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You are exactly who this is for. The fictitious step in making a difference is that little seed of inspiration is caring about something and making it personal and wanting to get out there and do something about it. In fact, I would argue that is — that is the most important element of advocacy. Because working to change something and in the really caring about it is — it is, you know, unproductive at best and I guess harmful at its worse. It is like when you see a politician showing up to a rally for some cause they don't care about but looks good and it feels absent. Know what I'm talking about? It is — it really does — it is figuring it out and what being an advocate really is and difference in caring about something and being an advocate is moving from initial inspacing SPRAGS you have and desire to do something and start to take action.
That can be really daunting. It can feel like I don't know how to begin. I know I want to do something but what? I felt that. When I started, I don't mind, it was — you know, it was years after I had the idea and wanted to do something and it took me a long time to figure it out. It was an idea that percolated for a bit but I knew through my own experiences with mental health be it my own struggles with depression and low self worth or losing family members to untreated mental health conditions I knew this work was important to me and knew that I cared and if I could figure out a way to make a difference and find the right place to do that, that everything would just click.
Now, the thing is though you have to start somewhere and find those organizations you want to work with or your niche and why we put the summit together with most coolest and innovative mental health organizations and athletes and educators. We are here to connect you with people out here doing this work so maybe you can find inspiration or maybe something will click and you feel you found your place and hopefully it will happen faster for you than it did for me. We have an awesome weekend planned. Day 1 is today and all about learning and unlearning the basics of mental health and mental health systems currently in place and we will talk about what is not talked about; right? What is usually left out of the conversation of mental health. We will explore how to talk about mental health at its very basic level and what things effect our wellbeing and what we have to do to build an inclusive future and tomorrow is about getting started and talking to advocates making a difference in many, many different ways and should say bringing to mind it is important to note that mental health like anything really has — we have differing opinions and perspectives and not everybody agrees on everything in this space.
That is the nature of life. Right? That is okay and okay to hear different perspectives and people you hear from this weekend speak honestly and sharing their specific approach and ripping that BAND-AID owe of and really getting there and you might not agree with everything you hear but they might not agree with each other also. That is helpful. By listening to others who may see something in a different way or have experiences we haven't had or maybe sometimes they know something we don't know with you can broaden our perspective we can learn about things that are new and I encourage you to keep an open mind and come in ready each day to ask questions to follow your curiosity and challenge what you think you know about mental health already. SHLGS right? Before we take action, we have to educate ourselves and shouldn't write a how to do pottery book before we take our first class or it is out of the wheel. We are building a better future for people with different mental conditions and we are doing it from the bottom up.
I'm all for disruptions and love it and live for it and think it is terrific. We had to learn about the systems that impact mental health before we can get in there and disrupt them. Mental health advocacy has to be inform and inclusive and intersectional. I will make a bit of a promise to you and speaking for everyone. I didn't ask if I could do that. I promise my support if I don't mind in mental health America won't end when the summit is over we are promise to follow up with you and offer options and ideas and opportunities to follow with us and o are, gs we will talk to this weekend and goal being we won't get you worked up and excited and just leave you out in the cold.
We are here to help you make the difference you want to make and thanks for taking time to be here and for taking the first step. Enough heavy stuff. Let's get to it. We have incredible sessions today talking about challenging stigma and discrimination and talking about fighting loneliness and peer support and role of climate change in mental health and much more. We are live right here on YouTube all day long until 8 p.m. eastern time and tomorrow all the way through 6. Don't just tune out today and leave us. We want to hear from you. Give us a shoutout from social and comments and observations and ideas and reflections and whatever. We want to know what you are thinking and we will take live questions during the summit. Stay tuned to see how it works with the moderators. I will pop in and out throughout the couple days here. We will talk about all sorts of things and lots of it is important and flagging some might press on people and some might feel too heavy. Turn it off if it gets to be too much. Step away and come back to it or not at all that is okay.
Pick and choose parts you need and skip those that you don't. If you feel you are in crisis, please text IDM for a short for I don't mind IDM741741 to speak to a trained crisis count lore and thanks YouTube for hosting us and all support for making this happen and to panelists and moderators, thanks for participating and making the weekend possible and most importantly to you. Thank you for showing up and for being here and thank you for getting this work started. Don't go anywhere. Stay here and keep watching our future in mind. I will see you in a little bit. >> Hi, everybody. I'm Kelly Davis and associate vice president at peer advocacy America. In the past year and a half we talked about mental health publicly more than ever before. The truth is that mental health challenges whether it is suicide attempts self-harm depression and anxiety and all these things have been growing among young people for years before Covid started and we are now in this place we are talking about it and at a critical time we can do something different.
People who are in the positions to lead and who can give us valuable input in what we do moving forward are people most impacted by this especially young people and they have grown up in a world that is so different from anything you have seen before with technology and with climate change and all these things in the world. Now with Covid generations before really do not know what it is like to grow up in the world today. It is kind for us to listen to people with lived experience.
I will share a little about my story and how it impacted work I do today with young adults at mental health America. Growing up from as early as I can remember, I felt like there was something different happening with me compared to people around me. It often felt like my feelings were physically too big for my body. I had no words to explain what was happening to other people. By the time I was 10, I had my first suicide attempt and spent next years and years of my life in mental health treatment inpatient outpatient intensive patient family group and all these TH different things and medication and treatment trying to figure out what was happening to me and learn something about how I could navigate the world. When I was 19 years old in college on VERJ of dropping out I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and given a message you have a serious mental illness and people like you don't do WM in college or well in the world.
Maybe you should go home and not stress yourself out too much. It was in that moment I was like, okay. I see this future that has been given to me and remembered a couple years beforehand. I had been online and saw this image of an elephant. It was a story saying when baby elephants are in captivity they use chains to keep them from running away. By time they are full will I grown they can easily run away. They don't try and truly believe they can't do anything. I thought maybe all these messages I had received about myself and I was getting now, maybe they weren't true. Maybe I could find another way to build a life and build a life that I wanted.
It was at that point I got connected to a movement of people with lived experience and peer support movement and through that I was able to find things for me some we will talk about today like yoga and mind/body practices peer support and disability accommodations and all these things that help me survive and thrive whether it was at school and I didn't realize that because I had a mental health diagnosis when I was feeling depressed I could ask for accommodations to turn things in later and miss classes for doctors appointments and all these things when my life had been presented to me that mental health is something that do you in secret and you go to the office and go to the doctors office a couple times a month or few times a week or wherever you are and keep it to yourself and don't share it with everybody.
We are at an amazing time where people who have that experience are speaking out and once I was okay. I learned this stuff about myself and I can do something about it and tell other people they don't have to listen to things people have said about them. What I found is when I started to share my story that all of these people around me, so many of them were going through the same thing. They were waiting for somebody else to say it. Not only were they waiting for somebody else to say it but they had ideas too for those things that could be done better and differently whether that was mental health education in schools and training sports teams and creating an app and using social media and different parts of our lives because lives are important for us to talk about mental health and it is important for everybody to get access to resources they need.
We really have to make mental health bigger than just getting A- K cress to resources and I have been excited for mental health young adult leadership programs many folks that have been involved you will hear from today. They are really leading from their lived experience and that is something we want you to take away too. People have different stories; right? Your story could be I was never able to talk about mental health and reached out for health and felt supported and life changed and take time with people in community talking about mental health and could be you had injury on sports team and you had to pretend nothing was happening struggling in silence creating spaces there.
Wherever are you and whatever your story is there is not WRUN way to be a mental health advocate. It is about exploring what happened you to and what felt good for you and helped you and how you can use it that to build a better world to support other people and we wanted to say too no matter where you are right now, you might be coming home from work or driving home from school.
You might be having such a hard time and so many of us are having hard times and you are watching this alone in your room super upset because you had an awful day or week and you don't know what you will do about your own mental health. Wherever you are, I want you to know this is a space you belong. You will hear so many people who are in the position who have been in the position that you are in right now. Mental health America for those who don't know was founded in 1909 by a man named clifford beers he was in the state psychiatric hospitals at the time and thought to himself this is unacceptable. We can't force people to live like this. There has to be a better way. He is considered the founder of the modern mental health movement and has been through the whole history of the mental health movement and people with lived experience who had diagnosis and themselves went through mental health challenges have been living this and are you in a community with other people who said this should happen to me and should never happen to anyone else ever again.
What it is, is for you. Today is time to listen and hear all of the folk WLZ it is what they created and what we are unpacking intersectionality, racism, economic justice and all these things bigger than starting the conversation about mental health and tomorrow talking about what they do and for young folks; right? Often times you don't have a say in your life. People don't listen you to and are not taking you seriously. This is a space for you to know your voice matters and you have something valuable to contribute to the situation and for folks listening, they are learning from you and learning from young people and leader who's built movements to change mental health whatever intersection they are coming from. Stick around today. Your voice and ideas matter and mind matters. We are so grateful to be with you and we will close off today with an activity for tomorrow and stay tuned and feel free to drop thoughts and fieldings and ideas in the comment. We are here to build a community and movement and none of this stuff depends on one person but all of us working together with whatever strengths and whatever unique perspectives and ideas we have to build a better future for mental health.
Next we will here from Ivan Tchatchouwo and hear about his journey with mental health. Thanks for being in community with all of the wonderful speakers and with you as well. >> Hi. I'm Ivan and happy to be part of I don't mind and mental health America conference today. I want to open this by talking about what mental health is and why I'm passionate about it. My mental health journey came to when I was in the states at 5.5 and went through a big culture shock. Basketball helped me get through that anxiety and learn English language and make many friends. Fast forward and I had an opportunity to play college basketball in junior year stepping into height of my career was named cocaptain attained with everything I worked with and hit with an injury. This is when the whirlwindgan being from African household and inner city in the Bronx. When I was injured I stopped wanting to be part of society and stop godding to classes for months and started to smoke and drink in the morning.
At that time I had no idea what I was struggling with. I knew I wasn't myself and didn't want to do anything. See people. I felt I was nothing during society. During time my coaching staff realized I was failing badly and asked what was up. They got me to the school psychologist we had on campus. I was finally happy to know there was a road map to being better finding out I was struggling and what I was struggling with helped me start my journey and I realized many people don't know how they are being impacted mentally causing them to go down the spiral and do other things negatively to them. I starts on this journey wanting to educate young people around mental wellbeing.
What is mental health? People are starting to be impacted however people are still looking for answers I can't say I have all of the answers and it will solve anything for anybody. I don't believe there is a definition for mental health. What every human struggles with is their own truth we can't heal everything but identify and find better ways to cope with each other and people are not bound by one thing. Nobody is immune to mental health you can be impacted by family traumas financial struggles overworking loneliness and deaths to say the least leading to anxiety stress and depression. We as humans are going through a real-life experience needing to be compassionate with ourselves and start to become proactive not just on physical health but now is time to start to do things for our mental health even if we can't quantify or see what is wrong, ways I believe you can start to practice positive mental health is asking yourselves daily how are you dog and be honest.
