This month is more TED Talks than typing, it starts with a recent one on Grandmothers treating depression, and ties back to the the Jan and Feb posts on what everyone wants, and more fulfilling endeavours.
Depression and mental health are in the news a lot, for good reason, suicide is the leading cause of death for people 15-29 world wide. The percentage of people that will suffer from mental health issues is like 1 in 2 or 1 in 3, it's huge. And from what I've tried to find online I haven't been able to find a lot of advice on what friends can do to help. The tips are usually directed at the person suffering, things like, exercise, eat well, push yourself to get out and be active. So from a friends point of view you can try to help encourage those activities. As it's been in the news more I keep listening to see if depression is tied to a lack of meaning or sense of purpose. I feel like I've heard that and I think it would make sense but it doesn't seem to be in the news. So over the next bit I'll try to find that reference and I'll try to pull together what friends can do to help if they have a friend that is depressed. The idea came to me when listening to an inspiring TED talk about a doctor who taught grandmothers to treat depression. He did it out of desperation, in a country with a truly unbelievably low doctor to patient ratio, 12 psychiatrists in a country of 14 million people, but I think it's a great model to spread to the world. Even where there are many more psychiatrists a grandmother would be more accessible and could be more effective as he mentions in his talk.
This isn't the first I've heard of the power of grandmothers. They are an underutilized resource. There is a TED Talk in which they are touted as the secret ingredient or catalyst to educating the world's children. And in another talk they are recruited to take an active role in all sorts of technical endeavours. Their ability to connect seems unmatched by those we'd typically look to to solve the problems, and this ability to connect seems more important than previous abilities which they can learn as they go.
Tying it back to February's post, there I talked about everyone wanting similar things but not realizing it. I think this is another case of it. People with depression want safe social connection, and those around them want to help. It's a matter of the two sides understanding how to help. As his TED.com bio says Dixion Chibanda "is passionate about connecting with ordinary people in ways that improve their lives using simple but effective programs that can be carried out by non-specialists or professionals". To me this sounds like exactly what would help people living more fulfilling lives as discussed in the January post!
There's no shortage of people out there, and loneliness is the leading cause of death for the elderly. Tapping into the resource of the elderly seems like a win-win-win. Win for those in need, win for the overburdened professionals, and a win for the elderly. I've seen some examples college students living in retirement homes. I hope that takes off!
And speaking of 'what everyone wants', I'll put a bonus video at the bottom which comes at it from an unlikely angle :)
Here's the talk on Grandmothers treating depression.
Here is a video to help understand how a person with depression is feeling.
Here is the global vision to have Grandmothers help kids teach themselves everything!!
Here are Grandmothers doing everything from building solar cookers to taking care of 7000 children's teeth. My favourite part about this talk is how it demonstrates that you people raise to the challenge you present them. At 09:29 he starts talking about schools, and the role the kids play in the running of the schools, and if you listen for a minute about their trip to Sweden you'll see what I mean when you hear about how the 12 year old student prime minister reacts to questions from the Queen of Sweden.
Here is the Bonus Video, where a woman searching for god stumbled on some universal desires. Enjoy!