Metrofocus: April 26, 2022

GRACE UNDER PRESSURE

TOWN HALL ON MENTAL HEALTH (APRIL 28-MAY 26)

We’re taking another look at mental health, which includes our emotional, psychological and social well-being. In tonight’s conversation we preview The WNET Group’s upcoming virtual town hall series, Grace Under Pressure. Over the next five weeks the series will examine mental health from the perspectives of five groups of essential workers who help hold our communities together- healthcare workers, teachers, mental health professionals, activists, and journalists. Series participants Dr. Marwah Abdalla, an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University, Mike Ishii, a co-chair and organizer for Tsuru for Solidarity, Maru Mora-Villalpando, a community organizer and political analyst, Judith Leblanc, the executive director of the Native Organizers Alliance and a citizen of the Caddo Nation and Brian Tate, the director of community partnerships for The WNET Group and the curator of Grace Under Pressure,  lead this candid conversation about checking and maintaining our mental health.

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT, LOOKING OUT FOR THOSE WHO LOOK AFTER US.

A CONVERSATION ON MENTAL HEALTH AS WE PREVIEW THE WNET GROUP'S 'GRACE UNDER PRESSURE.'

'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NOW.

♪♪

Announcer: THIS IS 'METROFOCUS,' WITH RAPHAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND.

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION, AND BY -- ♪♪

> GOOD EVENING, AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS'. I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

TONIGHT WE'RE TAKING A LOOK AT MENTAL HEALTH, WHICH WHEN OVERLOOKED CAN HAVE DIRE CONSEQUENCES ON EMOTIONAL, SOCIAL WELL BEING.

WE PREVIEW THE UPCOMING VIRTUAL TOWN HALL SERIES 'GRACE UNDER PRESSURE'. OVER THE COURSE OF THE NEXT FIVE WEEKS, THE SERIES WILL EXAMINE MENTAL HEALTH FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF FIVE GROUP OF ESSENTIAL WORKERS WHO HELP HOLD OUR SOCIETY TOGETHER.

THAT'S HEALTH-CARE WORKERS, TEACHERS, MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS, ACTIVISTS, AND YES, EVEN JOURNALISTS.

THIS EVENING WE'RE JOINED BY FIVE PANELISTS FROM THE SERIES TO PREVIEW 'GRACE UNDER PRESSURE', AND HAVE A CANDID CONVERSATION ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH.

I'D LIKE TO WELCOME TO THE SHOW OUR GUESTS.

UP FIRST, DR. MARWA ABDULLAH, AN ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE AT COLUMBIA.

THANKS SO MUCH FOR HAVING ME.

I'D LIKE TO WELCOME MIKE ISHI.

WELCOME TO THE SHOW.

THANK YOU, JENNA.

LOVELY TO BE HERE.

I'D ALSO LIKE TO WELCOME MATU MORA -- I'M SO SORRY FOR BUTCHERING YOUR NAME, BUT THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

I'D ALSO LIKE TO WELCOME FOR THE CONVERSATION JUDITH LeBLANC, AN EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF CITIZENS ALLIANCE AND A CITIZEN OF THE CATO NATION.

JUDITH, WELCOME.

> AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST WE WOULD LIKE TO WELCOME BRIAN TATE.

BRIAN IS OF COURSE THE DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS FOR THE WNET GROUP AND THE CURATOR OF 'GRACE UNDER PRESSURE.'

BRIAN, WELCOME BACK.

THANK YOU, JENNA.

AS ALWAYS IT'S GREAT TO BE HERE.

BRIAN, I'M GOING TO START OFF WITH YOU AND JUST AS AS THE CURATOR OF THE SERIES, CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT WHERE IT CAME FROM AND WHY IT CAME INTO EXISTENCE?

SURE.

BACK IN 2017, 2018, THE COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT DIVISION OF WNET MET WITH ABOUT 150 NONPROFIT LEADERS AND COMMUNITY LEADERS FROM ACROSS THE FIVE BOROUGHS AND ASKED THEM THE LEAD ISSUES THAT ARE AFFECTING NEW YORKERS A LOT.

AMONG THE TOP FIVE WAS MENTAL HEALTH AS WAS A NUMBER OF SEVERAL OTHER TOP ISSUES.

BUT MENTAL HEALTH WAS RIGHT UP THERE, AND OVER THE COURSE OF THE ENSUING YEARS AS WE HAD MORE CONVERSATIONS, MENTAL HEALTH CONTINUED TO RISE TO THE SURFACE.