You might not want to talk to someone talking to yourself about it and educating practicing self-habits working for you will KROOate a gradual process nobody is immune 6 '2 blackmail not educated on mental health until I was impacted by it. Some don't get through what I got through. I'm stressing importance of beginning self-journey of understanding how it can impact you. As you go through today's conference and listen to leaders. A better you is a better society and mental health has a lot to do with that. Thanks again I don't mind mental health America thanks for having me and enjoy the conference. Thank you. >> Hi, everyone. I'm Amy and a body centered practitioner and board member of mental health America and excited to be here with Arthy Suresh. I would love to introduce Arthy to get started in a conversation about the mind/body connection and bringing the mind and body into our healing and growth. >> Thank you for the introduction, Aimee.
Hi. I'm Arthy and a freshman in Ohio and doing an 8 year medical program hoping to be a psychiatrist and integrating approaches into the field of psychiatry. I'm happy to be here. >> Great. Arthy, my experience when I thought about mind/body I thought of it as we are our mind and we are our body. It didn't take me long to realize that we — they are all connected and it is one in the same; right? As we heal our mind and body and as we heal our body we heal our mind. How did you come to the understanding of the mind/body connection? >> I think for me it was experimenting with mind/body approaches. I was able to understand I could use my conscious mind to effect workings of my brain and rest of my body. So, when I was learning skills they taught us science behind how mind/body approaches work before we learn exercises we were doing. I learned about it by exercises effect our hypothalamus that has control over the autonomic nervous system in control of body's functions breathing heart rate and digestion and able to understand when — I could tap into my relaxation response.
That helped me learn about myself and strengthen the effect that mind/body. >> As we become more aware we become more aware and sort of have more to work with; right? As we heal and grow. So, what are some of the interventions you do? What are exercises you have learned and found helpful? >> Yeah. One of my favorite exercises is shaking and dancing. You can kind of think about it as your body when you work out is you are actively sweating and getting all this negative energy out of your body. You feel happier. Your body is releasing endorphins doing a shaking and dancing activity and we do imagery exercises which is nice. Sometimes if you go through a hard time you can kind of tap into your brain and go into a safe space and use imagery as a technique like that. We do drawings and deep belly breathing and writing exercises as well to get our emotions out. >> Great. How have you noticed in people that you work with and in your own work that how have you noticed the shift? >> The shift is truly transformational with mind/body work.
I noticed a lot of people coming into our club very timid and shy and they don't open up at first. As they use mind/body approaches, it gives them a little bit more like — you were talking about becoming more self-aware and comfortable with themselves and their emotions and truly understanding that just because we have emotions like sadness or depression, it is not a bad thing but normal thing and everybody has emotions and it is okay to talk about it and feel that way. I think for lots of people especially teenagers, there is such a big stigma around depression and anxiety. These mind/body approaches open up the space and conversation. >> Yeah. I think that is a great term. It opens the space both kind of literally and figuratively. >> Yeah. >> Our body, the energy moves. Sometimes with depression or anxiety, almost like anxiety is stuck or energy gets stuck. >> Uh had uh. >> And movement allows for release of energy and feeling. >> Yeah. >> Great.
Sounds like tell me a little about the mind/body ambassadors group. You were founder of it. Can you tell me how it came about? >> Yeah. Very early into my high school experience, my school was actually effected by a mass shooting. There was a lot of trauma on campus from students and teachers to all of the people that worked at our school and administrators and such and coming back to school was really hard for everybody, especially for us students it was hard to focus on school. Everyone was so worried about is there going to be an active shooter walking through the door and was hard on us to find [Indiscernible] on ourselves and our AP history teacher my sophomore year started our first day of class with a soft belly breathing exercise. We all thought it was so funny how the exercise goes is you say soft as you breathe in and you say belly as you breathe out. We thought it was so weird she was doing it. We went with it after a few laughs — throughout the year.
So, for us, we found a truly great experience with mind/body approaches. A couple of us. STUDENT: YERNTs and teachers that taught us these skills, we teamed up to create an after school club and how it would work was we would train students for 6 weeks where we would meet once every week and every week teach them a new mind/body skill and meet in the teacher's lounge that is comfortable and beach painted in back and bunch of cozy couches and was a nice space for us to have that open conversation about mental health WHUL we learned mind/body approaches that I think was a very healing experience for us after what had happened. After our students go through a 6 week training they become official mind/body ambassadors and have a chance to go out into the community and share skills they learned at our club. >> That is so awesome. It is so awesome. With teenagers relationship to their body is often not a great one; right? >> Yeah.
>> It is about how it appears or what it does for them; right? If there is trauma we feel it in the physical body. The fact you are bringing in body positive messages and techniques to allow them to have a different relationship with their body and see it as a source of healing is an awesome gift you are giving younger people and sounds like you have given to yourself which is part of your own recovery. >> It has been very powerful and especially everything that happened and I know it happens at every high school and kids get a lot — kids get exposed to drugs and alcohol and use that in a way to tap into the relaxation response. It was important for us to help kids get caught up with all those things after a tragedy that happened and help them heal in a natural way becoming aware of their body and using body positivity.
>> That is great. I admire you for your resiliency and way you have taken this and turned or took something tragic and terrible and turned it into an opportunity to actually spread the word about ways in which we can heal. >> Yeah. >> Yeah. Sounds like with school you are studying and you want to study psychiatry. I imagine you will take mind/body approaches and theory of mind/body into your practice one day.
Is that your goal? >> Definitely. As I have started to get into this work, I always have done loads and loads of research about the psychiatry field that is drug-dependent feel and go to psychiatrist and you go there to get drugs that help your body. >> Using mind/body approaches could be initial kind of line of treatment and moving from there if you need it take drugs and lot of people in the field don't really use these integrative medicine or alternative medicine approaches in their practice.
>> Yeah. It is tricky. It is action oriented and body supported approaches that have been around forever and medication and I think there was a time that got replaced with mind as priority and potentially medication as a benefit. >> Uh-huh. >> Both are important and almost like we are coming full circle coming back to traditional approach where's body is a source of healing and, again, it is awesome to see your generation leading effort into that. >> Yeah. >> I wish you a tremendous amount of luck in all do you and keep spreading the word and let us know us somatic practitioners out there how we can support your efforts.
Anything you want to share before we move on? >> I guess a little last tip for anyone out there wanting to explore practices or getting into mind/body approaches I recommend having an open mind experimenting with approaches that are out there. There is lots of different approaches that work for different people and they effect your body differently. I know when I first started to use practices I was a little iffy about it and there was activities that didn't work for me and some exercises that helped me a lot.
It gets easier with practice. Yeah. That is what I would say as a tip. >> Yeah. That is a really important one. I think that sometimes with body approaches you might be asked to move your body in ways you have done before and might feel it looks silly or is too big or small or too loud and important to continue to lean in with curiosity and an open mind which is an important tip.
>> Yeah. One last thing I like to think about it as all our doctors tell us to exercise our body and work out and be healthy and we need to be exercising our mind as well. That is when I use this tip and tools and what I like to think of I'm working out my mind as well. I think lots of people place more importance on their physical health than they do on their mental health and taking care of it on a daily basis. >> How can people find out about the mind body ambassador program? >> We work closely with center for mind/body medicine go to CMBM.org for mind body approaches and being involved with training and reaching out to me exploring how you can incorporate clubs in your school or start one at your school.
You can reach out to me on Instagram which is at arthy Suresh my first and last name. >> Thank you so much for important and great work you are dog and so great to speak with you. >> So great to speak with you as well. Thank you. >> Hi, everyone. I'm Arthy. I will lead you through a shaking and dancing session today. This is something I have been using up through high school and up to now and know when I would have a big dance performance I was nervous for or track meet, my friends and I would gather in a circle before our event that had sonar wrists and we did this exercise to get nerves out and hope you can do the same thing here with me today.
Shaking is a very primitive form of movement that is often used in stress-reducing response. If you have a dog and you have seen your dog shake uncontrollably after they hear thunder or what scares them this is what we aim to mimic after this exercise. You will shake off all your stress. Trust me, I have done this so many times after a long time of working at my desk for hours on end and exercising and feel so energized and revitalized after and know it sounds like she is using all these big words . Trust me. You genuinely feel energetic afterWOIRDs and this is a great exercise I used to do to melt away my stress. It sounds intimidating shaking and dancing. Some might thisty is weird at first and awkward to do. I promise if you use me as a guide and dance and shake with me it would entbe as weird as you think it is. I want you to get the most out of this exercise. Stand up and find a space you have enough room to move and shake and be part of this activity and give your body what it needs.
Go ahead and stand with your feet shoulder width apart. I like to do this exercise with my eyes closed it makes it less awkward. If someone is in room next to you kick them out and if you face a wall, that might help too. I like to exercise with eyes closed. I will invite you all to do the same if you would like.
We will just start by breathing in and breathing out slowly. Go ahead and take a deep breath in through your nose. Feel your chest and your lungs with your breath. Hold it there. Go ahead and let it out. I want you to notice how your body feels. Maybe you have tension in your shoulders. Your neck. Maybe your knees feel a little stiff. Go ahead and take a few moments to just keep breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. Noticing where in your body you have a lot of tension and maybe a lot of stress built up. If you have physical limitations, I will invite you to do this activity maybe sitting down. Kind of just listen to your body and do what is necessary for you and there is really no right way to do this exercise.
It is all about doing what your body wants you to do. As we are breathing here I want you to notice how your body and your breath feels and when you hear shaking music begin, start to shake. Whatever it means you to, start shaking. When you hear the music begin. Just keep shaking your body and maybe start slow. Shake your arms and fingers and shake your shoulders. Keep shaking to the music. Feel the music and keep shaking. Shake different parts of your body and shake your legs, knees, hips and shake your head. That is my favorite, shaking my neck. Feels so good. Shake in any way your body feels comfortable and shake to the beat if it makes the process easier. Just keep shaking. I know this might feel a little weird. Keep going with it. I promise you it is weird for both of us. This exercise really does help after you feel so pumped up and your blood is pumping and you have so much energy.
Keep shaking and shake your elbow and your arms and your fingers. Shake your legs. Keep shaking. You got this. Only a few more seconds left. Keep going. Shake harder than you have been shaking before. This is the last stretch. Just keep shaking. Okay. As music comes to a stop, keep your eyes closed. Just take a deep breath in. Let it out. As you breathe in and out deeply, I want you to drop your shh arms about I your side. Notice how your body feels now. Maybe you feel a tingling sensation at your fingertips. Notice how your body feels. As you breathe in and out.
