WHY THE MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR THE SELF-CARE MOVEMENTby DAVIS BROWN PRC Agency
When I was 8 years old, I moved to a war-torn country. To ease the culture shock and provide some comforting guidance, my father gifted me some special gifts: a soccer ball and some dried homegrown corn with a letter tied to the leaves. Inside the letter, he wrote that if each of those corn kernels are given the soil, watering, sunlight, and love they need that an entirely new plant will grow! He also shared that the same is true for every human on earth; that we grow and succeed in proportion to the soil, water, sunlight, and love we receive. The fact that my dad articulated his loving-care in this way is something I've cherished to this day. I've used that example throughout my life; in how I care for myself, how I care for others, and especially how I am now tasked with caring for my own child.
After an unprecedented year of historic crises, people across the world are faced with a choice: to blame, hate, and violate or self-reflect and be courageous to love and care for one another. We are being asked to face a global health pandemic, a climate emergency, and an economic meltdown exacerbated by polarizing race-class battles. Sadly, the consequences are often less newsworthy, like the dire mental health statistics in family environments during stay-at-home. In the United States alone there are 40 million people unemployed with a 40% increase in homicides and domestic abuse on the rise at a rate never seen before. With depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation skyrocketing, families have been forced into hardships they are hardly prepared for. Often the question is who is to blame rather than what are the support tools we can offer these families to change course and demand a world based on loving-care. At the international, federal, state and local levels, we must address the mental health crisis impacting our homes and be unafraid to get creative about doing so.
Because I am an author, media maker and artist, my currency is my creativity and my purpose is to increase loving-care in the world. So, I've taken it upon myself to help push for creative and unlikely solutions to family health & wellness. I've even produced a transformative "self care toolkit" to bring parents and their kids together to fight mental illness or other critical issues. I've always believed that health & wellness in family life is interwoven with the culture we consume and the stories we tell ourselves. Just log in to TikTok and you'll see a billion cultural battles for the soul of humanity. As the father of a young daughter, I've created this entertainment-based "self-care toolkit" to combat the negative stories that families are just meant to be stressed out, overwhelmed or lost in how to raise healthy or well-rounded kids. For example, since parents are the other essential workers right now, why not respect them by increasing the resources or tools needed to do a good job? Whether it's journaling, therapy, gardening, meditating, or just finding ways to have a good time, I hope toolkits like mine - entitled “Welcome To Earth” - will become the new norm for our seemingly careless world.
Will these types of family-focused "edutainment" and self-care programs truly improve the desperation we see expressed everywhere around us? If we make self-care and wellness cool in our popular culture, could it help transform depression, angst, and violence for humanity at large? Are these viable strategies for successful adaptation and resilience, despite the seemingly impossible changes our planet requires of the human family? It's my personal conviction that the answer to all the above is affirmative. Holistic health & wellness practices - in every aspect of human society - are still the most ubiquitous tools we all carry for staying resilient, especially whilst raising the next generation of leaders rebelling against extinction. If you agree, please join me in rising to the challenge of co-creating a new earth; one healthy parent, one healthy child ... and one healthy breath at a time.
Aaron Ableman is an award-winning artist, author, actor and devoted father based in California. For more about him and his acclaimed programs, products and services, please visit aaronableman.com.
Created on Dec 13th 2020 10:08. Viewed 130 times.