 15th, 2012

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Coming to London October 25th is the Ignite Health at Covent Market, an interesting take on encouraging good lifestyle choices as well as informing the public on the various ways to make them. The event seeks to present several interesting health-related events for guests, such as Food Seminar detailing the Jamie Oliver Food Revolution Ambassador Program, a charity founded by British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver to “inspire people to reconn

ect with food…about raising awareness and individual responsibility.”. Other events include seminars on exercise and mental health (presented by puppets, no less!), as well as some positive stories from cancer survivors and doctors.

ighealth

What does this event hope to achieve, however? “My goal with this event is to raise awareness of how important it is to manage your own health and not blindly trust corporations, doctors, drug companies or even the government to look out for your health”, says event organizer Michelle Clemont, citing the federal government’s lack of studies conducted on the effects of ADHD medication on children’s health as an example of pharmaceutical corporations’ lobbying power. “I conceived the event at Ignite London and after seeing Ignite Culture created. I realized I could make a bigger difference by bringing a health related focus to an Ignite event.”.

The event only has 200 available spots, so hurry and sign up for free online at:

http://ignitehealth.eventbrite.ca/

You can read Michelle Clemont’s blog here:

http://ignitehealthblog.wordpress.com /

We’re there for you: Being aware of Fanshawe’s Counselling services

Published: Monday, October 1st, 2012

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1 in 5 college students suffer from depression or some form of mental health issue.

The iCopeU Fanshawe homepage

The iCopeU Fanshawe homepage

Why begin this article on such a seemingly dour note? Because people need to realize that emotional and mental health issues are a lot more ubiquitous than one might think. In a culture that has begun to understand and empathize with the litany of emotional and mental issues that plague many, it is vital that people also be aware of the prevalance of said issues, to recognize any arising symptoms in in family, friends or even within themselves, so that they may seek the proper assistance.

In the age of Google, information can seem incredibly within reach, leading some students to turn to the internet to seek out information and help. However, they are often times dealt unreliable information with shoddy sources, which is why online research must be done with extreme caution. One must keep in mind that multiple anecdotes do not create a fact.

The students of Fanshawe are especially blessed in being served their want of help and counselling. Fanshawe College has a variety of resources for students dealing with various personal issues not just limited to mental health. Fanshawe’s Counselling and Accessibilities services (in room F2010) are open to all students with a wide range of personal issues, ranging from depression and eating disorders, to career choices.

While students in counselling come from a variety of ages and backgrounds, freshmen and young adults can be more suspect to being caught up in depression, anxiety or stress. “In the young adult years there is a higher prevalence of first-incident mental health issues,” says Lois Wey, manager of Fanshawe Counselling and Accessibilities. “For students who are leaving home for the first time, there’s extra stresses, less supervision…students are more susceptible to drinking and drug use.”. The shock of freedom, combined with the sheer size and scale of college comes as a shock to the uninitiated, which in turn leads to feelings of isolation and lonliness.

The heightened pressure for academic success also tends to prey on younger students. “Some parents extremely supportive, and give their kids the emotional boost. Other students have more challenges with family, which leads to more stress.”.

According to Wey, there are “over 4000 students”, up to 25% of Fanshawe’s population, given counselling every year. Students may set up an appointment with a counsellor to talk with via phone or internet, and all services are done in complete confidentiality that will only be breached when the possibility of harm to self or others is seen as a credible threat.

Leading back to the topic of online resources on mental health, while a large majority of schools have their own counselling services as well, Fanshawe goes a step beyond with their own iCopeU website (http://icopeu.com/fanshawe/home.html ), also accesible from myFanshawe (http://myfanshawe.ca). iCopeU, a subsidiary of mindyourmind, an award winning mental health program, is targeted towards college and university students. The site not only serves as an outreach , but also intends to serve as a reliable online resource on mental health, while educating students in interesting and entertaining ways. One example of this ‘edutain ent’ is the “Reach Out” quiz, a Jeopardy-style flash game (interestingly enough, presented by Josh Ramsay of Mariana’s Trench) where you rack up points based on correctly answering questions on a variety of topics, from signs and symptoms of disorders to mental health in popular music.

Another interesting component of the iCopeU site is the Coping Kit, a mini-journal of sorts, which encourages students to actively think about what they must do in a personal crisis. The Coping Kit can be printed and refered to for personal use, as an exercise to help those with particularly severe personal issues to handle crisis situations better through self-created drills and personal discovery.

The Student’s Counselling and Accessibilities services as well as iCopeU are freely available to all students of Fanshawe, but the most important thing for people to do is realize there is no shame, no stigmatization in having or opening up about their personal issues, no matter what they may be. That to have any sort of issue isn’t a weakness, but as part of the human condition.

After all, our flaws are what make us perfectly human.