Catching your breath. Noticing how the energy around you. Now, as you hear the music begin, start to dance. You can keep your eyes closed or face a wall if that feels comfortable for you. Dance and move the way that the music and body wants you to move before we begin. Yes! Keep dancing! There is no right way to do this. Just move how you want to move.
Dance to the music. Woo hoo! Keep dancing! Imagine yourself on a little island dancing on your own. If you get tired, keep dancing even more. I know this exercise can tire us out a little. Keep dancing until the music stops. You got this. We will be dancing for 30 more seconds. Keep going with it. Make these last 30 seconds count. Okay. As the music comes to a stop, take a moment to yourself to kind of just stand there.
Again, breathing in through your mouth. Breathing out. It is really important that we breathe in-between these little shaking and dancing exercises. I want you to notice how you feel this time maybe not just by the energy but with words and what are words that come to mind as you are thinking about how you feel right now. I want you to think about how you felt before the exercise and how you feel now and if you feel a lot more energized and you feel better and maybe there is a smile on your face now.
Really keep that in mind as you maybe use this exercise as a tool in the future for yourself. I know that I did exercises all the time, at least once a week. Thank you guys so much for joining me today. I hope you all continue to do this exercise. Keep in mind it may not work for you the first time or might feel uncomfortable or awkward. Maybe next time cow do it with friends if it makes you feel comfortable and gets you in the spirit a little bit and thank you to everyone for joining me here today and giving me an opportunity to lead you through this exercise. Don't be afraid to keep an open mind. Thank you! >> Hi, everybody. Thank you for joining I'm Marissa Byers. I'm excited to introduce to you Wawa Gatheru. Take it away and tell a little about yourself. >> Thank you everyone for that kind introduction. I'm so excited to be here and talk about an intersection that is extremely important in a day and age where climate crisis is at forefront of all our lives and a little about me and my name is Wawa.
I'm a writer and current road scholar at University of oxford and research looks at intersections between social justice and racial justice as well as access for all people in the climate space. A huge part of access is making sure that everyone is able to part in climate change activism and mental health in really upkeeping that is important in making sure it is truly accessible and excited to be in this conversation with you and sharing this virtual space with everyone tuning in. >> Absolutely. I know you have been Jet setting around Europe this past week for climate conferences and exciting you are able to speak with us in this space. Thanks for that. Setting the stage for the conversation I want to dive into how environment is important for our mental health and how we don't really talk about and magnitude of climate change could be challenging for mental health working in advocacy to support that.
Big problems about big feelings and how we protect ourselves working towards a better future and intersections that come along with that. What do you see about relationship between environment and mental health? >> Good question. I think environment and mental health have everything to do with each other and jumping back to do a framework I work upon which is environmental justice framework looking at environment from interdisciplinary point of view and environment not only natural spaces about you places we eat and sleep and pray as well as own bodies and mental health have everything to do with that especially in day and age where climate crisis is at forefront of our minds and every day it seems there is a new climate report coming out and there is very, very normal and natural responses that we have to such overwelMing news and our mental health having access to information is a huge point of conversation we need to have when we talk about climate change advocacy.
>> Absolutely. Interesting looking at work as environmental advocate and on mental health. Climate change issue causes lots of stress and when we go back to nature is where I see connection between environment and mental health and benefits of being outdoors whether in a built environment like a park or out in the wilderness, whatever you have access to; right? Being out in green space has physical cognitive emotional benefits for us complex relationship with mental health and climate change and answer to dealing with it as I see it is being able to be in green spaces where we can have experiences decreasing serotonin levels exposing us to microbes in soil that decrease cortisol and increase serotonin and being able to work in conjunction with nature to restore our mental health and we talked about impact of climate change on mental health and big ways that happens and what advice do you have for advocates working in this space in terms of protecting their mental health in face of the big issues? >> Fantastic question that I think about all the time.
First, I want to reaffirm everything you just said in regards to the answer and lots of times we are seeing research coming out saying spending time outside and in green space is helping people cope with ecoanxiety and climb YAELT grief that is an interesting juxtaposition. For me, I see climate crisis being the earth's feedback to us and telling us systems we relied on for years now are not working and earth is giving an opportunity to restructure systems that make the world go round and thinking critically about them and seeing what is not working and revise them. We do see that especially I don't want to be it that person that is jen Zers and seeing with research and instance folks part of gen Z demographic I'm part of we spend time before us and many reasons and interesting to see now there is research coming out saying demographic it that is experiencing climate grief and anxiety at such high rates are also maybe not always tapping into the answer.
To really use that to frame how I will answer the next point, I think that spending time outside is so, so important and taking time to be in the sun for instance. Vitamin D is extremely important and impacts your mental health in so many different ways and will say that action is a great way for people to really deal with a really complicated and emotional responses that people have to climate change. Chimate change is above all else a story of grief and helplessness and is a story of hope; right? There is things happening around the world looking on the news and seems there is a natural disaster or seeing another report like I said about high-level sea rise and P in certain places in the world that might not be above water.
As little as 50 to 60 years; right? At the same time, there is so much opportunity to act and there is so much hope in that. I would say for folks that are watching TRIENDing to figure out what to do with these emotions that understanding that all these emotions are not dead end emotions but are a massive entryway for you to act whether that is joining a climate group that is nearby your community or starting your own or connecting with folks online doing really cool work. When the pandemic happened, I felt lost. My way of activism has been in person and grassroots organizing and suddenly I couldn't do that. Then I found a whole huge community online of young people from around the world that are exchange evering ideas how we can get involved in climate action.
We are able to mobilize together and create really, really firm and authentic friendships that are really important. We get to talk about the way we are feeling with people going through the same thing. >> Absolutely. I 100% agree with everything you just said. I think especially when people are thinking how do I get involved whether climate advocacy or mental health advocacy connecting with community whether in person or online is a key and recently was an article published from university of Beth 10,000 respondients and young people around the world were asked about climate change and experience they had in regard to it.
Things came up people said climate change makes them feel sad and angry and anxious and powerless and when asked if they had spoken to people about climate change a significant nearly half of the people who spoke to someone else about climate change said they were ignored or dismissed about concerns or feelings and adding isolation or feeling of rejection on top of already complex feelings compounds a lot of the pain and grief we are feeling already. Plugging into a community and looking attur own strengths and what they are. You don't have to be spearheading these efforts. So much is going on and we have different roles to play. I think that finding that community and getting plugged in on what the best role is for you is so important.
Then when it comes to creating the community, Wawa, what do you think is a good way for someone to reach out and get plugged into the movement? >> Great question. I think what you said at the end of the question is where you are talking about the fact that we have a role to play. That really applies into figuring out what role we have to play in our communities; right? Instance, there is some people that are public speakers and are communicators and folks that are out there talking about climate change making it accessible to different folks and feel I might fall within that category and are artists and people using music or artwork as a way to communicate way that climate crisis is impacting them or way to spotlight places in the world that are experiencing climate crisis and so many different ways for people to participate.
Either there are caregivers or folks that are going to be the future ecotherapists able to deal with patients dealing with climate anxiety and have tools to be able to equip patients figuring out how to navigate emotions and at a time of such uncertainty and so many incredible roles to play and would say a first thing to do that is something I like to do and my therapist helped me navigate this. She was like, okay. Wawa, what were loves you had as a child and things you gravitated towards where nobody was telling you to do them but they were innate loves and passions you had. For me, I love to talk and could talk anybody's ear off. I also love music. For me, something I realized is a way I found communicating in climate space is communicating and sharing love of music and sharing music with favorite artists talking about huge massive social justice issues with music and great way to find community and tap into the child's and passions and loves you have.
Often times you have those that are really sustainable and regenerative and are great for overall health in general also saying don't be afraid to reach out to people in your community you haven't spoken to and feel active and reach out to. I come from a small town and felt like I was one of the only people talking about environmentalism. When I got an Instagram, I saw there were people from around the world doing this. I had made a lot of friends in the past two years and those that have become best friends that I have been organizing with that I shot my shot in the DMs, my friendship shot. I love your work and would love to connect and two years later we are drinking coffee in London and this is the reality. I would say reach out to people and don't be afraid to. There is so much. There is so much power in having community. We can't deal with these issues by ourselves. If only one person could deal with these issues, then they wouldn't be possible.
These issues wouldn't be able to be solved. Find solace in that and in making friendships and really putting yourself out there to instill community and if it doesn't exist in your backyard or community start one yourself. Start an organization or a walking group. So many creative ways you can get people involved in climate and in the environment. >> Beautifully said. I'm loving that and hearing you talk about different ways to be involved in activism and ways to play on strength and share message and looking at self-care is similar and different people have different ways that they make themselves feel better protecting their energy looking at tips there are. >> Self-care looks so different for all of us and what make me feel good might not be what makes you feel good.
That is totally fine. — something that I like to do for self-care that makes me feel guess specially when feeling down or burnt out I like to write poetry or songs in my lonesome and is fun to take a walk at a park and sit at a tree and do it outside. Might no the be possible in the winter but taking a couple seconds to walk outside and observe and use it to inform things I write down and I like short stories and things I like to do and people watching at a park and making up stories and bustling around New York City is super fun and bringing practices outside and understand first and foremost what makes you feel good and your self-care is valid and might not be part of traditional mainstream definition of self-care. If it works for you it works for you.
Way you should do this is also through listening to your body and listening to your body is so crucial to ensuring physical or mental health are upkept and I feel as someone who has been [Indiscernible] for a long time I sometimes feel I might not be listening to my body as much as I should be. I will SPENTD several weeks working or organizing endeavor or campaign and realize you need a couple days owe of to really just sit and care for yourself. So, definitely listen to your body. Your body knows you better than anybody else. Never take it for granted. >> Absolutely. I love it can be so personalized. Just creativity that goes into developing your own self-care routine. I will add lots of times ecotherapy, people have a notion that it is going out into the wilderness is a big thing and you have to travel somewhere far and want to disspell the myth ecotherapy and working with nature to receive benefits and de-stress and calm doesn't have to be complicated about you could be stepping outside and taking a breath and looking at the sky.
Don't have to travel somewhere or doesn't have to be Instagramable. Getting outside and if just reading a book where you can feel the breeze on your skin and connect in a little more of a deep way. Not all places like I live in a city without equitable access to parks is not walkable and hard to get to places unless you are in a car. Having practices that use the environment you have is important. Even if it is not a picturesque mountain range place you are are important and roots in that place are important and there is a lot to learn from being outside in the different environments. So, I think kind of dispelling the myth of getting outside has to be a chore or big ideal is something I'm passionate about. You can make it work wherever you are. It is a big lesson we learn from nature and is what I have to add to that little soap box about getting outside and taking advantage of nature.