MORE RECENTLY OF COURSE WITH THE ONGOING STRESS OF SYSTEMIC RACISM COMPOUNDED NOW BY THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, THE MURDER OF GEORGE FLOYD, THE ATTACKS ON DEMOCRACY, THE CLIMATE CRISIS, AND OF COURSE NOW ADDING TO ALL OF THAT AND THE UPTICK IN HATE CRIMES AND ADDING TO THAT NOW, THIS RATTLING OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS, MENTAL HEALTH I THINK IS MORE WIDELY SEEN AS SOMETHING THAT IS OF CONCERN TO EVERYONE.

SO THIS FELT LIKE AN APPROPRIATE TIME FOR US TO PUT TOGETHER A SERIES ON THAT TOPIC.

YOU KNOW, BRIAN, I WANT TO THANK YOU ESPECIALLY FOR RUNNING THROUGH THE LONG LAUNDRY LIST OF ISSUES THAT WE ARE ALL FACING.

SOMETIMES IT CAN BE EASY TO COMPARTMENTIZE AND FORGET THERE'S ISSUE ON TOP OF ISSUE.

I LIKE TO KEEP MY CONVERSATIONS AS NATURAL AS POSSIBLE, SO I ENCOURAGE MY GUESTS TO JUMP IN AT ANY TIME IF YOU FEEL NECESSARY, BUT JUDITH I WANT TO START WITH YOU AND GET YOUR TAKE ON WHY YOU THOUGHT THIS WAS SOMETHING IMPORTANT AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, VALUABLE TO PARTICIPATE, IN THIS CONVERSATION ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH.

WELL, YOU KNOW, WAY TOO OFTEN NATIVE COMMUNITIES, TRIBAL COMMUNITIES ARE NOT INCLUDED IN THIS CONVERSATION, AND I WANT TO THANK YOU FOR INVITING US.

WE KNOW THAT THE TOP THREE ISSUES, BASED ON A SURVEY CALLED THE INDIGENOUS FUTURES SURVEY THAT WAS CONDUCTED IN THE HEAT OF THE COVID PANDEMIC IN 2020, THE TOP THREE ISSUES WERE ACCESS TO MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES, CARING FOR ELDERS, AND VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN, CHILDREN, AND LGBTQ PLUS.

ALL OF THOSE ARE RELATED TO THE BASIC TRAUMA THAT PEOPLE ARE SUFFERING DURING A PANDEMIC, WHICH IS AIDED AND ABETTED BY LONG-TERM SYSTEMIC RACISM.

AND I THINK WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH AND THE IMPACT ON OUR COMMUNITIES FROM THE ANGLE OF, WHAT KIND OF STRUCTURAL REFORM IS NECESSARY SO ALL OF OUR PEOPLES CAN HAVE THEIR NEEDS MET SO MENTAL HEALTH AS AN ISSUE IS NOT ONE OF SHAME, BUT ONE WHERE PEOPLE CAN RETURN TO COMMUNITY IN ORDER FOR SOLUTIONS TO BE MADE.

DR. ABDULLAH I'D LIKE TO GET YOUR TAKE ON WHY THIS WAS SOMETHING YOU THOUGHT WAS OF VALUE AND IMPORTANT TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS CONVERSATION.

WELL, THANK YOU AGAIN FOR INCLUDING HEALTH-CARE WORKERS IN THIS CONVERSATION.

I THINK THE REASON THAT IT IS ESSENTIAL TO KEEP THE FOCUS ON THIS IS THAT WE HAVE HAD A RISE IN SUICIDE OF HEALTH-CARE WORKERS, ACTUALLY.

DR. LORNA BREEN HEALTH-CARE PROVIDER ACT WAS SIGNED INTO LAW.

FOR ME IN PARTICULAR IT WAS SOMETHING I FOCUSED ON BECAUSE I WAS A CARDIAC INTENSIVE CARE PHYSICIAN AT THE HEIGHT OF THE PANDEMIC AND CONTINUE TO PRACTICE IN THAT WAY AS WELL AS BEING A RESEARCHER AND SEEING HOW THIS HAS IMPACTED MYSELF, COLLEAGUES AND CONTINUES TO IMPACT OUR COMMUNITY.

AND MIKE, SAME QUESTION FOR YOU -- WHY WAS THIS SOMETHING THAT WAS WORTHWHILE?

BECAUSE AGAIN, PARTICIPATING IN THESE KIND OF TOWN HALLS, THIS IS IMPORTANT, BUT IT'S ALSO TIME CONSUMING.

