Charles Dickens begins a Tale of Two Cities with the famous quote – “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times’ ‘ He was writing about events of the 1700’s but now, as then, there are many things to celebrate and many others that can cause despair. After several years of pandemic lockdowns, financial upheavals and war, even the most grounded people can feel stressed. Add in the fact that most of us have too much screen time and far too little physical activity, and it’s no wonder that many struggle to find balance. Technology is a double edged sword – it brings us together and then allows us to rip each other apart if we aren’t careful. Luckily there are several groups in the Cardano community that are focusing on mental health awareness and ensuring that anyone knows where to reach out for help and support. This starts with the understanding that there is nothing wrong with asking for help. Let’s take a look at some of the groups in the Cardano community which are focused on this area.
CAMO (Cardano Alliance for Military Outreach) was founded by a group of military veterans and supporters that are active within the Cardano ecosystem. They are aware that many of their peers struggle as they transition from military to civilian life. They want to create a framework within Cardano that helps vets (from any country or branch of service) find purpose and community. Familiar names like Armando from ADA180 stake pool, Andrew aka Jarhead, and the Hope Warriors gang are involved in this initiative. CAMO wants to provide both community events and resources to make sure that mental health discussions are not taboo. They are currently offering trivia nights every week as a way for folks to unwind and connect. Additionally, the CAMO discord offers a channel that lists resources like the Veterans Crisis line and Cohen Veterans Network that are professionally managed.
Stake Pools for Mental Health
Several of our mission driven stake pools are also focused on mental health programs. GNP1, Grams Number Plus One stake pool, is operated by Russel and Sue. Their adventure started in Australia and, after years roaming the globe consulting for cyber forensics and compliance, they have made a home in Great Britain. Their world travels have allowed them to see the distinct cultural differences in dealing with mental health issues.
Russell has a degree in psychology and pure mathematics. This was useful in his career as an Australian police officer, and later in the field of cyber forensics. His work took him to Qatar, Hong Kong, and other disparate locations. These experiences with different cultures and locations culminated in his desire to use his mission driven stake pool to focus on mental health causes. GNP1 has a mental health awareness page on their website which states that approximately 25% of people will experience some sort of mental health issues in their lifetime. They have donated over 4000 USD so far to a variety of mental health charities. Like many of us, he feels as though mental health care is desperately needed and underfunded. Physical ailments are treated with relative ease, while research into mental health treatments is still really in nascent stages.
Rather than picking a specific mental health charity, Russell supports a wide variety of charities from around the globe. One of these is Anxious Minds which serves Northeast England and reports that over 98% of people accessing their services are able to see a mental health professional within two weeks. They have initiatives supporting adults, children and veterans. GNP1 supports other charities as well. Black Dog Institute supports mental wellness in Australia. They study mental health across the lifespan. They also offer some great guides and self-assessment tips here. Russel also created Numpugs NFTs to promote mental health awareness and just to make people smile.
Mark, the proprietor of HUG stakepool also chose to use his pool and his platform to raise awareness about mental wellness. Mark is a qualified FA football coach and coaches a youth football team in his spare time. He believes that sport or other outside activity can help both children and adults maintain a positive mental outlook. One of Mark’s ambitions is to use some of the pool’s profits to buy kits for grass roots soccer clubs. Currently, HUG pool donates 20% of revenue to mental health charities. Past donations have been sent to CALM (Campaign against living miserably) and Young Minds. Both of these charities promote mental health advocacy in different ways. CALM offers a free and confidential help line and web chat for people who are feeling depressed or suicidal. They also run a bereavement group to support those who have lost a loved one to suicide. Young Minds offers support and advocacy for parents and young people who are trying to deal with mental health issues.
NFT Projects for Mental Health
Of course there are also NFT projects that are promoting mental health awareness. Clay Lips, kissable clay characters, is an NFT project designed and implemented by a husband and wife out of South Korea. Because of the academic pressures and a cultural stigma around mental health issues, South Korea has one of the highest youth suicide rates in the world. As an educator, Kyle (aka Clay Thompson) wanted to create a project that promotes mental wellness among youth. He created Clay Lips with the help of his wife, a talented artist who works in clay and paint media.
The first, fully minted, series consists of all female characters who are portrayed as “just regular people like you and me. They have jobs and relationships and they have good days and not-so-good days”. The second series of NFT characters is coming soon. Beyond that, the team has big plans. The purpose of these characters is to promote positive messages and techniques that foster mental wellness. The intent is to create a series of books and videos, all curated by mental health professionals with the intent of helping people cope with the information overload that hits us all of our waking hours.
Cardano is still evolving technology, but no one can argue that we have a powerful community. Part of that is growing and learning together. Life is busy and most of us are really running two lives – the virtual and the physical- simultaneously. It can be challenging. There are, of course, things you can do to help yourself unwind. An interesting article that lists some helpful self care techniques can be found here. It talks about things like getting adequate sleep, mindfulness or meditation, exercise, nutrition and so on. However sometimes home remedies are not able to solve
The most important thing to take from this article is that if you feel you need help please reach out. There is a list of resources for the US and UK below.