We can talk about this all day, Wawa. I loved hearing from you and getting to learn about ways to incorporate in aitiure into your mental heal BLG and learning about your advocacy. If people want to stay in touch with you after the talk what is best way to follow you? >> Follow me at inTA gram at wawa –@black girl environmentalists we are a supportive community. We are creating a very intentional and safe space for us to talk about our environmental experiences and work we do. Please feel free to follow along if you are not part of the demographic we are also so interested in collaborating with different allies from different communities. Definitely stay tuned to the fun stuff we have coming up. >> Absolutely.
If you need a nature moment to take a break from processing climate change follow latest project for ecotherapy for all on Instagram for mindful moments and different meditative activities taking place outside in nature. Thank you and for being in conversation with us today. Thank you all for participating in our session. Next, we will have a short five-minute activity to help ground us after this conversation led by Anthony Sartori from evolving minds. Thank you and enjoy the rest of the summit. As you pause you might be aware what is here with you and any emotions or feelings. Deep breath in sounds and space around you grounding attention and aware BS and SOURNDs and m I'm Anthony and director of evolving minds practice and connection and today's video is about connection and intersection of mindfulness and climate change and climate action and how practice of mindfulness is a powerful tool or way of preventing and combating climate change. We will take a pause and practice interconnection and feeling connected to all of life and knowing if there are feelings from previous session those are valid and okay and welcomed in this space.
As we transition into the mindfulness pause you might allow eyes to close. Knowing you can practice mindfulness with eyes open and as you pause you might allow hands to consciously relax and finding support of the chair beneath the body becoming aware of sounds and space around you. Changing nature of sounds, grounding nature of sounds. As you pause, you might become aware of the body from the crown of the head to the tips of the toes and the space in-between and feeling the aliveness. Or maybe a sense of disconnection and not feeling and might present within the body and sense of anxiety or stress or overwhelmed and allowing the shoulders to drop back consciously relaxing the jaw. Allowing breath to move in and out at its own pace and rhythm.
Feeling movements and sometimes could be helpful to place hands on the belly as a way of grounding attention and awareness offering and nurturing presence and touch. As you pause there is connection here with in and out motions and trees are here with us. Cycles of the in and out movement of the breath. This is possible because of the trees. And the plants and the algae and the sea. So, as you pause and breathe and there is a sense of connection here with the earth and sense of movement with the clouds and thunderstorms and rain and water. As you pause knowing there is water within you.
This source of life for all living beings is here. It is all around us. Knowing there is no right or wrong way to be you in these moments. As we transition back to the space around you with eyes open and opening the eyes grounding your attention and color and light and sound. May all beings effected by climate change be free from suffering and be protected from inner and outer harm. This is the practice of mindfulness. Take care and bye bye. >> Hi, everyone. Mental health is a big focus and I'm happy to be here today seeing work you are all doing as advocates. Listen, we are in the midst of a global [Indiscernible] when coming to mental health from increased risk of substance abuse to rising rates of anxiety and depression, toll as been enorm owe us and at YouTube our role is to help people find information and community to help them better manage their mental health.
Through open discussion and education, we can tackle stigma and encourage improved outcomes for people and families and communities and is important to have all of you join the mission challenging notion of mental health advocating for better care and more resources and believe it makes a difference. Thank you. >> Hello, everyone. Welcome to our session fighting loneliness, the power of fear I'm Ysabel Garcia and use she and her pronouns. I identify as a woman and have short dark brown hair and eyes and I'm wearing a red sweater and blue headphones and background is white walls and plants to the right and left. In this session, we are going to learn to help our friends who might feel like there is nowhere for them to go when they need help and we will learn about the power of connecting with friends in new ways and finding new communities where we can be open and honest about our mental health.
Having this amazing conversation we have amazing panelists and we have Stephanie Kaufman who is using they and them pronouns. We have Geela Ramos. She is president of UCF active mind and lastly is Lorne Wood using he and him pronoun and is a training specialist at star training academy. I want to let you know that I have questions for these at the end. Feel free to drop something in the chat if we have a conversation. All righty. So, I will start with the first question. Can you share your experience in how you came into the world of peer support? Stephanie, would you like to start us off? >> Sorry.
Thank you so much. Hi, everyone. Really excited to be had here with you all. And to give a quick visual description of myself. I'm a white non-binary person wearing blue earrings and have a peacock scarf on. I'm in my bedroom talking to all of you. For me, I came into peer support mostly out of survival. My first real memory of needing peer support was being a freshman in high school when I lost a friend to suicide. And my school district did not want to talk about it. It — it meant accepting in their minds liability for what had happens and that fear of suicide and fear of conversation stopped a lot of necessary support. For me, I was a 14 year old and there was a bunch of us who were traumatized and had nowhere to turn and adults in my life had no skills.
If there were folks who we could talk to, many were afraid we could call our parents and families weren't ready to have conversations for lots of different reasons. Fast forward and for me I'm someone who has been through the mentalth health system for many years and through the years have been diagnosed with lots of things with goal of always fixing and curing me and I've had positive experiences in the system and also had really upsetting experiences and for me peer support saved my life and my peers never put me in a cage and listened to me and understood me and talked to me and it is really important to have, you know, peer support with a social justice lens.
Harm is always possible and power dynamics are always there. When thinking about peer support, we want to make sure it is coming from folks who are really considering our liberation in addition to supporting us to give us tools and resources we need to not just survive but feel whole. Yeah. I will stop there. >> Wow. Yes. Not just to survive but to feel whole. Wow, that is powerful. Would anyone else like to answer or learn, Geela? >> I can go next. So, a quick visual description where I am and who I am. Again, I'm Geela and right now wearing rubber duck earrings and wearing glasses and Asian American wearing really bright red lipstick and in bedroom with a duck in the corner representing my university which is university of central Florida that is having homecoming and my experience coming if into the world of peer support similarly started owe of with high school with a close friend who is experiencing depression and I was very confused at the time.
I was use today push off my FEEMings to decide and surely my friend will do the same. It wasn't helping and didn't know what was best way to approach it. He was very close to me and I could only see him suffering and didn't know how else. As a result, luckily, county I come from which is South Florida started a program that focuses on overcoming problems effectively that is abbreviation and acronym and is the start and hope was meant to be a program of peer support.
We were kids trying to navigate this. These were clubs supposed to be self-taught and self-led and teaching myself what it meant to be a peer supporting others including my friends and is a long learning process. I'm still learning I'm in college now and currently part of active minds and was a club I sought out coming into the university and likewise we focus on being self-led and self-taught in how we advocate mental health from social justice lens and counseling and supportive psychological services. We have our chapter there is over 600 in the nation now that are fight ing for the same cause. >> Thanks for sharing your support. I think that is a great segue to the next question which is what is peer support? Why does it matter? Would you like to answer this question? >> Absolutely. Background on myself, HEP hello, everyone. I'm Lorne Wood and started off as a foster youth and taken away from my family when 9 years old and ended up in 14 different foster homes moving from place to place and never quite fitting in.
I received mental health services a number of times and most of it was negative. Some of it was positive. But, I think when I got older I found out about this movement of peers. Right? Peer support. What it is, is really coming from — it is providing mental health services through a lens of lived experiences and lived experience meaning we have been through something. You know, like struggling with mental health and maybe it is substance use. It is — you know, it is a pretty broad definition and is important because it provides another avenue for people to receive services. If I feel like I'm alone and I'm not willing to receive mental health services but hear that somebody has been going through something similar it is the thing I need to feel comfortable into that environment and to open up to somebody else.
>> Hm. Yes. Yes. Well, who else would like to answer the question what is peer support and why does it matter? >> I can jump in. This is Stephanie speaking and for me one of the most important parts of peer support is, you know, this idea of offering care and presence and often just bearing witness to someone's experience and what is happening without always having to put a label on it. Or, you know, rush to medi indicate someone's experience away and in our society in general, if this comes through the language of the mental health system and diagnosis, you know, has often, you know, been in a particular way that says this is what it looks like to have good mental health or to be considered sane and the word disorder what does that mean? I don't know what that looks like.
You know, I think for me peer support could be a form of mental health care. It doesn't have to be but could be a relationship and could be a form of healing. I think for me that it matters so much. You know, I often ask people when I'm doing peer support trainings to think about a time in your life where you really needed support but weren't ready to change and it is hard for people to hold space when we are not there yet. So often my peers have done that for me. The last part, you know, for me, going back to the roots of peer support, they are actually very, you know, radical in nature and way I'm using radical, I'm challenging very nature of mental health system and challenging things like forced treatment and thinking of the way that for so many of us we have been taught the only answer if someone is struggling or having a mental health crisis is calling 911 despite the fact people are dying particularly black and brown and indigenous disabled brown people being killed who need help and support and for me peer support is getting back to roots and really thinking about, you know, what has gone wrong with our system? You know, lots of the peer support that has saved my life has been from folks who are also, you know, in a space of questioning and at different times being willing to help me navigate the mental health system.
I did want to access care. That is a critical part for me as well. >> I think you mentioned several ways which peer support is different from traditional mental health service like counseling and therapy and would like to hear from Geela or Lorne, what do you think about that and what is different for you? >> This is Geela and something different from peer support especially talking about a college or school environment in general is your peers are ones you are immediately connected to and something that is often a common problem is — that doesn't mean they are always readily available sometimes you have to wait over a month to get some support from a therapist and that is especially true for colleges and universities and having a large population such as my university and peer support is first looking to those that you might trust more and feel more comfortable being around and more importantly feel you are more vulnerable around and peer support is something you can just talk about and helps you reduce stigma a lot.
It is same nature and to me you are talking to a friend and to someone who cares about you and to at least some extent and peer support is just something simple we can do not just when we really need it but in our every-day lives. >> I love that. The every-day life aspect, I love that because I — when I talk about peer support I feel it is accessible and mentioning in therm and other systems that waitlist and a bunch of factors getting in the way and effecting those SIFLT ems especially if you hold marginalized identities maybe person of color or part of LGBT community and I'm wondering what are those basics of peer support? How can we make them a daily practice if we are talking about what is accessible.
Well, so, how can we introduce them to our every-day lives? Lauren, would you like to answer this question? >> Absolutely. I should preface this by saying I worked typically the bill K of my experience over the last 10 years is working in direct service mental health services and what would traditionally be considered traditional mental health services and as a peer and doing training as well. What I think is really cool is that the concepts of peer support still remain the same and that most fundamental part of it is human connection. I can relate to. I think that for peer services I think that the common thread is human connection. >> Yes. Human connection. >> I like you spoke about peer support and excess waiting system as well. Not just yes. It is a daily practice and we can have in community and at the same time there are — there is an active program for peer support.
