ILL-USIONS: Using Magic to Explore Stigma


“The Department of Psychiatry at U of T and Hart House are hosting our 2nd annual MindFest – a free one-day event to kick-off National Mental Illness Awareness Week. Our lively mental health fair takes place on Monday, October 6th, 2014. This free all-day event held at Hart House raises awareness about mental health issues, highlights the support systems available to those who need them, and helps to erase mental health stigma. Mindfest has fun exhibit booths, guest speakers, interactive workshops, yoga/mindfulness, giveaways and more! MindFest aims to promote public awareness, dialogue, and understanding about mental health and illness. We are proud to partner with Hart House.”

Exerpts from: “Why not talk about it?”
Exploring mental illness and the associated stigma at MindFest
By Emma Kikulis and Sonali Gill U of T Varsity

The second annual MindFest kicked off Mental Illness Awareness Week on Monday, October 6 at Hart House with a day full of guest speakers, workshops, and prizes in hopes of increasing mental health awareness.
Several events in October, which has been designated as Mental Health Awareness Month at the University of Toronto, aim to promote awareness of and education on mental health issues. MindFest is focused on erasing the negative stigma connected to the subject of mental illness. The event included multiple informational lectures and sessions like designed to to equip students, professors, and community members with knowledge about mental illness so that they can become allies in the effort to eliminate associated taboos and misconceptions.


A “Magic and Stigma” performance by Bruce Ballon of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health was also among the day’s offerings at MindFest. Leading a group through a series of card tricks, illusions, and memory games, Ballon illustrated the prevalence of deception in discussions of mental health and how trickery is a common, although unsuccessful way of avoiding conversations regarding mental illness.
“Sometimes the facts are fiction,” claimed Ballon while leading an interactive discussion about the ambiguity of mental health, “We start fitting these facts into what we already believe.”
An important part of erasing the stigma of mental illness, stressed Ballon, begins not with a diagnosis but with introspection.
“We all have magical thinking,” he said, “ therefore you have to decide what reality is for you.”

For more on MINDFEST please click HERE:


In my Mind’s Eye



Wandering Thoughts



Lens of Illusion