mental health

When Resilience Becomes Resistance: Recultivating Intimacy through Relational Mindfulness

Photo of EPIC2022 attendees watching a presentation by Chelsea Coe and Jonathan DeFaveri
CHELSEA COE Headspace JONATHAN DEFAVERI Headspace What forms of our pandemic adaptation have also become barriers to connection? In this wildcard session, around 40 EPIC attendees collectively examined the aspects of resilience that support—and sometimes hold us back from—the intimacy and safety we seek to create as ethnographers. Researchers have faced many barriers to building connection and compassion remotely as the stress in our communities piles up from the COVID-19 pandemic. When people share their pain, how do we protect the integrity of our work while also showing care? What are we doing to ensure our own resilience? How do we show care and connection again in person after time spent adapting to screens? In this session, the presenters began by sharing and deconstructing their own personal experiences of navigating this tension as researchers working in mental health through three lenses: connection, protection, and comfort/discomfort.  Working with Headspace meditation teacher Samantha Snowden, they then led...

Social Resilience: Shifting from an Individual to a Shared Social Model for Building Resilience

A women sitting on what appears to be a metal bunk with no mattress in a prison cell. A handwritten label at the bottom of the image reads "feel unworthly locked up" (sic?)
JENNY RABODZEENKO Allstate KELLY COSTELLO Panorama Innovation Through Designing Your Future workshops at Cook County Jail in Chicago as part of WIND (Women Initiating New Directions) programming, we have had the chance to connect with incarcerated women awaiting trial. From these interactions with women who, despite tremendous life adversity, are extremely resilient, we have realized that the notion of resilience is a double-edged sword. While heroic, the myth of individual resilience, in the context of criminal justice, may simultaneously allow society to abdicate responsibility for those in jail. In this PechaKucha, we propose a reframe, from individual to social resilience, which holds us all accountable. Through understanding the many types of adversity faced by at-risk women throughout their lives, especially mental health and substance abuse challenges, we show historical and current precedents for more humane solutions that enhance individual resilience via social support. The presentation concludes with a call to...

The Giving Caregivers: Resilience as a Double-Edged Sword in the Context of Healthcare

Juliana Saldarriaga speaking on stage at EPIC2022
JULIANA SALDARRIAGA A Piece of Pie In this paper we challenge an assumption about caregivers of chronic patients that we’ve repeatedly encountered in our ethnographic fieldwork: that of the inherently and permanently resilient caregiver, or a person that, driven by feelings of affection for the chronic patient, will remain strong regardless of the challenges posed by the healthcare system or the disease itself. We describe three deeply rooted beliefs that explain why this assumption is still widespread within healthcare systems: the belief in caregiving as female calling, or the fact that women are assumed to have not just a biological advantage, but an interest in caregiving, the belief in individuality, or the fact that individuals are thought to have a preexisting and inalterable identity, and the belief in the pathological origin of mental illness, or the fact that we tend to ignore structural causes and social determinants of mental and emotional distress. We provide theoretical and practical evidence to support each belief...

Cultivating Resiliencies for All: The Necessity of Trauma Responsive Research Practices

Presentation slide: an arial view of a meandering river. Overlain text: "A Trauma Responsive Development Model. 1. Aware. 2. Sensitive. 3. Informed. 4. Responsive"
MATTHEW BERNIUS Code for America RACHAEL DIETKUS Social Workers Who Design This paper is an exploration of trauma, how and why it can surface during ethnographic and qualitative research, and the importance of anticipating its potential presence. We present a model to help plan for and mitigate the risks of trauma and demonstrate how it fits into broader methodological discussions of conducting safer and more ethical, responsible, and humane research. We close by discussing one pathway for a journey from being sensitive and aware of trauma to actively responding to it at both the individual and organizational levels across your work. Keywords: Trauma informed care, trauma responsive research and design, design research, ethics, qualitative methods Article citation: 2022 EPIC Proceedings pp 9–34, ISSN 1559-8918,

Tutorial: Leading with Care—How to Support the Mental Well-being of Your Team

Leading with Care: How to Support the Mental Well-being of Your Team
SHANNON LUCAS & TRACEY LOVEJOY, Co-CEOs, Catalyst Constellations Leaders and managers develop care strategies and plans of action for supporting their teams, their people, and themselves. Overview This tutorial was conducted at EPIC2021. Exercises and discussions have been omitted to protect the privacy of participants. Research shows that people who work passionately to drive change, like EPIC members, experience regular cycles of burnout. But two pandemics—COVID itself plus a widespread decline in mental well-being—is causing organizations to rethinking their role in supporting the health of their employees. As leaders and ethnographers, we have an opportunity to create and implement new models of leadership with care. In this tutorial, Shannon Lucas and Tracey Lovejoy, authors of Move Fast. Break Shit. Burn Out: The Catalysts Guide to Working Well, bring a wealth of research and experience on leadership and well-being to bear on this emergent reality. They will share research about burnout, new data on global...

On Being Well in a Time of Hell

MIRA SHAH Spotify CHLOE EVANS Spotify CAMIE STEINHOFF Spotify PechaKucha Presentation—For the past year, people around the world have adjusted quickly to unforeseen constraints presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Upheaval during the pandemic has resulted in a deep sense of grief leaving people in an unpredictable cycle of losing control and attempting to regain it. But, guess what? Researchers also have been experiencing the highs and lows of the pandemic and haven’t been immune to the fulcrum of loss and unexpected buoyancy. In sensing the importance of the moment, a group of researchers came together to learn how people around the world were adjusting and coping, and to anticipate how adaptations in contexts, habits, and tools may lead to enduring changes in everyday life. On Being Well in a Time of Hell is a bricolage from Brazil, Indonesia, and the United States told through diary entries, photos, and drawings that bounce from despair to moments of unexpected connection, creativity, and sometimes, believe it or...