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.
As we go deeper into the darker months of the year, things might start seeming more gloomy. The seasonal affective disorder is real! However, we try to fight it by reading the news that gives us just a little bit of hope that things are changing for the better. Now we’re sharing it with you!
It’s part of the bi-weekly webinar series Mental Health for All, run by United for Global Mental Health, The Lancet Psychiatry, Mental Health Innovation Network, and MHPSS.net. The webinars are designed to inform the public and the policymakers about the most pressing issues in the mental health sphere as well as provide practical solutions.
The next one happening on the 27th of October will discuss how mental health is portrayed in the media. The speakers include Alex Bushill, the Head of Media and PR for UK’s mental health charity Mind, Kari Cobham, the Senior Associate Director of Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism & Media and more. Don’t miss it!
It’s a part of the webinar series organized by UCL’s Institute for Prosperity. This webinar taking place on the 22nd of October will discuss the definition of community in the public health spaces as well as its role in tackling challenges and coming up with new solutions. The community is portrayed as the only hope to achieve the short-term and long-term change required to recover from the crisis that we’re in now.
The speaker is Rochelle Burgess, a Lecturer in Global Health at the Institute for Global Health, who has spent over a decade researching community mental health care systems and their ability to support the needs of marginalized groups. She is interested in the application of community approaches in the field of global health. We’re looking forward to hearing her thoughts!
What we’re reading…
Recently there have been many conversations around ending the shackling of people with mental health conditions, even more so after a 56-page report made by Human Rights Watch has been released.
Men, women and children are being chained or locked in confined spaces for weeks, months or even years in their own homes or institutions that aren’t in any capacity to provide adequate care. It’s a result of the severe stigma surrounding mental health and the lack of mental health services. The people are forbidden to leave the rooms for any purpose, starved and abused both physically and sexually.
Shackling is a wide-spread practice in many countries, yet it remains overlooked by many mental health campaigns. To fill this gap, Human Rights Watch has been working with mental health advocates and organizations to launch a global #BreakTheChains campaign to end the practice as soon as possible.
We can help by reading the report that describes the issue in detail and shares people’s accounts as well as signing the pledge on the campaign’s page. It’s a practice that should be banned urgently and replaced by qualitative, accessible, affordable mental health support.
How do you feel about being able to control your brain using radio waves? While you may think it suspiciously resembles science fiction, it’s not – the recent advancements in neuroscience suggest that soon we might have an actual ability to do so.
In the past couple of years, researchers have developed a technique that employs low-frequency radio waves or a magnetic field that can penetrate the body without causing any damage. This technique can be used to accomplish several tasks, ranging from releasing insulin to suppressing the hormones responsible for the feeling of hunger.
It’s a matter of time before such technology will be suitable for treating mental health disorders. As long as we can make sure that mind-controlling technology is used for good causes, it’s something worth looking forward to. We know we are!
Our therapists know our thoughts almost as well as we know them ourselves. That’s why when we consider how the rest of this turbulent year will look like and what mark it’ll leave on our mental health, they’re the best people to ask. Some therapists agreed to share their thoughts.
Not all of it is something we’d like to hear – they say the level of stress will continue to rise, people will likely become even more burned out and the rates of mental illness aren’t going to drop anytime soon – if anything, it will continue growing. But it’s not all bad. Everything that happened this year is strengthening our bonds with each other and, despite everything, bringing communities together. Also, more and more people choose to openly talk about their mental health struggles and decide to attend therapy, helping to decrease the stigma surrounding it.
We at Masawa are also going to continue speaking about mental health and starting the important conversations. The more openly we can talk about our feelings and experiences, the easier it’s going to be for all of us.
Increasing mental health funding now is more important than ever. Many people are experiencing mental or substance abuse disorders and the pandemic is rapidly worsening the situation. Direct and indirect costs related to mental illness exceed $3 trillion a year and will likely keep increasing if nothing is done today.
Fortunately, we’re slowly moving in the right direction – a $10 billion research fund is being launched to fight for mental health. It’s due to launch early in 2021 as right now it’s in the fundraising phase, led by The Healthy Brains Global Initiative’s (HBGI) interim chief executive Brad Herbert, who helped create the Global Fund.
The goal is to center the voices of people with lived experiences by enlisting them to assist the studies carried out. While given the scale of the problem this sum of money is not enough to turn things around, it’s still a great start. We’re thrilled to see it happening and hope a lot more investments are to come!
Sadly, the world of mental wellness remains predominantly white and various groups of people are often excluded from receiving the support they need. Historically people of color have been forced to build their own ecosystems of care in their communities as they’ve been continuously pushed out of the mainstream spaces. This trend is still here today – people have taken it into their own hands to provide mental health support to their communities.
People of color experience disproportionate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in their daily lives, all while struggling with the systematic oppression of their identities. The article highlights the wonderful platforms and organizations run by people from marginalized communities dedicated to coping with stress, culturally relevant practices for healing, working to integrate healing justice into the social justice movement as well as in the field of mental health.
It’s time to recognize the significance of these resources and make a place for them in the mainstream world of mental health. Access to these services is a question of human rights. As more and more people rely on them to get by in these difficult times, let’s hope we won’t have to wait too long.
A number of us on the Masawa team have just finished an 11-week CU*Money course around our personal psychological relationships with money — a fascinating self deep dive on why, how, and what we think and feel about money and how that hinders or aids us along our journey towards achieving purpose. We highly suggest that everyone take the course (registration is open!).
Masawa is now more resolute in the principle that money is but an important vehicle for achieving more and more lasting social impact.
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