Our best work in chaos
Written by Harriet Moll, creative director
23 May 2020
Our individual, national and global mental health has taken a battering from this pandemic. Arguably every week is Mental Health Awareness Week now because we cannot fail to be involved in the profound and personal impact of lockdown. We must take care, every day, to really look after our mental health and get to know ourselves as best we can, for everybody’s sake.
There are no easy answers and no quick fixes to where we are. It’s definitely a challenge. I was talking to David Duke from Street Soccer Scotland with some of you this week and he said to me, “I do my best work in chaos. I get a lot of my happiness from problem solving”. Of course. He’s right. Me too. Helping someone out, helping fix the unfixable, these are the things we humans are made to do. So, we will rise to the challenge and as these stories from around the world show, others are already lighting the way.
Have a good weekend.
Why are Africa’s coronavirus successes being overlooked?
We in the west have a terrible habit of overlooking what’s not on our doorstep. African nations, for example, receive little attention in our press regardless of circumstance – ruin or triumph, catastrophe or progress.
Covid-19 is no different. Initially, we heard of the myriad apocalyptic failures that could cripple the continent. Now we are turning a blind eye to their successes. Because many African nations, realising early on that large-scale, expensive testing and hospitalisation was not an option for their populations, had no choice but to take a more creative approach.
In other words, they have innovated, tailoring solutions which combine technology and telemedicine with traditional healing methods. And the figures speak for themselves.
Read in The Guardian.
The town that tested itself
Nathan Heller tracks the success story that is Bolinas, a tiny “hippie enclave” north of San Francisco, which has mounted one of the most advanced coronavirus-testing efforts in America.
Read in The New Yorker.
Free yoga classes all weekend in aid of the NHS
Keen readers of this column (hi Mum) will know that I am a yoga teacher in the Iyengar tradition. My particular style of yoga is for everyone. No matter what age or stage, it meets you where you are. We use props that you have in your house like cushions, chairs and blankets so that everyone can access the poses. The practice has supported me and many, many thousands of others through the last few weeks to face what is happening with a degree of equanimity and peace. This weekend some of the most senior teachers in the UK are offering classes all day via Zoom for free or in exchange for a donation to NHS charities.
Join at Yoga with Uday.
Ramadan in quarantine
“Ramadan teaches you to be grateful for everything you have.”
For the first time in history, Ramadan is being celebrated in isolation this year. Without extended family gatherings, open mosques, and traditional Eid celebrations, it is a very challenging experience for all Muslims. In this short documentary, a 33-year-old Muslim mother of six and entrepreneur takes us through her Ramadan experience in lockdown.
Read in The Atlantic.
Positive Change without Football
I met David Duke MBE before he had the letters but when he was already well on his way to building the best social enterprise in Scotland (yes, I am biased and I am on the board). Like everyone who meets David, I immediately wanted to be part of his team. Being around David is like sitting in a sunbeam and that’s because of and not in spite of the difficult things he experienced as a boy that eventually also led to a period of living homeless in Glasgow.
David has long been weaving spells with his ingenuity, persistence and courage to create positive change in the lives of people experiencing a range of disadvantages. We should all do it with him and make light work of it. You can help by dressing up, bringing the family and joining in with special guests on the 30th May via Zoom at his first online Gala Dinner. The funding matters now more than ever.
Sign up at Street Soccer Scotland.
Exploring mental health through photography
To mark the end of Mental Health Awareness Week, here’s a powerful selection of photography projects that explore some of the issues surrounding mental health disorders, from obsessive-compulsive disorder to schizophrenia. Chosen by the British Journal of Photography, these photographs present windows into other people’s lives, thoughts and feelings. Raising awareness of mental health amid this prolonged period of uncertainty is more important than ever.
Read in the British Journal of Photography.