WHY WAS THIS VALUABLE TO YOU?

WELL, ANY OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE THIS CONVERSATION ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH IS LONG OVERDUE, AND CERTAINLY THERE AREN'T ENOUGH OPPORTUNITIES, SO I REALLY WELCOMED THE OPPORTUNITY.

I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT TO FRAME THIS DISCUSSION WITH AN UNDERSTANDING OF VIOLENCE, THAT WE ARE BEING IMPACTED BY VIOLENCE NONSTOP.

IT'S GETTING WORSE.

IT'S ESCALATING.

AND WE'RE SEEING VIOLENCE IN DIFFERENT FORMS.

IT'S NOT ONLY PHYSICAL, IT'S ECONOMIC, IT'S PSYCHOLOGICAL, IT'S SEXUAL, AND PEOPLE IN COMMUNITIES THAT HAVE BEEN TARGETED BY REALLY WHITE SUPREMACY AND SYSTEMIC RACISM, CERTAINLY OTHER COMMUNITIES AS WELL THAT HAVE BEEN TARGETED, BUT THESE COMMUNITIES CARRY HISTORICAL TRAUMA, AND SO WHAT WE'RE SEEING IN THIS MOMENT IS NOT ONLY THE TRAUMA BEING IMPOSED BY THE ESCALATION OF VIOLENCE THAT BRIAN SO DEFINITELY ACKNOWLEDGED IN THE BEGINNING OF THIS CONVERSATION, BUT THERE'S A TRIGGERING OF THE HISTORIC TRAUMA.

SO I'M AN ORGANIZER, COMMUNITY ACTIVIST, ANTI-RACIST ORGANIZER.

I HAVE BEEN AT FRONT LINES TRYING TO STOP CHILD ATTENTION WITH IMMIGRANT RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS.

IN FACT, I HAVE BEEN IN DEMONSTRATIONS WITH -- WE HAVE BEEN TOGETHER AT THE FRONT LINE, AND WHAT I CAN TELL YOU IS THE PEOPLE -- THE FRONT LINE WORKERS IN THESE INTERACTIONS ARE RISKING BODILY HARM.

I HAVE BEEN CHARGED BY A MAN IN OKLAHOMA AT DIRECTION ACTION TO SHUT DOWN FORT SILL.

A MAGA SUPPORT WE ARE A FLAG.

HE HAD A GUN AND A 12-INCH KNIFE.

HE CAME AT US AND SAID, IF YOU THREATEN ME, I HAVE A RIGHT TO SHOOT YOU.

HE WAS THE ONE THREATENING US.

THOSE ARE THE KINDS OF THINGS ORGANIZERS ARE HAVING TO DEAL WITH ON A DAILY BASIS IN THE ORGANIZING WORK.

AND SO IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT TO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THERE ARE MENTAL HEALTH HARMS AND RISKS AND A REAL NEED FOR US TO HAVE A CONVERSATION ABOUT, HOW DO WE SUPPORT AND RESOURCE THE WORK TO HELP PEOPLE IN THIS TIME?

YOU KNOW, AS MIKE JUST MENTIONED, I THINK THAT SOUNDS LIKE THAT WOULD BE VERY CORRECT THAT THIS HAS BEEN AN INCREDIBLY TRYING TIMES FOR MULTIPLE DIFFERENT REASONS FOR PEOPLE IN THE ACTIVIST COMMUNITY, BUT I'D LOVE TO GET YOUR TAKE ON WHY STILL A CONVERSATION SPECIFICALLY ABOUT HOW MENTAL HEALTH IS IMPACTED THROUGH YOUR WORK IS IMPORTANT.

WELL, WE ARE FACED WITH THIS VIOLENCE MICHAEL DESCRIBED DAILY, AND WE WORK WITH PEOPLE IN DETENTION, IMMIGRATION DETENTION, AND FOR US IT'S A DAILY CRISIS.

THERE'S ALWAYS AN EMERGENCY.

NOT EVEN BEING ABLE TO DESCRIBE THE ROOT OF THE EMERGENCIES, THE ROOT OF THE CRISES IS SOMETHING THAT IT REALLY HARMS OUR WORK, BECAUSE IF WE ARE TO BE ABLE TO UNDO ALL THE SYSTEMS OF VIOLENCE, WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT THE ROOT IN THE FIRST PLACE.

ONE OF THEM IS THE FIGHT TO SURVIVE JUST AS COMMUNITIES.

