We Heal Ourselves by Healing Our Communities
We can focus our energies on both self-care and healing traumatized families across New Mexico.
We are confronted with crises and human suffering every day. For some, it’s the disempowering national and global news streaming into our mobiles and laptops. For others, people confront adversity in their daily lives living with trauma and isolation.
Across New Mexico stakeholders are choosing altruism (the selfless caring of others) over apathy. We are confronting challenges and innovating to address them. We are also assessing our own capacity to engage in community work, making sure that self-care is part of our public coalition work.
It’s very clear to those working in the public sector, from clinics to schools to child welfare, that our society has been traumatized by the two-year disruption of healthcare, schools, social services, jobs, and small businesses. In some families and communities, people might not be fully aware of how trauma runs their lives at home, school, the workplace, and online.
In a phase where we are finally emerging from lockdown and zoom fatigue, we might feel exhausted and anxious. These are normal reactions to a global lockdown and economic disruption. We may seek to hide from our pain and this is made easy through ever-present alcohol, recreational substances, consumerism, or binge watching movies. Distractions are all around us, as are opportunities to engage in fulfilling and innovative community work.
There is much work to do for those who seek to do meaningful and measurable work. In our most vulnerable families, vulnerabilities increased. Children, students, and parents may lack access to healing services in the form of medical and mental health care along with other vital services. Barriers to vital services compound the hurt with individuals, families, and entire communities.
How do we heal and help?
How does a society of 2 million people find the strength to heal and help one another? The answer is shockingly simple as all the problems facing us are predictable and preventable with solutions awaiting implementation.
The answer comes in the form of our 100% New Mexico initiative, as stakeholders in 14 counties can attest to. This is the nation’s first community strategy focused on ensuring all families can access the local services to survive and thrive. We would like to think this will become the centerpiece of what’s been called “the post-pandemic build back better” phase.
The hypothesis guiding this collaborative, data-driven, tech-empowered work is circular. By healing ourselves we heal our communities. By healing our communities we heal ourselves.
In each of our thirty-three counties in New Mexico, we are not going to return to a normal that means enduring trauma, adversity, and vulnerability. We are building a new normal where everyone has the best chance at self-sufficiency and success in family, school, and work life.
The 100% New Mexico initiative is focused on health equity, social justice, civilized discourse, and meaningful and measurable solutions to our costliest public challenges. You are invited to join the initiative’s mission, guided by radical altruism: to care enough to create a thriving society where we heal our communities by healing ourselves.
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The 100% New Mexico initiative is a program of the Anna, Age Eight Institute at New Mexico State University, College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, Cooperative Extension Service. Contact: email@example.com or visit annaageeight.nmsu.edu to learn more.