Stephanie, would you like to talk a little about what type of peer support programs exist? >> Yeah. Thank you for that question. I think, you know, there is a whole range and spectrum and when we are thinking about — excuse me. When we are thinking about peer support for some folks it is something that is a career and has become professionalized and — we see folks who are running peer resident pit centers that are really wonderful programs and houses that are often used as alternatives to hospitalization. These are non-clinical spaces led by for peers and many of them you can come and stay for up to 7 days. You can leave if you need to go to work if you have kids I think that is for me a really important example of one of my foundational values which is anti-force and anti-coercion and allowing people to make their own choices.
You know, not having the assumption that someone having a mental health crisis is inherently dangerous when reality is that people who are labeled with mental illness are much more likely to experience violence and be perpetrators of violence and everybody is capable of harm and particularly our communities are repeatedly labeled as dangerous and that is multiplied when you add different identities into the mix. We really see different types of support on college campuses it that is work that we have done with project in particular and were seeing peer support programs were being supervised and run through the university and had almost the same issues that the counseling center had around students not trusting it or not knowing where information is going and what happens and when my college finds out I self-harm or hear voices detours people from using those services.
With project let's we were one of the first peer support programs that was completely student run and not supervised at all by the university and we had built our own protocols around what to do in crisis and how to avoid using cars RAL solutions such as calling the police and is absolutely unacceptable that colleges have their own police forces that will come to students dorm room with a gun in their pocket and say they are there to help that escalates a situation and I think there is a really wide range of uses of peer support whether it is more professionalized or it is happening all the time in community and I want to name that, that marginalized folks queer and trans folks and disabled folks and mutual aid and Covid and surviving so long and mutual aid is a form of peer support and for me last thing I want is a name around a really important value that is around, you know, having space to have multiple world views.
You know, the mental heal BLG system and US-based understanding of psychiatry as a whole is only one way of making sense of the experiences and peer support allows for a whole range. You know, if someone comes to me saying they are hearing voices and are a healer and are communicating with ancestors I have space for that and I won't label that as psychosis. I think that the mental health system has a tremendous amount to learn from peerism and way we navigate peer support. >> Thanks so much. There seems to be many ways that we can reach peer support. I'm wondering how. Like are there Websites or are there — are there — how would we find those services? Geela, would you like to answer the question? >> Of course.
To find services best way to do is ask around and ask a doctor if you have a doctor you are seeing and college campus you can ask and what student services office is and actual counseling and psychological services. If you have friends struggling with the same thing perhaps you want to ask them how they are coping and if they have peer support spaces they go to.
You can also always look it up on the web. There is resources online that can help you and including social media that is the greatest platform we have and is powerful trying to find sense of communities and resources you might be and whether reaching out to community or those that are close to you or general Network and many ways to find these sources. >> Awesome. >> Lauren, would you like to ask resources you know of? >> I think Geela nailed it and biggest thing is asking around and doing research and looking on the web. I got into peer support. If we are talking about how to get into providing peer support, then, you know, I searched around and found it and addressing something I found in the chat in the beginning of the show is somebody said I want to get involved in peer support but don't feel smart enough. Really, I think that you shouldn't worry about that. I started working and providing peer support when I was 19 and thought I was way in over my head and find it is a skill like anything else.
If you want to help people, I say get started with it. Don't downplay that. You are probably interested in helping because of something you have seen or experienced; right? Think of that as an assets and as something that can help you help people. I thought of most of my life as a waste of time for the longest time. I started to do peer work and realize that this is not — these horrible things that happen to me are horrible indeed. But, they are also — they are also a tool that I can use to help other people get through similar things. >> Right. Perfect. Yes. Wow. That comment around feelings of feeling smart enough has had — hit me.
Because I — when I started peer support and to do or educate myself on peer support, I felt like incompetent. I did. I was like, oh, my God. I don't know how to ask a question or open the question. And so I — I would say they are so many amazing educational programs out there. From project [Indiscernible] to tomorrow there is a training I'm going to actually which is about anti-[Indiscernible] practices talking about suicide; right? The thought of peer support and abolitionist approach as well. There is also an organization that is called WAUL flower alliance that is in western Massachusetts. They provide amazing peer support training and provide [Indiscernible] training and [Indiscernible] to suicide training which is my favorite approach coming to addressing suicide ideation or thoughts, et cetera. They are — there are great programs out there that we can use to educate ourselves and to practice and, you know, it takes practice. Like Tiffany says, mutual A in community care system and forever, especially communities of color. I think it starts to — it is time to start to recognize that it is here.
You have always been here. How do we recognize it and start to promote it and that is one of the ways that we are raising that awareness. All righty. We are going to start audience Q & A. We have some very interesting questions. Thank you so much for submitting your questions in the chat. First one is how can you find the balance in peer support between open discussion and promotion? For example, supporting eating disorder recovery versus eating disorder behavior. Who would like to answer this question? >> I can start. I think that is something that as part of an active minds chapter, we have to always strike a very sensitive balance, I guess. Or a [Indiscernible] balance. As an RSO or registered organization, we feel it is necessary to be able to be educated enough to talk about the issues and also recognizing we are here to support others and be in open space and as far as actually being able to encourage recovery versus teaching about it, it is almost in a way 50/50 sometimes.
It is not just me educating myself. For example, if someone else is going through it and don't know what is happening, how can I recognize this and help them to recognize this? Often with peer support it is often a form of listening. Doesn't matter who is listening as long as both are listening to each other. Usually, we practice when we are encouraging recovery in trying to help them recover and practice bar and validate, appreciate, and refer. In the referrals we give, it is not necessarily just referring them to businesses they can access but referring them to here are a few resources you can learn more about what you are going through and explore for yourself what you think is applicable at the moment and there is usually a 50/50 balance when you are in organization that has responsibility. >> Hm. I think it is also important to differentiate between validation and agreement. For me, validation is not necessarily saying, yes. You should do this thing. It is about I believe in your pain. I believe you when you tell me there is pain, I believe you. I think that, that is a difference therebetween that validation and encouragement.
There is a difference there. Anyone else would like to chime in on the question? >> Yeah. For me, something that is coming up is our role as peer supporters is to follow the lead of the person we are working with. You know, people are not projects to be fixed and things are complicated and we have to trust that while, you know, many people don't have access to all of the same types of knowledge that people do know their body minds are best and people have tried things.
It could be extremely invalidating, right? For someone to share something with you and response be have you tried X? Right? Things like that could be really difficult to hear. You know, I think another thing coming up for me is often times people think that the way to encourage someone to change behavior is through shame and punishment and through isolation and through ultimatetivums and through contracts and can't expect people to change and be supportive in changing if only tool we use is the threat of disconnection. You know, I think the way to go about that is, you know, I'm here.
If you are struggling and slip and have a bad day here, I won't shame you or punish you for that or ask you to stop before I can be your friend. I think it is actually could be really dangerous to force someone to heal before they are ready. Someone needs to feel safe inside of their own body and mind before they can access trauma.
Otherwise, we are just forcing someone to open, you know, something that they are not ready for. So, I think that holding space offering and being able to reflect back to our own lived experience and sharing and hey, no pressure. I wanted to offer this thing where you could be a really wonderful way of shining lights on things that folks may not be fully connecting with. >> Thank you. Thank you so much. So, it is actually the end of our discussion.
I want to — first of all, I want to thank all of you and to all of the panelists for taking time to be here and to all of the attendees and thank you for the questions as well. They were submitted in the chat and lastly I want to ask for social media. Are there — where can we find your organizations? Where can we find you? >> Geela, would you like to start? >> Of course. For active mind specifically, you can look up Website active minds.org and on social media platforms and I'm familiar with Instagram at active underscore minds. >> Awesome. Lauren? >> Yeah. So, you can find me at stars tip academy on Twitter.
Stars tip academy. >> Stephanie? >> Yeah. You can find us at project let's.org and mental health system lead by peers and if looking for a place to start and if you have been part of other peer support communities haven't felt aligned with values or where you are at, you are welcome to check us out. >> Awesome. If you are looking for education and in terms of suicide prevention from social justice lens you can find me at — on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Finishing up, mental health America is currently support program on college campuses. If you have participated in college peer support program check out the link to drop in the chat and stay tuned for the next session which is nothings for us without us: Stigma, discrimination, and sanism.
Thank you so much, everyone. >> Telling your story is important and finding pathways to getting support whether peer support or therapy or working with a psychiatrist. You want to make sure everything is freely and readily available in noncoercesive and trauma-informed ways. Thinking as a starting point it is important to unpack what the mental health advocacy world is. So, just to get started, I will kick it off to Ve SP er.
From your perspective why is mental health advocacy bigger than stigma reduction. >> Yeah. Mental health encompasses so many things. People have been treated differently isolated from the rest of society because of socially we have fear of emotional distress. Whether that be ourselves and losing some type of control and fear of sitting in danger and presence of danger with ourselves and danger in our lives on how we can confront it and move through it. Due to this response, we often end up, again, you know, isolating or siloing out, if you will. The disabled and the mad and those with mental health diagnosis. I believe stigma really doesn't talk about the portion of identity where we can reclaim identity around our emotional distress and/or unusual experiences and other extreme experiences or states of being. We don't talk about that enough and freedom to really reclaim that. I like to challenge people around the term stigma which can be utilized in lots of regards. Can we really be speaking to it more from a place of prejudice and challenging the fact that this is, you know, historical context of oppression that has existed as long as humanity has existed.
>> I love how Ve SP er framed that. Piggybacking off you, collegiate innovation council and lots of conversations about stigma as I navigated my personal experiences connecting with peers and I realized this is not stigma but is systemic and discrimination and prejudice. Stigma makes it as if there is something wrong with the person when really those of us with lived experiences, there is nothing wrong with us but is part of our experience we navigate. Not that it is the same issue. I do intersectional work. Racism is systemic and sanism is systemic and policies and laws whether on your campus or just your every-day life existing that impact us. I think like Ve SP er mentioned moving paths and challenging stigma to say this is sanism or a type of discrimination will reframe how we think about our social justice work in this area to not put blame on the person but re-evaluate what are these systems it that we are living in right now? I love that.