LATINX COMMUNIIES WERE THE FIRST ONES TO BE HIT HARD BY COVID, ESPECIALLY IN POULTRY OR MEAT PACKAGE COMPANIES, RIGHT?

WE WERE THE FIRST ONES TO GET HIT BECAUSE WE STILL WERE DOING THE LANDSCAPING, THE CLEANING, WE WERE DOING ALL THESE BASIC JOBS TO SUSTAIN CAPITALISM.

SO CAPITALISM AT THE COST OF WHAT?

WHAT DID IT TAKE FOR MANY COMMUNITIES TO BE ABLE TO WORK FROM HOME AND RECEIVE THEIR MEALS AT HOME, RECEIVE ALL THESE SERVICES AT HOME, BUT WHO ACTUALLY PAID THAT COST DURING THESE TIMES THAT PEOPLE WERE ABLE TO WORK FROM HOME?

THESE WERE MAINLY LATINX COMMUNITIES THAT COULDN'T AFFORD TO STAY HOME.

THEREFORE THEY WERE STILL AT THE RISK OF IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT.

THEY WERE STILL BEING DETAINED.

THEY'RE STILL BEING HELD DOWN BY THIS HUGE AGENCY THAT IS ONLY HERE TO DESTROY OUR COMMUNITIES AND HAVING TO DEAL NOT ONLY WITH THE PANDEMIC BUT THE FEAR OF BEING DETAINED AND YOUR FAMILY BEING DESTROYED BY IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT IS A CONSTANT DAILY MENTAL STRUGGLE, AND WE DON'T GET TO TALK ABOUT THAT, SO THAT'S WHY IT'S SO IMPORTANT TO ADDRESS THIS AS ONE OF THE CAUSES WE NEED TO TAKE ON IF WE ARE TO CHANGE THINGS AS THEY ARE TODAY.

OF COURSE.

NOW, BRIAN, WE JUST HEARD FROM DR. ABDULLAH AND I DO WANT TO CIRCLE BACK FOR THE UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE THAT HEALTH-CARE WORKERS ARE STRUGGLING WITH, BUT THAT SEEMS OBVIOUS TO A LOT OF PEOPLE, BUT THERE'S A LOT OF OTHER GROUPS, AS I MENTIONED IN THE INTRO -- TEACHERS -- I'LL BE PERSONALLY HONEST, I'M PARTIAL TO THE MENTAL HEALTH STRUGGLES THAT JOURNALISTS HAVE FACED DURING THIS PERIOD.

WHY WAS IT IMPORTANT TO GET ALL OF THESE DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES IN?

WELL, ONE REASON IS THAT IT'S ALWAYS IMPORTANT, I THINK, TO HEAR FROM PEOPLE WHO ARE AT THE FRONT LINES OF EXPERIENCING OR RESPONDING TO ANY ISSUE, BECAUSE THAT'S WHERE THE MOST ADVANCED THINKING IS, THAT'S WHERE THE GREATEST UNDERSTANDING AND ANALYSIS OF WHAT IS ACTUALLY TAKING PLACE OCCURS IS PEOPLE WHO ARE RIGHT THERE, FOR LACK OF A BETTER TERM, A FOOT AWAY FROM THE FLAME.

BECAUSE THESE ARE THINGS THAT ARE COMING -- YOU KNOW, SO MANY OF THE ISSUES THAT I THINK FOR SO LONG HAVE BEEN IDENTIFIED AS, THIS IS SOMETHING THAT HAPPENS TO PEOPLE OVER THERE, THIS IS SOMETHING THAT HAPPENS TO PEOPLE OVER THERE -- IN TERM OF VIOLENCE, IN TERP OF LOSING ONE'S HOME, IN TERMS OF ILLNESS, IN TERMS OF MENTAL HEALTH CONCERNS.

THESE ARE THINGS THAT ACTUALLY AFFECT ALL OF US.

THERE'S AN OLD QUOTE FROM DR. KING WHICH SAYS, WE ARRIVE IN THE DIFFERENT SHIPS BUT WE'RE IN THE SAME BOAT NOW.

MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES IS PART OF THE ENTIRE SELF, PART OF THE ENTIRE WELL BEING, SOMETHING THAT AFFECTS EVERYBODY.

AND IT SEEMED THAT IT WOULD BE VERY USEFUL AND NECESSARY TO GATHER WITH PEOPLE WHO DEAL WITH TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF STRESS AND PRESSURE IN THEIR DAY-TO-DAY LIVES, PARTICULARLY SO OVER THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS.

