Tag Archives: mental health

Social Ruggedization

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

You didn’t see any blog posts from me last week as life was busy and disrupted due to the coronavirus. Don’t worry, I’m fine, its just that there were a lot of changes.

I, my girlfriend, and a lot of people we know are working from home, which is a huge schedule change. We’re in a shelter-in-place order here. Then there’s the collapsing economy and so on.

You’ll understand the lack of blog posts and the large amount of junk food consumed.

So now a lot of us find ourselves in a disease crisis, not leaving home, and worrying about the state of the world. We’re all working to stay connected, stick together and make it through. So I wanted to talk about “social ruggedization.”

I’ve heard people use the term “ruggedizing” to refer to dealing with climate change – we need to make our cities and supply chains rugged in the face of disruption. The same goes for our social systems, from our world to our countries to our own social groups.

This crisis has shown the need to build resilient social systems. That’s not just my job, or your job, it’s everyone’s job. So here’s what I’m doing and a few suggestions from what I’ve learned.

Connect Regularly: People need some kind of regular checkin to connect. This could be a regular event like a weekly call. It could be a regular tool people use for communication like Discord. Sync up.

Overcome Space: Right now we’ve got to overcome the space between us, but remember there’s always space between us. It may be the space of a schedule change, or someone is laid up, or simple distance. Be pre-emptively planning to connect with people.

Share Events: There’s doing things together, but you can also share events passively. A lot of my friends and I do viewing parties where we just hang out, watch TV and do our creative projects, and so on. We’ll move those online – and streaming and so on make it easier.

Check In: Reach out to people to see how they’re doing regularly. Right now I post a daily update to some social media and check in with a few people via text messages. It’s a way to let people know you’re OK, hear from them, and encourage them to do the same.

Pool Resources: Start getting ready to share resources now. It could be food, it could be technology, or something. Start getting into the habit of helping each other and covering each other. We need it and have always need it.

Built The Society You Want: Focus on building real connections and social structures you want. Have a vision. Make it work.

Share and Promote Ruggedization: Share and promote making serious, surviving social structures. Share tips like this. Share technology that works. You want a stable society, share what you learned in making your own little stable society.

Meet New People: Go on and meet new people. YOu might make new friends and make new connections. Sure, be selective and have standards, but see who else fits them.

Connect People: In these tough times, I’ve been working to introduce people to each other. This way folks make more social connections and find allies and resources.

I hope you’re doing well in surviving these crazy times. Reach out to me with your thoughts and your ideas – or just reach out.

Steven Savage

Mental Health In The US Is More Mental Than Health

USA Today is going to do a multipart series on the lack of mental health care in the US.  I’d recommend reading this and following it.

My background is actually in Psychology, all the way back to my college years.  Thus issues like this are ones I was and am concerned about, and it’s been frankly obvious but not talked about that the mental health care in the US is pretty bad – basically it’s prison, emergency wards, and the streets.  And the morgue.

It’s wrong on many levels.  It’s frustrating as it’s been bad for awhile.  It’s painful that in our age of snarky gotcha politics no one is going to actually do something unless a lot of us push for it.  That’s a hint, by the way.

So I’m hoping this gets some damn attention.  As a guy who gladly votes to raise his taxes, I’d like to get some better social services, please.

Because something like this means the system, such as it is, is going to break spectacularly.  More.

– Steven Savage