This is the Masawa Minute – some ways how you can get active with us and snippets of what we’re consuming in the areas of mental wellness, social impact, and impact investing.
We live in a world of order. We encounter systems every day – in our healthcare, education, finances – and all of them are also parts that create and shape the overarching system we live in.
However, something being a system doesn’t mean it cannot change. In fact, systems must evolve with us as our collective consciousness develops and we look beyond what we know as the established rules of the past. That’s what we’re thinking about today – changing “the old way” things are done. Towards progress!
Young Leaders for Health have launched a series of webinars on COVID-19 & Mental Health, as you surely remember from the last newsletter. The webinars are discussing the effects of COVID-19 on sustainable development, the role of mental health, healthcare access, and addressing mental health disorders.
The third and final (!) webinar will take place tomorrow, August 6th. It hosts an array of fantastic speakers from the organization itself, Stanford University School of Medicine, and so on. It will touch upon practical solutions to the challenges faced with mental health & healthcare access during the pandemic and discuss new ways to deliver it. Be there!
If you’re in need of a good mood boost (and learn a thing or two about sustainability and community businesses, consider (virtually) attending this festival put together by Power To Change.
In those two days (August 11th and 12th), you’ll be able to choose from a variety of sessions ranging from lessons on how to save your local pub to how to make better use of crowdfunding with your organization. Not to mention the stories of community business grappling with the current pandemic, which will leave you inspired for the week and beyond. Start blocking your calendar now!
Forward this newsletter to one friend today who cares about creating ourselves a better world. Also, follow us on social media, so that you don’t miss out on all the big things that are coming! Stay tuned.
What we’re reading…
In 2019 the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners reported that the most common reason for visiting your doctor was various psychological disorders. That means that now general practitioners have to be competent in providing both physical and mental care.
Unfortunately, doctors, like workers in many other professions, still often are evaluated by productivity and efficiency – the more patients with a prescription you churn out, the better doctor you are. But this approach doesn’t fit anymore. What’s needed today is a slower, more meaningful approach – “whole-person” care.
Say, someone with a bleeding nose comes in. You can treat the nosebleed or ask how it happened and listen, uncovering much deeper psychological, physical, or other issues. Which one will have a better long-term effect? Let’s stop treating appointments as quick inconveniences and let’s make way for conversations of change instead.
A classic case of a common enemy has proven successful once again, although not necessarily intentionally. We’re talking about American investors uniting to oppose President Trump’s new proposal to effectively ban the inclusion of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) options in retirement plans.
ESG investment products saw a $15 billion influx in the first half of 2020 and it shows no signs of slowing down. Globally, the sum of assets managed with some ESG focus reaches around $40 trillion. Impressive, right?
The investors agree, calling the rule “fatally flawed,” “a significant disadvantage,” and an example of “a short-sighted and ideological crusade.” They also supported their claims by research and data.
Despite how everything turns out, investors presenting this kind of a united front indicates that people are ready for a more sustainable and socially just system, and they’re ready for it now. The demand now is powerful enough to see more and more companies choosing this side over an exploitive, destructive, inherently discriminatory economic system. And that’s the real victory here.
The first article in Masawa’s Impact Thinking for Social Progress series, crafted by Niels Devisscher, dealt with capitalism and its externalities, considering how the system can shift towards inclusivity, sustainability, and fairness. The answer was impact thinking.
The second article dives deeper into it, focusing on what impact thinking means and how we can learn to adopt it. It suggests us to take a long look at what we want to solve instead of trying to stuff the holes in the roof while the walls are about to collapse. We should step outside, look at the house in its entirety, and realize the foundation was entirely unsuitable to begin with. Fortunately for us, unlike a crumbling house, systems can be fixed by identifying specific leverage points capable of amplifying highly targeted action.
Working to train our minds to see the big picture rather than focus on the mechanisms allows us to maximize social impact and avoid unintended negative consequences. Otherwise, we risk missing the way the pieces interlink and causing damage to one while attempting to fix the oat ther. Are you ready to make the shift?
No, absolutely not. Or at least not anymore, with BIPOC women leading the change. “Mainstream wellness is still very White and very elitist,” says Chrissy King, a Black Brooklyn-based fitness expert. “By and large, they still only market to White, thin women.”
And that’s a huge problem. Yoga and fitness practices that are extremely valuable for mental wellness benefits are still mostly associated with weight loss and is more about the looks than the spiritual/psychological side of it. In addition to that, it often embraces the “good vibes only” approach, which does more harm than good as it often dismisses the depth of people’s experiences and avoids having meaningful conversations.
“Black people need self-care more than ever. It’s something that we really struggle with because it does feel like we have to be constantly plugged in, especially as this fight for change is happening,” said Morgan Fykes, a Washington, D.C.-based yoga teacher, and practitioner who is Black. Wellness is yet another industry, which needs to stop being White-washed, and it’s a critical one. It’s time to stop doing business as usual.
Today medication may arguably be the most popular way to treat mental illness – people are getting pills prescribed whether they need them or not. But it hasn’t always been like this (obviously). According to Joel Braslow, a historian and psychiatrist, the rise of pharmaceuticals has shrunk society’s sense of responsibility towards the mentally ill and we could be better off taking a look into the past where asylums were the norm.
Admittedly, the conditions there often weren’t the best, leaning towards “degrading” and “awful” instead, but rather than reestablishing them, Braslow suggests that we draw inspiration from its positive aspects.
We should come back to viewing mental illness as a “complex interaction between a patient’s biology and social context rather than just a biological issue. Only when we acknowledge the isolation and inability to function as a member of the society accompanying it successfully, we’ll be able to design treatments that address it. We couldn’t agree more.
Systems change. Slowly.
But sometimes they get a kick in the ass, thanks to things like, say, a global pandemic. We sense this kick is coming in the areas of impact investing, holistic and compassionate finance, mental wellness, founders’ mental health, and ecosystem stewardship. This kick is coming from everything we’re crafting through Masawa.
And you can be part of that system change, too!
We have a few remaining spots in our friends and family financing round. Join us and other pioneers working to improve the lives of b/millions while making a healthy financial return.
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