BUT AS MIKE HAS POINTED OUT, SO MANY OF THESE ISSUES ARE QUITE OLD AND STILL EVOLVING BUSINESSMAN SO TO BE ABLE TO HEAR FROM TEACHERS AND, YOU KNOW, TO BE ABLE TO HEAR FROM JOURNALISTS AND ACTIVISTS AND MENTAL HEALTH PROVIDERS -- WE'RE TALKING ABOUT A WHOLE SPECTRUM OF PEOPLE WHO ARE DEALING WITH THESE TYPES OF ISSUES CONSISTENTLY, AND OVER THE YEARS THEY HAVE JUST INCREASED AND INCREASED.

SO I GUESS THE SIMPLE ANSWER, JENNA IS IT SEEMS THERE COULD BE SOME REAL WISDOM FOR US TO LEARN AS VIEWERS AND AS AUDIENCE TO HEAR FROM FOLKS LIKE THE ONES YOU HAVE HERE TODAY ABOUT WHAT IS IT WE'RE CONDEMNING AND HOW IS IT WE SHOULD UNDERSTAND IT AND RESPOND TO IT?

SPEAKING -- I'M SORRY, WHAT WAS SOMEBODY GOING TO SAY?

I FEEL LIKE I'M SITTING AROUND THE VIRTUAL FIRE OR KITCHEN TABLE, WHICH IS WHERE THE MOST IMPORTANT CONVERSATIONS ARE ALWAYS HELD.

THE NATIVE ORGANIZERS ALLIANCE, WE HAVE A WAY OF THINKING ABOUT THE PROBLEMS WITHIN OUR COMMUNITIES, BE THEY TRIBAL COMMUNITIES ON RESERVATIONS OR URBAN INDIAN COMMUNITIES, AND THAT IS ORGANIZING IS OUR MEDICINE.

SO WHEN WE'RE THINKING ABOUT THE ROOT CAUSES, WE'RE THINKING ABOUT, HOW DO YOU SOLVE SOCIAL, ECONOMIC, POLITICAL CONDITIONS THAT ARE ALL WOVEN TOGETHER AND HAVE AN IMPACT ON OUR COMMUNITIES?

ORGANIZING IS THE ONLY PATH FORWARD.

BUT THE TRUTH IS THIS -- ORGANIZING MOVEMENTS FOR CHANGE, FOR STRUCTURAL REFORMS IS NOT IN AND OF I THINK A WAY TO ADDRESS TRAUMA.

WHAT WE NEED IS TO BE ABLE TO HAVE PLACES WHERE PEOPLE CAN REFLECT ON THE IMPACT OF TRAUMA, ON OUR MENTAL HEALTH, AND RESPOND IN A GOOD WAY, NOT RESOLVE.

BECAUSE THE TRUTH IS THAT POLITICAL ORGANIZING, WE CANNOT RESOLVE.

WHAT WE CAN DO IS TO RESPOND WITH MOVEMENTS THAT ARE LED BY VALUES ABOUT THE INHERENT RIGHT THAT WE ALL HAVE TO LIVE IN A GOOD WAY IN OUR COMMUNITIES.

AND IN INDIAN COUNTRY, THE MOST INFECTIOUS AREAS OF THIS COUNTRY, PEOPLE, ALTHOUGH VERY DIFFICULT, HIGH TEENAGE SUICIDE RATES, WE RESPONDED BY SETTING UP THE FIRST TRACKING SYSTEMS FOR INFECTIONS THAT ACTUALLY -- TRAVEL.

SO EVEN IN THE DARKEST AND THE MOST DIFFICULT TIMES, OUR COMMUNITIES ARE WHERE THE SOLUTIONS ARE AT.

THAT'S VERY INTERESTING, AND I DON'T THINK THAT I'VE HEARD AS MUCH OF AN EMPHASIS BEING PUT ON REFLECTION OVER SOLUTIONS.

THAT TENDS TO BE HOW, AT LEAST, OUR WESTERN AMERICAN CULTURE TENDS TO FOCUS.

BUT WITH THAT IN MIND, BUILDING ON WHAT BRIAN WAS MENTIONING ABOUT THE IMPACT OF ALL OF US, BRIAN, I WAS WONDERING IF YOU COULD TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT NOT JUST THE IMPACT TO OUR SPIRITS, OUR MINDS WITH MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES, BUT THE PHYSICAL IMPACT TO OUR BODIES WHEN DEALING WITH ALL OF THESE TRAUMA ON TOP OF TRAUMA, ON TOP OF TRAUMA, SEEMINGLY NONSTOP.