I love this conversation already. >> Yeah. So glad to be here and to be exposed to all of you and continue and context and advocates and activists we have to legalize human rights that we have and — patriarchy and institution racism and sexism and there are many other isms that exist within intersectional framework that is mentioned centered around living experiences living experience is a medical discourse no cure to mental health I'm not dead yet and continue to live experiences of emotional distress and childhood trauma and they are all really important points that I think is important that we eliminate sanism as form of ableism. Ableism is barely existent and sanism and we can start that conversation dialogue today. >> I would love to follow up, Matt, and then to Ve SP er and A /* Jalyn. I want to make a difference in the lives of other people and to your point, Matt, there is a conversation about all ableism and sanism.
Those words are — many people don't know what they are or what they mean. Often, you don't realize, right? To Jalyn's point you are used to system excluding and alienating and marginalizing people mental health condition and madness and whatever language you use it is hard to begin to impact that you are often faced to deal with it by yourself. Can you give examples what we really mean? What does it look like to face sanism or ableism in context of mental health? >> Facing sanism and in context of mental heal BLG is often when we see circumstances of unhoused person who is on the street who is, you know, really, really struggling in ways that they may be and existing in ways they do, all of a sudden they are being treated as someone who needs to be put away and taken out of a capitalist society that has to exist in a certain way and because they are not contributing to this and rate of productivity in capitalist society and all of a sudden they are disposable and treated as disposable.
That is one context which sanism exists and I think in representation of identity and how we carry ourselves and this really is a colonial idea that, again, has historically existed and that we are supposed to carry ourselves and act a certain way and be a certain way. And there is such a fear of, again, danger and loss of control that — that really makes us respond in that way. I also — I also want to say that in a framework of what our society often calls mental illness, I would like to challenge that.
When we say mental illness, what ends up happening is that we are not talking about one, the context of identity where what we are siloing it again. Two, when we say mental illness, we are not really — we are not putting pressures on systems or society to be more accessible to us in ways in which we exist and how we get into disability justice framework and not about anything wrong with your mind and body as you exist; right? Rather society has to be more accessible to you as you are. And we don't talk about that enough. When we have mental illness paradigm, what it does is you are responsible for recovery and for doing this. It is back on the individual. >> I'm happy to continue to piggyback off that. I call it psychiatric disforia and like gender disforia. There is no pill for homophobia or racism and mental health issues are direct result of systemic and structural oppression and is convenient for government and psychiatry to blame individuals within illness paradigm and framework for emotional struggles when in reality we have to look at intersecting lines of oppression and higher rates of mental issues and — Research that works for them.
This is a very dark system and very dark and went into — >> I don't have much to add. Period Ve SP er and what Matt mentioned and yeah. I think it plays into re-evaluating what is normal and acceptable. Because like they were mentioning, it is systemic like you can't take a pill to just a pill alone won't fix everything and me taking a pill will not fix racism or mental health to prison pipeline or disparities we face or disparities in housing and those with disabilities and mental disabilities we have most issues keeping housing there is so many systemic things and capitalism, I'm just like woo. I'm processing what they said. Also, just agreeing with everything you are mentioning. I think it is important for us to challenge. People can think and process and function in different ways and that be acceptable and it shouldn't be a norm that our worth is only based off productivity and being productive in a way that is seen as normal, I guess. >> I think that lots of people who hadn't maybe engaged with it that idea before really confronted it over the past year and a half with Covid where I have seen in my college mental health advocacy so many things where people were dealing with depression or different challenges pre-Covid were denied things that were freely given to people when everybody was struggling during the pandemic; right? If I, for example, somebody who when I was experiencing depression 16 hours a day and couldn't function and got extensions on assignments and changes to my course load so many people get accommodation Oz R need support like that and are meant you don't deserve to be here this might not be the place for you and during Covid when became everybody's need suddenly they were able to do things like that.
We are using a lot of broad language. So, just to get a little more specific, I will ask you, Jay willin our intersections came around college and lots of folks listening will be our students or people who are recently in school. Can you illustrate what sanism and ableism and like what are types of discrimination that students whether in high school or college are dealing with when it comes to mental health? >> Yeah. It is so interesting just in the journey and now I'm working at the center that is looking at the issues from kindergarten to really not just college but professional programs like law school and grad school as well. My personal experience coming into this space, I really empathize with people navigating Covid and now getting more access to accommodations in crisis as well as so many people who are being left behind due to the pandemic. For instance, from my experience I took a medical withdraw for example and survivor of mental health systems and people don't talk about ableism and systemic discrimination that you have to navigate to return to school after medical withdrawal and see I'm a first generation student.
I'm in group chats with students who talk about I'm struggling to secure housing from my experience pre-pandemic getting back to campus after a medical withdrawal was a battle to get housing and I was the last to be able to choose my classes as a junior in college. They can be terrifying. You just see a lot of financial and systemic obstacles and barriers that students face pre-pandemic and is more exasperated.
Now, it is more intense. That is like I guess my first thought on what students have to navigate now and just incars RAL STUGSs are a layer of being incarcerate and systems should be seen as institution and if you are unwillingly trying to catch up in classes after it that. From my work from the Baslon center seeing it across the country and personal experiences seeing Covid impact are things that I keep seeing over and over.
I hope with conversations we can start to end this. Form of leprosy and spreading subservience or homosexuality up until 2000 seven and 2013 and challenging the nature of how we are categorizing to stress and oppressing people further and how that exists now. >> Yeah. The overmedicalization and industrial complex of medicalization of human suffering is designed to impress those in power often cisgendered white upper class men who like to manSPLAN their way through the world a couple are lovely but very rare and to give an elevator pitch and language to jump on what Ve SP er is saying words like idioim bass I'll moron are used in stages for children in institution mad or crazy and people use this language in every day language that is sanism we have to start challenging that. Think as somebody who talked about the ideas and was exposed to ideas at a time I felt disempowered by mental health services one of the — some pushback you get when you critique systems saying this is not right or sometimes often systems harm people and people feel you are saying, well, we shouldn't help people or provide resources to people.
Ve SP er, I heard you talk about this and what does it look like to — some people benefit many people benefit from therapy and many people benefit from all sorts of types of traditional mental health services even if there is a lot more community stuff whether peer support that we will talk about later and obviously dismantling other types of oppression and how do you rebuild or reframe things so that it is not, I guess, pushing everybody against one another.
I think lots of people will hear this saying you are saying nobody should ask for help. That is not what is being said. Can you share a little about what — I would love to hear from all of you and how do you respond when somebody says your critiques mean are you telling people that they are not asking for help? >> I say it is not intended to be. Don't pursue help or look for types of supports. Rather I'm trying to have folks be informed as to what is out there as possible and harm that could be caused from it. Therapy for example, you know, I used this example before and will speak to it again. Therapy could be used as a tool for social control. It is just the transparency that, that has happened and that currently happens is what we are looking for.
And acknowledgment and policies and practices that could be informed by people who are most impacted; right? Disabled and mad folks who could really speak to, hey, this is how this approach should be. If a practicing doctor does something like this, it is a form of discrimination on the basis of disability and on basis of identity that is a form of violation and form of harm and that we are speaking to that and acknowledging that and simultaneously you can pursue these types of help. It is important that professionals within the mental health system really understand that the mental health industrial complex is built on a foundation of harm historically and currently. We have to address it can't continue in ways it happens we are seeing more and more people experiencing emotional distress throughout this time is really highlighting what mad and disabled folks have encountered over thousands of years. >> Absolutely talk being programs and ideas that are actions and reflexive inaction.
What are alternatives? Dismantle DSM or pathward framework and understanding people's human experiences. We view people through a humanistic experience who would have thought. There is medicalization viewing people that operate TLUZ psychology and psychiatry and diagnostic model of viewing human experience and allied health based understandings in interventions managed or led services with living experienced people that are trained in living experience and peer methods. There is ONGSs addressing social injustices around the world and intersections are solutions and we can talk about problems and are solutions happening around the world in pockets.
>> For me, I would say, you know, I would encourage everyone to look up disability justice and there is a great resource on things valid online and home and community-based services. What is so interesting to me and concepts I like in disability justice focused on collective liberation and intersectionality and the most impacted I like that one. We are not sitting here to complain. We are directly impacted people and here are things we want to address to have a more intersectional and equitable world. And just also understanding the mental health rights is part of disability rights movement that I push to reframe and center BIPOC people with disabilities because historically like OEM stead versus LC case is what gave us the legal rights to be integrated in schools and in work.
LC stands for Lois Curtis a black woman with mental health disabilities and moments to unpack disability is not just a white issue or just a health issue but intersectionish touching on what Matt and VES per were saying and education like Kelly was saying and everything. If we don't look at or center us who are most directly impacted and also consider community-based services to be as integrated in society as possible, we are not going to get the answer until we are all working together no matter what individual experiences are to give everyone an opportunity to do that.
>> Can you all speak a little more? I think many people are never exposed to the idea that there is a conversation to be had around mental health rights. What does that mean and what is intersection of mental health rights and what does it look like and what are examples? >> So, the right to informed consent is a big starting point. >> I think in context how we reframe understanding what is in prison in society is important and we don't equate psychiatric institution or nursing home or geriatric facility and we don't equate cars RAL behavior and impact on mental health that means encouraging a culture of punishment and when something happens immediate response must be a punishment which is the way to then address the issue and often not talking about community compassion and collective responses to healing and working together.
I think every culture across the world might have idea what individualism and collectivism might mean to them and with regards to disability justice like Jaylyn spoke to earlier and we can in fact be the experts of our own experiences because we have been through it which is nothing new and existed in indigenous societies for a long time ancestors and elders and tribes guide someone through experiences of hearing examples or experiencing emotional distress because they have been through it before or are going through it. That is a way of addressing emotional dress that for some reason or not for some reason but because of racism or a multitude of other reasons, we don't often, you know, think about that as an approachable or evidence-based approach of connecting with each other and simple human connection and lack of it is what is causing immense amount of emotional distress on top of everything else right now.
>> I would add on to that concrete things people would be able to relate to in terms of things being cars RAL and excluded if you demonstrate behavior making people feel uncomfortable or nervous or people thinking you are danger to yourself you can be kicked out of school or fired from job or often rejected by people around you because of laws and rules and cultural norms around what is acceptable and tools that people have to support one another; right? If we built this inclusive world, people would be able to understand and identify and have more room; right? This is about to Jalyn's point will IB raition and people being who they are and inclusive of people being who they are and not teaching people to be something ems and your discomfort is uncomfortable for me and you shouldn't act like that or feel like that and for a little more context too about informed consent I will turn it over to Matt I love lived and knowledge experience reframing that. Informed consent is often when you seek support because people don't have the information and they are often doing things by themselves and in secret; right? You are treated like you have no say.
