WORKING TOGETHER FOR MENTAL HEALTH EQUITY
CORESZON stands for Community Resilience Network because we believe that sustainable pathways to improving mental health equity for the future generation are best forged by simultaneously addressing wellbeing and its social determinants.
Built on lived experience from the beginning, we bring people from different backgrounds together to facilitate mutual learning and joint action.
The capacity-strengthening program that we’ve developed together since 2017 gives people skills to promote wellbeing in their families and communities. CORESZON Trainers not only teach wellbeing skills in their communities. They also gather and share actionable insights on how the root causes of mental health inequity work, highlighting what each of us can do to address them.
GOOD TO KNOW
Community resilience is the ability of communities to recover from dramatic change, sustain adaptability and support new growth (Ungar, 2011).
It can be understood in different ways, depending on who you are, and where you are looking at it from. At CORESZON, we focus on the social ecological aspects of resilience by asking the following questions:
- How much do community members value the social ties that connect them with each other and help them do what they need to do in order to get through difficult times? (social capital)
- How well do community members utilize the places, services, material resources and networks in their environment that can help them navigate challenging times? (infrastructure)
- How well do community members cooperate and negotiate with others to access or create the resources they need in order to cope and thrive? (cooperation)
- How well are communities – as organizations, teams or neighborhoods – able to trust in and depend on external agencies and support, and how well do external agencies depend on and trust them to know what they need and self-govern? (interdependence)
How resilient we are in crises is much more than a question of individual behavior. The conditions we work, play, learn and work together directly impact our wellbeing. While no single individual can change adverse conditions alone, we believe that everyone has the potential to contribute.
This potential is determined by the feeling that
- I can have a positive impact on my social and/or physical environment (self-efficacy)
- My voice is heard when decisions are made that impact my family, my life and my health (sense of control)
- The abilities and qualities that I have to offer are seen and valued by others (dignity)
These are all feelings that can only grow in relationships to others. In a resilient community, social ties can withstand adversity; by maintaining meaningful connections, community members are able to give each other a sense of control, self-efficacy and dignity.
Healthy child development is one of the main pillars for a happy, productive society with a sustainable future. Policies and services that promote healthy child development depend strongly on the capacity of caretakers to participate in their successful implementation and delivery.
Despite its vital importance, caretaker wellbeing is an often-neglected resource when it comes to promoting child and adolescent mental health.
Current findings in mental health, neuroscience and public health research emphasize the importance, efficacy and sustainability of approaches that focus on caretaker wellbeing and its many social determinants.
CORESZON addresses this need by placing caregiver mental health at front and center of our training and capacity-building activities.
CAREGIVER WELLBEING is vital to our society’s future. CORESZON’s most important partners are Moms, Dads, and other important adults in children’s lives. In addition to skills for individual and collective wellbeing, our training approach raises awareness for the social determinants of mental health, and how working together well contributes to mental health equity.
COLLABORATION IS KEY
CORESZON is dependent on collaboration by design, meaning that our approach only works when we work with others, for example in partnerships with humanitarian organizations, local NGOs and citizen-led initiatives.
We co-design implementation strategies that enable partners to create their own, context-specific way of delivering science-based mental health promotion. Partners share valuable knowledge with us about what it takes to integrate mental health promotion into their existing services.
CORESZON is represented in Germany, Iraq and Kenya, and speaks Arabic, Dari, English, German, Swahili and Kurdish. Our continuous mutual learning process creates for both beneficiaries in our respective settings, and for our network as a whole.
Prevent ill-health by strengthening community care
CORESZON was founded at Germany’s largest clinic for child psychiatry at the University of Hamburg Medical Center. The families we work with have taught us valuable lessons about what it takes to prevent ill-health in childhood. Together with our growing network, we continue to learn, develop and share practical skills that everyone can use to care for themselves, their families, and others in their community.
Caregiver wellbeing is a priority
Healthy child development depends on caregiver wellbeing. In the face of adversity, caregivers are best able to support healthy development in communities that foster mutual trust, dignity and resilience.
Investing in caregiver and community wellbeing is essential to our society’s future health.
HIGHEST NEED, LOWEST COST: INFORMAL COMMUNITY CARE
Informal community care is when family, friends, neighbours and co-workers recognize when someone is struggling, and support them. By helping them feel seen, understood and valued, and by helping them access the right help at the right time if needed.
The CORESZON Training Program shares practical skills for self-care, for peer-to-peer support, and the promotion of community wellbeing. Wherever possible, we bring professionals and non-professionals together to foster mutual learning and collaboration.
Our goal is to promote appreciation for informal care. We aim to encourage a shared, everyday understanding between people at different levels of care for how we can all contribute to a healthy, happy and equitable society – independent of our different professional backgrounds.
Establishing integration and cooperation between different sectors and professions takes time. But together, we’re learning that it’s more than worthwhile to grow at the speed of trust.
Our most important partners
With CORESZON, caregivers not only learn our science-based method to care for family wellbeing, but can also become trainers and share it with others in their wider community.
Under adverse conditions, a positive family climate and parental wellbeing are among the most important protective factors.
What does it take to maintain these when we’re burdened by poverty, discrimination or other stressors? Caregivers who are dealing with this question on a daily basis have invaluable knowledge to contribute to our endeavor for equity in child mental health.
WE’RE IN THIS TOGETHER
As the Covid-19 pandemic has shown, we are much more dependent on each other than we may have been aware of. Similar to navigating the pandemic, tackling inequity in mental health by addressing social determinants takes a whole-society approach.
We strongly believe that mental health equity is about collaborating across divides. As citizens, health professionals, scientists and lawmakers.