YOU RAISES AN EXCELLENT POINT.

I THINK WE OFTEN FORGET THE BODY KEEPS SCORE.

THAT'S ONE OF THE THINGS I'VE TRIED TO EMPHASIZE IN CONVERSATIONS WITH PEOPLE IS THROUGH ACTIVISM, RETHINKING THIS CONVERSATION REALLY MEANS SUSTAINABILITY, AND OFTEN WE'RE RUSHING TOWARDS SOLUTIONS WITHOUT, AS JUDITH SAID, SAYING, LET'S REFLECT.

WHAT ARE THE SHARED SOLUTIONS?

I THINK UNFORTUNATELY WE DON'T OFTEN ENGAGE IN THAT WAY.

TO GO BACK TO YOUR SPECIFIC QUESTION, THE BODY REALLY RESPONDS NEGATIVELY.

I THINK, YOU KNOW, THERE'S THIS IDEA THAT THE MIND IS ON TOP OF THIS -- IS THE ONE THING THAT WE REALLY SHOULD BE THINKING ABOUT, AND YES, IT IS MENTAL HEALTH, BUT TRAUMA ACTUALLY SETTLES INTO OUR BED, AND IT'S AHN OUR BODIES, OURSELVES THAT TELL FIRST THAT WE'RE GOING THROUGH IT.

BUT WE HAVE BEEN SO CONDITIONED TO NOT LISTEN TO OUR BODIES.

RIGHT?

SO I'VE SEEN INCREASES IN PEOPLE COMING IN WITH MIGRAINES.

OH, I WONDER WHY I'M GETTING MORE MIGRAINES.

PEOPLE IN MY DISCIPLINE WITH INCREASED HEART ATTACKS WOMEN KNOW STRESS CAUSES HEART ATTACKS AND IT'S THE LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH IN THE UNITED STATES, CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE.

I KNOW THAT LOOKING AT MENTAL HEALTH IS GOING TO CAUSE AN INCREASE IN CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE BECAUSE WE'VE ALREADY HAD PAST TRAUMAS THAT HAVE LED US TO THIS POINT.

I THINK WE REALLY NEED TO HAVE THIS CONVERSATION ACROSS DISCIPLINES TO FIGURE OUT, WHAT ARE THE SOLUTIONS MOVING FORWARD?

ONE OF THE THINGS I'VE HEARD COME UP OVER AND OVER AGAIN ARE THE IMPACT OF SYSTEMS AND REEVALUATING OUR PERHAPS REIMAGINING THESE VARIOUS DIFFERENT SYSTEMS THAT WE ARE CURRENTLY LIVING UNDER FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE.

AND I WONDER IF -- QUITE OFTEN THE WAY SOCIETY RIGHT NOW LOOKS AT MENTAL HEALTH, IT'S VERY MUCH AN INDIVIDUAL ISSUE, AND WHAT I'M HEARING IS THESE ARE LARGER ISSUES.

AND BY MAKING IT LARGER, CAN THAT PERHAPS HAVE AN INVERSE EFFECT OF FEELING JUST TOO BIG AND OVERWHELMING TO EVEN TRY TO ADDRESS?

I MEAN, AN ENTIRE SYSTEM.

WE HAVE BEEN TRYING, FOR EXAMPLE, TO REIMAGINE OUR HEALTH CARE SYSTEM AND THAT'S BEEN AN EXHAUSTING SLOG.

SO FOR THE ENTIRE PANEL.

MARO, I'LL START WITH YOU.

WHAT'S YOUR TAKE ON, IF IT'S THESE SYSTEM, HOW DO WE BEGIN TO HELP THE INDIVIDUAL WHILE ALSO ADDRESSING THE LARGER SYSTEM?

WELL, THAT'S THE JOB OF AN ORGANIZER, TO MAKE YOU BELIEVE THE IMPOSSIBLE IS POSSIBLE.

THAT IS OUR JOB.

WE NEED TO BELIEVE WE CAN CHANGE THE SYSTEMS IN ORDER TO BEGIN TO WORK ON IT.

AND IT'S VERY IMPORTANT THAT WE RECOGNIZE HOW THESE SYSTEMS RESPOND TO OUR WINS.

BECAUSE WE HAVE WON A LOT THROUGHOUT MANY YEARS.

