Society is under a tremendous amount of pressure every day, which causes trauma and stress to many. We all have the capacity to handle the stresses of life differently, which means that we all have a very personal way of finding our way back to equilibrium. Having empathy and compassion for where we all are on the continuum towards our greatest sense of mental wealth is an important first step to healing our collective trauma.
Poverty, housing and employment insecurity, isolated family structures and the expectations placed upon us from mainstream media and pop culture are constantly bombarding us with experiences that may have a negative impact on our mental wealth.
At Green Ground, we approach Mental Wealth as a human right and we don’t believe it is solely up to the individual, but a societal responsibility. It is not isolated but connected to our shared experience, and because of this, we are committed to supporting each other in our journey back to balance.
We all have our stories and strengths, those parts of ourselves that make us who we are today. These are our traumas as well as our support networks, and includes all of the complex systems that we interact with, internally and externally.
The Bio-Psycho-Social Approach
When we look at our mental wealth through a biopsychosocial lens, we can begin to unpack our experiences and the connected feelings that may be inhibiting us from living our best life. For most, it is a combination of factors that play into our mental wealth, and with this knowledge, we can move away from shame and sorrow in ourselves, as well as begin to dissolve the stigma that we may project unto others as we witness others experiencing pain and suffering.
Biological factors that we can and cannot control, include our genetics, hormones and environment, to name a few. This can be a particular predisposition we have to certain mental health disorders through our genetic lineage or pollutants in the environment that we grew up in. These are things we may not be able to change, but we can learn to accept. Other factors relating to how we treat our physical body that have an impact on our mental health are our current environment, our current level of exposure to pollutants through the air and water we consume, our diet and the level of physical activity we engage in, as well as medicines we consume, plant-based or otherwise. Our biology is an incredible and delicate thing, and by tuning into ourselves, we can learn how it has affected us up until this point in our lives, and how we can adapt our biology to have the greatest impact on our mental wealth.
Psychological factors are the patterns of behaviours that we have learned throughout our lives, either from mimicking others or through positive and negative reinforcement. These behavioural patterns are our survival mechanisms. They are the toolkit that we have developed to manage our emotions and to protect ourselves from the world around us. Some of these tools may be positive and helpful, while others may be continually sabotaging our relationships and experiences. While it may feel as though we do not have control over these aspects of ourselves, we actually do, and although it takes dedication to change and relearn negative reactionary patterns, it is very possible and highly probable, especially with a strong support network.
Our social factors are multi-layered. Within the Social lens is our ethnicity, culture, economic status, level of education/knowledge, friends, family, neighbourhood, other community supports and our engagement with it, our professional relationships, access to health care, our faith-based community, and more. These all play into how we manage and mitigate crises in our lives and in the lives of those around us. Do we have strong solid support networks or are we isolated in our experience? Are we enriched by the world around us, or are we feeling a sense of desolation? Social factors play a massive part in our ability to manage our mental wealth and support the mental wealth of others in our community.
Green Ground understands the importance of addressing the Mental Wealth of the individual and of the community, recognizing it as the most important aspect of building a healthy and sustainable community. We believe that creating opportunities to express ourselves, be vulnerable and feel heard and understood are critical pieces to our collective health and happiness. We strive to dissolve the stigma around mental health, acknowledge the struggle of the mind and heart, not as a human weakness, but as one of our greatest strengths. These mechanisms of the mind that create a sense of imbalance, depression, or anxiety, are there to clue us in to where our lives need rebalancing.
Clownseling: A Therapeutic Philosophy and Practice
Through the process of Clownseling, we hope to engage community members in Play Therapy for all ages, an innovative approach to psychotherapy that will connect them with their mental wealth and sense of purpose, reconnecting them to the people and experiences that bring them joy and gives their life meaning. Through traditional play therapy techniques, community arts, music, written word and drama, we will explore the characters that “we think we are” and that "we think others think we are” to deepen our understanding of ourselves through the biopsychosocial lens. This process will happen collectively through group work and on an individual basis, as is required. We hope to create a space dedicated to exploring the psyche as a community and individually. This space will be filled with all sorts of tactile tools, instruments and supplies to support the healing-through-play therapeutic philosophy that Clownseling is based upon.