Masawa Minute 20 | Mental Health for All! | The health benefits of voting | + More! 🌳

This is the Masawa Minute – mental wellness, social impact, and impact investing snippets from what we’ve read the last two weeks + where you can get active.

Tomorrow we enter October, which means that the weather is getting colder in the North and warmer in the South, and the World Mental Health day is ten days away (October 10th!). Its theme this year is “Mental health for all,” encouraging the effort to improve the accessibility of mental health. Unsurprisingly, this is also a theme connecting the articles in this newsletter – they touch upon mental health’s relation to politics, its role in the workplace, and why it’s time to put mental health on philanthropy’s agenda. Cheers!

Get active

🏄‍♂️ Attend!

CU*money course on money and the body

ConsciousU is back with the second offering of their new course, CU*Money, a virtual seminar on the psychological relationship we have with money, and what it says about our relationship with ourselves.

As a preview of the seminar, on Saturday, October 10th, 5 pm-6.30 pm CET, Nadjeschda Taranczewski will talk to Rivka Halbershtadt about the effects and representation of money in the body and teach us a series of exercises meant to help us connect with our money reality on a different level. And all that for free!

What we’re reading…

💵 It’s time for philanthropy to acknowledge mental health


The lack of mental health is turning into an issue we can no longer ignore. 1 in 5 people experience a mental disorder or substance abuse in their lifetimes. It puts a strain on their relationships, jobs, education, while COVID-19 is currently amplifying those effects. We know that things need to change and that’s where philanthropy could come in.

What can it do to address the mental health-related challenges we’re currently facing? With its vast power, the answer is a lot. It can be a catalyst for positive societal change, not to mention that for philanthropy, mental health is critical. It’s a fundamental part of the success in many areas – for example, criminal justice – which has recently risen to the top of the agenda. Mental health also relates to the goals of providing more opportunities for low-income families and building more resilient communities. 

We completely agree that mental health should be placed much higher on philanthropy’s priority list. The article shares several great arguments for doing it now – click on the link below.

Mental Health Needs to Be a Top Priority for Philanthropy. Here’s Why

💡 Choose your mental health in the next election


Voting and mental health. The apparent connection between the two concerns the election outcome. But this text invites us to look at it from a different angle, placing the focus on voting itself and the benefits that casting the ballot brings. It turns out there are a few.

People prone to psychological distress tend to benefit from political participation as performing the citizen’s duty brings them a sense of empowerment. This feeling, to some extent, alleviates the adverse effects of being socially disadvantaged.

Political activism can also act as a shield from the psychological symptoms arising from experiencing discrimination – stress, anxiety, etc. Politically active individuals are more resilient to such incidents, likely because being politically engaged contributes to the sense of control in people’s lives and strengthens communities’ bonds. If you’d like to learn more about the behind those claims studies, read the article on Medical News Today. And don’t forget to vote!

How could voting benefit mental health?

👩🏾‍💻 Are you supporting your employees in the right way?


We talked quite a lot about the disproportional psychological trauma BIPOC communities are forced to experience. But are you doing something to take a little bit of that burden off their shoulders?

If you have BIPOC employees, this article is for you. Many employers offer mental health benefits, but not all of those programs are suitable to fulfill the specific needs of members of those communities. BIPOC individuals are often less likely to seek treatment and if they do, they tend to end it early. For a mental health program to be successful, these barriers must be addressed by offering easy access, provider diversity, cultural responsiveness, and other measures.

It’s up to company leaders to build and nurture an inclusive, supportive, healthy workplace. To do that, it’s crucial to understand the level of race-based stress and trauma some of their employees are experiencing and offer appropriate mental health support. 

Are You Offering the Mental Health Benefits Your BIPOC Employees Need?

⚖️ Mental health and social justice


“Mental health for all” is closely connected with social justice. But social justice can’t be achieved as long as structural violence is standing in its way.

“Structural violence” is a term that encompasses a wide range of social forces such as poverty, systemic discrimination, and inequality. It doesn’t take much to see why they need to be eradicated if we are ever to improve global mental health.

Homelessness and imprisonment happen way more frequently to people with mental illness. That is not due to the mental illness itself but because of the prevailing stigma, lack of education, and systematic inability to accommodate mental disorders. Mentally ill people are disproportionately punished for certain offenses, even though they are far more likely to become victims than perpetrators. They also don’t receive sufficient support to be able to sustain their residency and have problems accessing community care.

Diverging from these trends is crucial for people with mental illnesses, their families, communities, mental health professionals, and every member of society. However, this can only happen by shifting our systems towards social justice. There’s no better way than active political participation to ensure that we eventually get there.

Structural Violence, Social Justice, and Mental Illness

🎈 Should you bring up your mental health in a job interview?


72% of young job seekers say the answer is “no.” According to a survey conducted by the City Mental Health Alliance (CMHA), they believed that bringing up mental health issues to prospective employers would harm their chances of getting the job. That being said, 76% of those respondents said to experience poor mental health themselves.

So why do they feel such pressure to hide it? They’re held back by the prevailing stigma surrounding mental health – less than a third of respondents said they would be comfortable asking for adjustments to accommodate their mental health – next to constant pressure for perfect performance.

The pressure to hide the status of their mental wellbeing combined with the pressure not to make any mistakes is likely to intensify the mental health issues in the long run. It’s certainly not a practice that can be allowed to remain. CHMA also shares several stories of people that experienced a positive and supportive recruitment process that encourage us to reconsider how a “standard” recruitment process is supposed to be. Have a look.

Mental health stigma holding back 72% of young jobseekers

Masawa update

As we enter into October, we’re thinking, “Holy shit, what a ride 2020 has been + we’re only 75% done. Brace yourselves for what’s still to come!” Don’t worry, this apocalyptical-ish outlook is happily gated by our gratefulness for all we’ve able to do with the Masawa team, friends, partners, and community. We’re humbled by the fact that even if/when Masawa were/is on track to be a $1B funder, it isn’t enough but we’re not doing this alone. 

We’ll keep our heads down and chip away at our little piece. That said, we’re gearing up to make our first investments, an exciting step!

The Masawa Minute

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