And you have no valuable say in your own care and services and in what matters to you. Can you — you are often not listened to. Lots of times that is perpetuated by the idea and laws saying, well, if you don't do what we want, you are not part of our community or school or workplace. Can you share, Matt, a little about what is some work that people with living experience and people with diagnosis and with identity ABDZ experiences, how are they making things better? >> For sure. I want to start with a broader concept. We understand social context is important now biopsychosocial. Pollityisizization of mental health and capitalist society and umbrella of concept of epistemology and research and how do we construct knowledge and privilege knowledge and research and science waned know there is certain privilege knowledge bases that are colonial. It is biological sciences and legal theory in practice biomedical psychiatry and legal system dominate power base and informed consent and everyone turns to doctor and lawyer and tribe auto unnal member coming to making a decision and what happens is knowledge bases are guided by what is institutionally racist knowledge base of hierarchy and living experience is bottom along with indigenous understandings cultures spirituality social sciences anthropology and social practices sociology and occupational sciences psychology and at top is medicine, of course, with law and what we need to do is challenge epistemic injustice that is challenging very notion of institutional oppression around construction of knowledge that is around colonization of what we define as science in the last few hundred years.
>> Yeah. >> That is something young activists challenge and get understanding of BIPOC and indigenous communities. >> Yeah. I feel it is a question of whose ideas and experience matters. What do we build at that point and core of it? >> I was saying yup and agreeing to everything that we were saying. >> You talked about an example how to learn or expose to idea of disability justice. Who or where should people go learning more this idea of mad pride and disability justice and history American history and founder was a person who was in and out of the psychiatric units in late 8 TAEB 0s and experienced that abuse and nobody should ever have to deal with this and for people who don't know mental health America, this is another point. Symbol is a bell which is made of the melted down shackles used in mental institutions and there is lots here under the surface that people don't get exposed to.
For people interested in learning more about some ideas, where do you recommend that they go? >> I think Jalyn talked about earlier sins invalid that I highly recommend principles of disability justice. Jalyn mentioned a few and importance of that is I invite you to take that and revisit your framework around what society has called. You know, the mental illness and deficit-based ah PROECH that existed for a long time and continued to exist for today and I invite people to look into the history of pride and psychiatric survivor of history movement and sometimes as simple as Googling.
I mean, there is a platform I host called madness Network news and lots of old newsletters in the archives of psychiatric survivors in the United States and around the world if you go to later issues and there is Phoenix rising which is an old newsletter through madden Canada and recommend mad in America or madness Canada, earlier. Many of these platforms I would recommend. I would also say project let's is a good organization that is great with information sharing and the — the institute for the developmental human arts is also very good for a platform. There is many and many platforms. >> Yes. I definitely can't emphasize enough checking out 10 principles. For me personally working with mental health America on collegiate council, I tried to create a space on campus because as a student and now as a younger professional, it is — it is really tricky and difficult in my journey to have found intersectional spaces. I think that if you look at principles, it will really — it inspired me to create or integrate or find more people who create spaces like VES per mentioned and only one I would add to the list is the named advocates.
If you go on the site, Carey grey made inspiring group. There is a lot of blogs and just unpacking about whiteness and disability and mental health and conference coming up as well and black and BIPOC-led spaces that I hope more people check out and look into. >> Great points. I want to echo all of that. We have knowledge-base in our studies that is a collective knowledge of our history and movement and activism that really challenges the very foundations and is involved in critical disability studies and has strong disability justice focus that is really helping to develop that knowledge and helping to develop foundations of sanism is a form of ableism that is emergient in the last 15 years and new masters of studies at [Indiscernible] online that starts in January. There is a social movement going on and we need leadership to do that and continue you to look it up and that is in literature as well. >> Thank you all. To VES per's point Steve from project let's will speak later on peer support and from Jesse from institute of development of human arts tomorrow talking about why shared learning and living is important in transforming and doing mental health advocacy.
You will hear from amazing people and you just did also. I want to thank you all so much for sharing some ideas for people. When you are used to having to reject parts of your experiences also. I want to thank you again and before we close, for folks who want to stay and touch, would you all share social media handles or how to stay up to date on all cool things are you doing? >> Absolutely. I'm on Facebook and Instagram. I'm on Twitter and LinkedIn. Any of the platforms and most of them are at VES per Moore or@vES per hiven J Moore and I would search for VES per Moore and find me on any of the platforms. >> I'm exactly the same. LinkedIn is a good space. I'm in a department in Melvin that is cool and getting to be psychiatric discourse and academic environment welcome to look up steps college and.
This is Australian center for lived experience and can you contact me through there too. That has a whole repository in terms of access and repository on information on madness and history and all things mad. Mad, mad, mad. >> Same for me. I'm on disability everything. Don't find me on TikTok. I watch on there. Search my name and I will come up on Twitter and think this is Jay with underscore and full name is too long for Twitter. On Instagram if you are a policy nerd, my link in my bioI'm sharing what organizations are dog and I have the Bazlon center linked on there if you laic to read legal stuff like me I'm a weirdo or whatever reach out to me.
>> Awesome. Thanks again. I'm super excited to talk through important owe Id YAZ in history of the present and certainly the future and so much leadership in mental heal BLG is being changed fundamentally with living experience and having mental health conditions or illness. Thank you all again. >> Hey, everybody. Welcome to our future in mind mental health summit we are talking about intersectionality and mental health and challenging the status quo and you appreciate you being here this evening. I'm here with amazing panelists and want to introduce panelists letting them know to give them a wave and the jury here and want to start with Cyn Gomez who is an activist where are you now? >> At BSHGly. >> They are at Berkeley right now. Berkeley is in the house from California.
Next we have founder of YLG research. Where are you? >> Up in no SHG NOSHG at Cornell University. >> New York. East coast. I'm in Charlotte repping east coast as well. We have counseling psychology PHD student at Columbia university. You are in New York too; right? >> Yes. Manhattan. >> Manhattan. Cool. We will jump into this. We have a wealth of knowledge that everyone wants to share with you and get to your questions towards end of the actual session. Identities provide framework for how we view mental health and race and ethnicity and culture and all these different aspects play a huge role into the way that we experience the world we want to unpack different identities and how they play a role into the way that we actually receive mental health care and how we also identify it. We will be — we will also be collecting questions so we can have them at the end of the show and go through questions necessary.
If you have questions please drop them in the chat and we'll make sure we get to them once we go through all of this information. So, one thing that we wanted start off with is I want you all to please share with me or us about the lived experience and why this work is important to you? >> Go for it. I mean — yeah.
Go ahead. >> I was going to start off saying my family has had a pretty interesting history of mental health and Latina background there is not lots of conversation you have regarding mental health couple things religion and socioeconomic standing and whether be culture aspects whether or not it is valid or real or important to the conversations we are having. My family was force today TRAIL blaze and have conversations and growing up I got to see what sister's mental health journey looked like with various identifying the process of getting the help and religious finding what practices worked for her and later years after I struggled with mental health throughout middle and high school and throughout same time I was coming to terms with identities I hold and I was finding myself struggling and when I was eating and perceiving myself and thoughts I was having and wanted have help and know what this meant and why I was experiencing different things and in recent years I have been able to get diagnosis and help and get to see pitfalls within mental health system and all these different things and everything from larger scope of culture to individual experience made me want to start to do this work and why I'm here today.
Go ahead. >> I think for me I come from a mixed household half Japanese and half English for a while chill when I was 8 older brother attempted suicide and cultural differences led that attempt lack of understanding and communication and as a family shedding a light why it is important to talk about culture in mental health and why I'm here today. >> What about you, Brie? >> I was going to say for me it was personal journey and when I was younger I suffered from childhood depression and it wasn't diagnosed and took the form eventually high-functioning anxiety I was terrified to make mistakes and growing up in rural south I was usually the only one or just, you know, one of a few black kids in the class. And feeling, you know ostracized because of my color and having things and being called names and having experiences at a young age took a toll on my mental health and as a black woman and girl blocking outlets to express emotions and lacking outlets to explore bad emotions and anger and frustration and sadness.
I think that growing up in a black southern household, church was important and made to feel when I expressed emotions like that or if I had emotions like that I was guilty of something that I wasn't grateful enough or praying enough and took a toll on me and doing this work. I know my experience and narrative is not novel. People experience things like this and experience feelings of self-silencing and internal racism and young age that continues to grow throughout adulthood. I'm interested in making mental health specifically for marginalized communities a topic of national conversation really changing culture around mental health. This previous culture of stigma and ost TRA criesing is not working and why I do it. It is a lot of our lived experience. >> I think what you say coming to lived experience and appreciate you all for sharing and for me mental health work is important I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2006 when I was a SOV P more if in college and I was safest age when I was diagnosed actually in a psychiatric ward and I'm a suicide attempt survivor as well being a black male and felt I couldn't talk about this stuff and Y- reason I became a therapist and pursuing PHD as well and pursuant I do community work with non-profit and private practice to address issues within the community and with that being said, we talked about our array of different backgrounds.
We all said we have some type of lived experience when it comes down to dealing with mental health challenges and coming to intersectionuality of why does it matter for mental health? >> Yeah. I will go up right now. It is an umbrella term and it hits a bunch of different areas of life. When we talk about mental health discussion around them are two different things mental health hits different terms and aspects of life and is individual and in a way we institutionalize it to make it overall governing thing. Intersectionality and mental health comes to where you grew up from and what beliefs you were taught and how it effects a person continuing rest of their lives we don't spend time thinking of what makes up a person's well-being. That is my answer. >> >> Anyone else? >> Yes. We are in a society thriving off labels and label can do a lo the and indicator supposedly of who you are. Intersectional thinking in the mental health space provides space for comprehensive foundation and direction for label we are given going deeper in individual identities incorporating systems and into pathology and personhood and your overall human experience.
Intersectionality in that way is important. It gets to the root of who we are. >> Yeah. Both Seika and Bri bring up good points we can't reduce someone's mental health or wellness or illness to that one thing or one contributing factor. Thinking of intersectionality and why it is important in mental health, thinking of fact you can't reduce someone down to this one thing. Looking at we have to also acknowledge and advocate for mental wellness and intersections and approaches to mental health and securing mental wellness now are looking at one component and identity at a time. And it matters. We look at intersections because identities and experiences as Bri mentioned we have FASnation with confinement and using to be expansive and improving mental health resources because there is different realities and experiences that need to be acknowledge today adequately support someone's mental wellness long-term and for me being a young trans person of color and low income and first gen, I can't separate these from my mental health and looking at these one at a time I wouldn't get adequate support I need to have mental wellness.
You can't look at one singular thing and identify it as one person's whole experience. You know, I think intersectionality allows us to look at different things and components of one's self. That is how we need to approach mental health and no space anymore to have conversations one at a time. >> Man, you dropped balls on different things there. Cyn, I love you brought up so many things where institutions and systems want to focus on one label or component at a time; right? Bri, you mentioned aspects and labels and for me when I was going into the hospital I was terrified going into it black male going into a psychiatric ward and is something that it put fear in my heart because of the different systems and stuff in place.