AND WHAT I'VE SEEN IS THAT THIS IDEA OF 'SELF-CARE', WHICH I DON'T AGREE WITH -- I THINK THE SELF-CARE AMONGST THE ORGANIZING COMMUNITY IS VERY INDIVIDUALISTIC, AND THAT TENDS TO FORGET THAT WE NEED TO HAVE COMMUNITY CARE.

THAT'S THE JOB OF THE ORGANIZER IS TO FWILD SPACE, SO WE AS COMMUNITY, WE TAKE CARE OF EACH OTHER.

IF WE TRULY HAVE A COMMUNITY CARE, IF WE HAVE THE SYSTEM CHANGE THAT WE WANT, IT WOULD BE THE COMMUNITY THAT TAKES CARE OF WHEN YOU AS AN ORGANIZER, YOU GET TOO TIRED, THE COMMUNITY THEMSELVES WILL I.D. THE MOMENT WHEN YOU NEED TO STOP.

YOU KNOW, YOU ARE FORGETTING THAT THIS IS UNSUSTAINABLE WORK.

WE ALL GET TIRED, WE ALL GET EXHAUSTED.

AND THAT IS THE IMPORTANT PART OF CHANGING HOW CAPITALISM IS UTILIZING YOUR OWN WORK AND COOPTING OUR OWN LANGUAGES OF FIGHT AND STRUGGLE.

I THINK THAT ALSO IT IS IMPORTANT TO MAKE A SYSTEMIC CHANGE.

WE NEED TO BE ABLE TO LOOK FROM THE VERY GET GO OF WHEN OUR COMMUNITIES ARE PUSHED TO MIGRATE, IN THE CASE OF IMMIGRANT COMMUNITIES, WHERE WE ARE TOLD THAT IN ORDER TO GET HERE TO THE UNITED STATES, FOR EXAMPLE, WE NEED TO ASSIMILATE AND WE NEED TO BE PROUD OF BEING EXPLOITED.

THAT'S THE OTHER PROBLEM THAT WE'RE FACING.

PEOPLE SAY, I GET UP AT 4:00 IN THE MORNING.

I'M THE LAST ONE TO LEAVE.

THAT'S WHY I DECIDED TO STAY IN THE U.S. BECAUSE I'M A HARD WORKER, AND THAT ALSO IMPACTS OUR MENTAL HEALTH.

THE FEAR OF GOING TO THE DOCTOR -- I'M NOT GOING TO BECOME A PUBLIC CHARGE.

I'M GOING TO BE SUSTAINING MYSELF SOMEHOW.

I'LL DRINK ALL THIS MEDICINE THAT THEY GIVE ME OR I'LL JUST TAKE, YOU KNOW, THIS POWER DRINKS SO I'LL CONTINUE WORKING NONSTOP FOR THIS SYSTEM.

SO WE HAVE TO LOOK AT WHAT IS POSSIBLE TO CHANGE AND LOOK AT WHY OUR COMMUNITIES ARE ACTING IN SUPPORT OF THE SAME SYSTEMS THAT ARE DOING SO MUCH HARM TO OURSELVES.

SO I THINK THAT BEING ABLE TO CHANGE SYSTEMS, IS IT OUR JOB AND IT IS A VERY HARD JOB, AND WE OURSELVES NEED TO STOP ONCE IN A WHILE, BUT IT'S VERY DIFFICULT WHEN WE HAVE THESE IDEAS OF SELF-HELP, SELF-CARE, YOU KNOW, JUST THAT THE INDIVIDUAL IS THE ONE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR OWN MENTAL HEALTH IN THIS CASE.

JUDITH, I SEE YOU NODDING SO VIGOROUSLY THROUGH ALL OF THAT.

WELL, YOU KNOW, WE -- WE OFTEN, IN THESE TIMES OF INTERRUPTION -- LOOK, ALL THROUGH THE -- SINCE THE BEGINNING OF TIME THERE'S BEEN INTERRUPTION, BIG INTERRUPTIONS.

EITHER CAUSED BY THE NATURAL WORLD OR BY HUMANKIND -- I WOULD EMPHASIZE MAN, PROBABLY MANKIND CREATING CRISES LIKE WARS.

BUT OUT OF AN INTERRUPTION COMES SOME REFLECTION THAT CHANGES THE COURSE OF LIFE AND CHANGES THE COURSE OF HOW WE RESPOND.

IT CREATES A NEW NORMAL.

