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AlisonBrill Posted by Alison T. Brill, MPH, Community Suicide Prevention Coordinator at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health

“If we are going to survive, we must build communities of caring and connection.”
– Cecile Andrews

Self-care – the act of valuing and maintaining our emotional and physical health – is crucial to our well-being. In order to be healthy and at our best, we need to take care of ourselves. We can only be at our best, however, with the support and love of our community. Self-care and community care are deeply connected, and we need both for healthy and resilient communities. Who are we if not in relation to one another? If one of us is unwell or struggling, we can't be strong as a community.

PeopleJoinHandsPuzzleTaking care of others takes our mind off of our troubles and also makes us feel good – a main benefit of self-care – because we are supporting someone else. By taking care of each and every person in the community, with the knowledge and understanding that we all experience times of vulnerability, a shared sense of responsibility is created. This responsibility creates a safer environment with less judgment and more acceptance, which in turn promotes individual and community healing and resilience.

 

 

 

 

Below are some examples of community care in action.  Please share your ideas in the comments section.

  • Investing in relationships.
  • Greeting people on the street.
  • Reaching out to friends and community members who are struggling.
  • Hosting a regular gathering like a potluck or game night so people can meet face to face, build relationships, and strengthen community.
  • Lending a hand to someone in need (e.g., giving someone a ride to the store or doctor, watching someone's kids when they are in a bind, cooking a meal for someone who just got out of the hospital or had a baby). 
  • Getting to know your neighbors. You live right next to them and share a street, neighborhood, and possibly a building after all.  
  • Helping connect people who are out of work to jobs. Jobs strengthen individuals, families and communities. 
  • Donating or organizing donations for community members who have experienced a crisis.
  • Getting involved by volunteering.
  • Sharing what you have. When we act from a place of abundance rather than scarcity, we create a culture of caring and one in which everyone's needs can be met.

TreeWithHouses

In today’s self-focused society, community care is a radical act. Remember that it takes a village to raise, build, and strengthen individuals and a community. Let's commit to taking care of ourselves and each other.

 

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