I know history especially in our nation doesn't necessarily treat people that look like me fairly. So, when it comes down to a system only addressing one component at a time, how does that do harm for people living with a mental health challenge? >> Yeah. I mean starting off the bat, you can't prescribe same medication to every single patient is logic. So, when we look at mental health and talk about it, like we said so many factors weigh into it. Super dangerous when we spend time focusing and funding only certain area of mental health going need indication and what is available for minorities. This is a constant battle what was and what we have to do and large part of it is you can't prescribe same medicine and dosage to every person.
Like you won't treat a cancer patient same way wow someone training ankle same with mental health people with different areas struggle with different things it is personal matter and intentional thing to deal with and put into perspective it is separate and individualized. >> Definitely. Coming down to that, you are thinking about those and individual things and thinking of individual and treating that and do you know of different initiatives addressing totalities issues instead of focusing on one thing? >> One thing coming to mind for me across the board DIFSH Metropolitan cities — there is countless initiatives you can look at. I speak on this because within my city and City of Berkeley and student I see ways homelessness interacts with one's mental health whether student experiencing it or community remember that you know was a resident before and is unable to live in the City of Berkeley anymore. These different things, you know, they are motivating initiatives at the city level and state of California. We are seeing different initiatives and our state is experiencing huge surges responsible with job loss associated with Covid and we are seeing these are one way we will see intersection amount approached to mental health and so much to be done with that being said and we will start to see initiatives springing up across the country or targeting racial identities and mental health and in this case socioeconomic housing as a component and starting to put down initiatives together we will start to see actual conversations we have here right now come into effect.
We are in the early stages in my opinion what is possible when it comes to addressing this intersection away and initiatives that are attainable. I think when we start to address one issue at a time in legislation and policy we can start to build off one another and places like New York and California are doing this in a really significant way. I'm really excited to see where it goes. Yeah. Just to say one thing on that. Policy that looks at intersection of one's in this case socioeconomic standing and racialized identities because in California most unhoused communities are black and brown people. Lots of times resources are not addressing that and still have a long way to go.
I want to echo your story and say there is so much to do because of institutional aspects you are experiencing and we are expecting better results without changing it and excited to see where it goes we are right now at a point we have lots of individualized policy in my opinion. >> Definitely. Anyone else? >> Yeah. I would say even going back to what intersectionality is and how it came about. It was developed by Kimberly Crenshaw with help of long lineage to describe ways US justice system fails black women and expanded into lots of different marginalized communities and identities and is important to know that historical understanding of intersectionality and how we approach things now and would say developed in academic realm and in academia now and can speak from that and not necessarily an initiative but way we are doing research now is completely turned on its head or we are understanding narratives as important [Indiscernible] to people's stories and who knew people were not reduced to numbers and could give us lots of good stuff and researchers themselves having conversations of positionality and who should do this work and who is right to be in the conversations WHOOND is an expert on a community and is there such a thing? I think that research in general is shifting and changing.
We know lots of legislation is influenced by people in academia as well. I would say that we are borrowing especially in psychology borrowing from public health frameworks and you have seen pictures of racism as public health issue and influenced by different things really trying to get comprehensive holistic understanding what effects a person's mental health whether be context or position and I think that research in general are being developed to incorporate all systems in a person's identity and development of their mental health. >> Definitely you bring up a good point. They have historically let this type of intersectionality when coming to addressing these issues. You, you know, that is your bag right there I would love to know like — you know, what is your thoughts on that when it comes down to research aspect and you know even out intersectionality when coming down to mental health? >> I will say with my organization and initiative I have been running focuses on having young researchers lead conversations and when you talk about health research who is researching it? I'm minoring in anthropology now at university and lots of case studies are dictated by white people specifically white men and not necessarily findings are wrong but bias that goes into it don't have variability in terms what and who is leading research and first thing we are seeing in shift of how research is happening in mental health is who is leading it and why it is important to have leaders talking about experts in mental health and adults in mental health experts will be adolescents those living currently and experiencing currently and can define it and large part I'm seeing in mental health research is how we define it and talk about it and where differences are when we talk about it don't think it is one single definition of mental health it is a topic it that is individualized big part of research is who is leading research and why it is important we are giving people and space and microphone to need it.
>> Definitely. Thank you. Starting own organization asking you how prioritizing intersectionality in their mental health work. >> I do work in various context and lots of intersectional efforts happening now that have potential to have intersectional approaches to them when it comes to mental health and addressing it we have seen different recent movements strive for queer rights and racial justice and, you know, things like equitable housing and equitable voting acts and all these different things and we need to — when people are asking how we can have more intersectional work and part of this is including mental health. Lots of times we like to think of mental health as own separate at gory and separate from initiatives we are taking and when in reality they can be fundamental to work are you dog and when we are looking at recent like issues and struggles and fights for racial justice.
You know, we are seeing communities at the border and how that is impacting mental haemth there is countless studies on it two researchers in the room that can vouch for the fact this is consistiently something that needs to be explored looking at racial identities and how their experiences are impacted by generational trauma and how, you know, where we are today is largely due to the fact of where our community has been. I think that, you know, when we are approaching what justice can look like, we need to look at mental health justice too and equitable access to mental health. This is in large part how we can approach, you know, like including mental health part of intersectional work and we are looking at how race and gender and class are intersecting and acknowledging mental health as a component of different identifiers and building off and bouncing off of different identities is something we have to look at.
Now when we look at them one at a time or, you know, only as pair Oz R trios of different identities how they interact with each other we lose a big part how that interplays with future effort APDZ generations and we have to acknowledge fact that work we are doing today and experiencing today as an individual and community will have an impact on future communities and our Lynnage of how their mental health will be impacted by what we are experiencing today. The fight for different, you know, initiatives whether it be racial justice or everything I have mentioned so far. You know, we often times lack the prevalence of mental health in conversations and when we look ated we are able to move in a direction continuously looking at mental health and will see how this impacts future generations when their advocacy work is including mental health and where future can go and understanding as a crucial component of work we are doing today as an advocate and burnout could be an easy way to start to look at how mental health is in your space of advocacy.
>> Definitely. Thank you. Anyone else? >> I agree. It that is mental health equity can go and what it can look like and for me and perhaps all of us starting in this work, it didn't just come to us. I think lots of people get very overwhelmed with different variables that can influence a person and really looking within is where the conversation begins. Introspection and evaluating and re-evaluating past experiences and what makes you a person and looking to see it in others and amplifying their voices and elevating their experiences looking at places to hold privilege and power and where you might not in the past and how it influences how you go about the world and that is scary for lots of people to do especially how culture is now.
We don't want to look back or think of deep emotional things. It is scary and complex and think that is where it needs to start and wish it was something that was taught in schools and from an early age and unfortunate thing is lots of us are learning to do this now as adults and taking knowledge and passing it on and like they said, it is crucial in beginning and continuing sustaining these movements of intersection amount and mental health. >> Definitely. I think that introspective way of thinking for me as an advocate starts within myself and understanding how many different labels I have and understanding my own privilege and things I also do not have. Then going into being open to learning about other people and allowing people to challenge my own way of thinking and own, you know, thought processes and way I was brought up and I understand that people are people and connecting with people on those different levels. We have phi minutes left and want to get to some questions from the audience. One of the questions is what resources is this for self-education and unlearning biases in mental health? >> I would say that there is two answers to that.
One, you can look at institution programs and organizations that lead that area and also the biggest resource that we skip over is own communities around us and echoing what everyone said it is really important to listen to other people. If you want to unlearn things you need to unlearn, talk to someone and have conversations with parents or friends. Might no the be greatest conversation or might get pushback but is interesting and important to hear how people think and feel and ignore first resource out of the hands it that is own around us and spend time listening to people around you.
>> Yeah. >> I love it. Anyone else? >> I want to aced it that getting out there and putting yourself in these — Seika eludes to uncomfortable situations best place to start get comfortable in uncomfortable when learning things we are learning and that is important to know no the to put anyone on a pedestal and continuously looking for opportunities to learn. Attend protests and meetings and sit in on organization events and sit there and learn and stay after and ask questions and be willing to connect and continuously foster relationships. You know, from single encounters with a family member or community organizer or things like that could help you build foundation of own thoughts around it and help you you might become an advocate right alongside that person and realize it was something you didn't know you were looking to do. There is lots of opportunities for growth when you start to look locally or closely at what resources are around you.
>> I love that. You know, just lean on to your neighbors. It is that simple. Anything to add, Bri? >> No. You covered it. I like I'm leading in stay hungry and open and when learning ask people how are you and really listen how are they? Listen to what they have to say you might think you know what your friend is going through but do you know? That is a person you can ask and start to gain information and knowledge and branch out from there. Thank you, Cyn and Seika. You did it.
>> I appreciate Cyn and Seika and Bri for being here and addressing this issue from multilevels we need to address. With that in mind where can people find you as far as socials and keeping up with work you are doing. >> Follow me on Instagram Seika brown brown like the color or check out my Website seika brown.com. >> Same here, Cyn Gomez and linx the in my events show up and hopefully at mental health again. >> I'm not so great with pictures so at Twitter at BriannaA baker and my Website as well. >> Check out their work they are amazing advocates and people as well. If you can spell my name you can find me anywhere Website or social media at Rwenshaun. Up next is the closing activity. Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow. Peace. >> Thank you, everybody. I hope you had an amazing day and we had great conversations learning and unlearning about mental health. Tomorrow after we heard everything today we will talk about okay what do I actually do to make a difference? So, I wanted to thank all our panelists for our opening tomorrow we will — we are close to the end.
I will be quick. Opening tomorrow we will hear from rain Wilson at 12 p.m. eastern 9 a.m. Pacific. He will share a little about his mental health story and why gratitude and how gratitude has been really important for his well-being and recovery and would love now. I know we have been seeing awesome comments in the chat how people are learning and how people are connecting with one another and would love for folks still here while you are here and this evening when going to bed and getting up tomorrow. Shoot us a tweet or drop in the chat what you are grateful for from today or maybe things you learned from today. We will have a conversation and Chris Wood and I will be back after hearing from rain and will go through questions we didn't answer today and will get to panelists who will show you and let you know about how they did all these amazing thing WLZ it was doing policy advocacy in their school, creating mental health and sports program and using art for advocacy and political education and we will see you tomorrow and hope you have an amazing evening.
As I said earlier we are creating a space for belonging and movement and are happy to be in movement with all of you. Have a good night, ya'll.