IN THIS MOMENT, I BELIEVE WE HAVE A NEW NORMAL, AND THE PEOPLE, WHEN THEY CAME OUT ON THEIR -- I LIVE IN NEW YORK CITY IN HARLEM, AND EVERY NIGHT AT 7:00, PEOPLE WOULD BEAT PANS AND PLAY INSTRUMENTS TO GIVE TRIBUTE TO THOSE FRONT LINE WORKERS, TRANSPORTATION WORKERS GROCERY STORE WORKERS, AND TO ME, THAT WAS HOPEFUL THAT PEOPLE BEGAN TO UNDERSTAND WHAT IS A VERY BASIC INDIGENOUS FRAME WORK, WHICH IS THAT WE ARE ALL IN RELATIONSHIP.

THE HEALTH CARE OF PEOPLE IN WUHAN IS AS IMPORTANT AS OUR TRANSIT WORKER, OUR GROCERY STORE CLERK, AND OUR FAMILIES.

SO THAT IS THERE TO BE ORGANIZED.

SECONDLY, TIME -- PEOPLE HAVE BEEN GOING THROUGH SUCH AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF TIME OF INTERRUPTION AND UNCERTAINTY, BUT THE THING THAT WE MUST RELY ON IS THAT THE ONLY PLACE OUR ANCESTORS MEET WITH OUR DESCENDENTS IS IN THE PRESENT.

WHEN WE WALK, THIS IS WHAT WE DO.

HOW WE CHANGE THINGS RIGHT NOW IS GOING TO HAVE A LONG-TERM EFFECT, BECAUSE WE'RE ALL STILL IN EXISTENCE DESPITE STRUCTURAL RACISM, THE FACT THAT THIS COUNTRY WAS FOUNDED ON CERTAIN PREMISES OF RACIAL SUPERIORITY, WE'RE STILL HERE.

WE'RE STILL COMING UP WITH SOLUTIONS.

SO I THINK FOR ORGANIZERS WE REALLY HAVE TO THINK ABOUT SOLUTIONS COMING FROM BEING IN COMMUNITY AND RESOURCED.

THERE'S NO OTHER WAY TO GET OUT OF THIS WITHOUT CASH MONEY, BEING PUT TO THE SERVICES THAT HAVE BEEN NEGLECTED FOR WAY TOO LONG.

WELL, YOU KNOW, IT FEELS ALMOST AS IF WE WERE ABOUT TO END AN INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT CONVERSATION RIGHT WHEN IT GETS GOING, BUT I FEEL LIKE THAT SPEAKS TO THE NEED FOR THIS TOWN HALL.

BRIAN, WITH ABOUT 30 SECONDS LEFT, WHAT WAS IT YOU WOULD WANT PEOPLE TO TAKE AWAY FROM THIS SERIES, 'GRACE UNDER PRESSURE'?

WHAT I'LL SAY ABOUT THE OVERALL TOPIC FOR A MOMENT, IS THE AREAS WHERE PEOPLE ARE BEING HIT WITH SUCH FORCE TO CREATE THIS KIND OF INSTABILITY, THIS SORT OF MENTAL INSTABILITY AND UNWELLNESS, ARE THE PLACES WHERE WE ARE THE STRONGEST.

IT'S OUR HISTORY, IT'S OUR ABILITY TO IMAGINE THE FUTURE, AND OUR ABILITY TO GATHER TOGETHER AND TELL OUR OWN STORIES.

AND THOSE ARE ALL SOURCES OF STRENGTH.

AND THEY'VE ALWAYS BEEN SOURCES OF STRENGTH.

AND SO THROUGH A SERIES LIKE THIS, WE WANT TO LIFT UP THOSE VALUES AND WE WANT TO HEAR FROM PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT ONLY ORGANIZING BUT ALSO PROVIDING SERVICE WHO ARE, AGAIN, AT THE FRONT LINES OF UNDERSTANDING AND ANALYZING AND RESPONDING TO THESE COMPLEX ISSUES.

SO WE HOPE EVERYBODY TUNES IN.

IT'S GOING TO BE A POWERFUL, POWERFUL SERIES OF CONVERSATIONS.

WELL, THE SERIES IS CALLED 'GRACE UNDER PRESSURE,' PRESENTED, OF COURSE BY THE WNET GROUP.

BRIAN TATE, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR PUTTING THIS TOGETHER.

AND THANK YOU TO ALL OF THE GUESTS FOR JOINING US.

JUST TO GIVE US A LITTLE PREVIEW OF THE TYPE OF CANDID CONVERSATIONS WE'RE GOING TO BE HAVING.

THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH FOR JOINING US ON THIS EPISODE OF 'METROFOCUS.'

>'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND.

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION, AND BY --

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