The Gendersec Curricula is a resource that introduces a holistic, feminist perspective to privacy and digital security trainings. Informed by years of working with women and trans activists around the world, this free resource covers over 20 topics such as Hacking Hate Speech, Strategies of Resistance, Creative Uses of Social Media,Technological Sovereignty, Handling Anxiety, Releasing Physical Stress, Information Mapping and Identifying Risks. Trainers can access the workshops and adapt them to their communities to help Women, activists and Human Rights Defenders to protect themselves from online and offline threats.
Below is a guidelines for a simple yet powerful exercise, if you give it a chance. The simultaneous placing of hands on – and thus connecting of- important centers (brain, heart, stomach..) can have an effect on the nervous system and help balance emotions on a daily basis. Importantly, it can open a “path back home” to a calm composed state in case of a crisis/panic. Like all exercises designed to help in times of emergency, it is best to practice in relatively more peaceful times, so as to be familiar with it.
Note you can also use these placing of hands to help soothe a friend, if they are OK with your touch in that moment.
source: The Art of Healing Trauma, Heidi Hanson, citing Peter Levine.
I am worried someone may be thinking about suicide… What do I say ? How ? When ? What do I do ?
It takes courage, love, and some awareness and preparation sometimes to bring up the most sensitive subjects
Conversation Matters offers a selection of resources (factsheets, podcasts… ) for discussing Suicide, one to one, or in groups.
Sudden shortness of breath, choking, racing heartbeat, pain in the chest, nausea, sweating, shaking, feels like dying, completely losing it… What is happening ? It might well be a Panic attack.
Although very impressive, panic attacks are often not as dangerous as they look, manageable, reversible, and can be avoided in the future. Much of the terror they bring can be controlled by understanding what is actually going on in the body and mind of the person. Whether it’s you or friend. So, in times of peace and quiet, do a bit of research on that extreme physiological state, so you are able to help yourself or someone when the attack attacks. Also, when the emergency has passed, it is important to consider the personal context in which the attack(s) took place, identify, maybe, some triggers. Only then can remedies be found in life and lifestyle that will prevent such challenging crisis from happening again.
Here are some suggested reading:
>> Panic attacks information sheets, Centre for Clinical Intervention
>> Panic attack first aid guidelines, Mental Health First Aid Australia
Love to our friends and to all those yet-strangers who will become friends after a good handshake <3 !!!
Mãozada − The Handshake was redacted in Portugal, in 2015.
Texts are by Emily King. Drawings are by Dayana Lucas. Special thanks to La Quadrature du Net, Sarah Hiltner, and everyone who helped in the making of this manual <3 !
You are free to print, copy, circulate, and remix as you please. Do not, however, make any commercial use of this work in whole or part. It was conceived as a gift; please use it as such.
From the Introduction :
“Our hands are tools; they transform thought into action, shape our reality, connect us to the world and the beautiful beings that are part of it.
An extension of our hearts, they can bring the ones we love closer, and keep at a distance those we distrust.
Their sophisticated anatomy enables both the use of brute force and the most delicate of gestures. They feed us, defend us, but also hold onto a lot of stress.
As the bark of the tree, the skin of our hands holds the traces of the many stories that make up our lives.
Since all body parts tend to reflect a greater whole, a hand massage will have positive effects on the general state of being.“
“The news that people we knew, trusted, worked with and loved are not who we thought they were, has come as a shock to many people. For some, it has meant that close and intimate relationships were not what they seemed, representing a massive personal betrayal. Others may not have known the police infiltrators so closely, or even at all, but the news can still have a big impact on us, as individuals, groups and movements.”
Read Activist Trauma Support leaflet on the sickening effects of police infiltration, how to heal, support each other – and find more resources (on PTSD, self-care in activism..), contact info, on their website.
Watch “Lily”, Harry, and Jason’s talk about their experience at Chaos Communication Camp 2015:
“It’s no exaggeration, then, to say that alcohol has played a key role in the epidemic of fascism, racism, statism, imperialism, colonialism, sexism and patriarchy, class oppression, ungoverned technological development, religious superstition, and other bad stuff that has swept the earth over the past few millennia. It continues to play that role today, as the peoples of the whole world, finally universally domesticated and enslaved by global capitalism, are kept pacified and helpless by a steady supply of spirits. These evil spirits squander the time, money, health, focus, creativity, awareness, and fellowship of all who inhabit this universally occupied territory – “work is the curse of the drinking classes,” as Oscar Wilde said. It’s not surprising, for example, that the primary targets of advertising for malt liquor (a toxic by-product of the brewing process) are the inhabitants of ghettos in the United States: people who constitute a class that, if not tranquillized by addiction and incapacitated by self-destruction, would be on the front lines of the war to destroy capitalism.”
>> ANARCHY & ALCOHOL (CrimethInc.)
“Cuando una mulher empieza a excitarse sexualmente, el utero empieza primero a temblar, como una medusa suspendida en el oceano”
.. On pleasure in giving birth, Wilhelm Reich’s (and others) perspectives on the healthy – orgastic – uterine matrix, in spanish…
“The time has come to stop blaming bad acid. Now the focus is on spreading knowledge (…)”
is “a comprehensive guide to setting up and running compassionate care services for people having difficult drug experiences at music festivals and similar events. The Manual grew out of the work of its original creators at KosmiCare, the psychedelic care service at the iconic Boom Festival in Portugal. Whilst psychedelic care services have been in operation for decades, and have grown in number and in scope in the past few years, a general guide on how to establish and run them did not exist in the public domain, nor indeed—beyond training manuals for specific organisations—at all. We envisaged a work that would address all aspects of such a project, containing material to guide the care service leader, team leads and carer givers, and those fulfilling vital supporting roles (such as psychiatrists and nurses) through the entire gamut of preparation, training, logistics, operations, and the wrap-up of a care service.”
DOWNLOAD the Manual
CrimethInc. zine on self-care.
“Following up our feature “For All We Care” analyzing the contradictory currents within the category of care, we present “Self as Other: Reconsidering Self-Care.” This zine combines that text with three more essays in which individuals recount their personal struggles with the concept and practice of care. Please print and photocopy these to share with anyone who is confronting the same issues!”
Easy indispensable basic health guides for people and communities worldwide, accessible for free in many languages HERE on Hesperian Health website – including David Werner classic Donde No Hay Doctor. Covering many topics, for when there is no doctor, no dentist, for people with special needs, women and children, disabled, and because health is a right.
Here is Navigating Crisis, another sensible handout from the Icarus Project, a community dedicated to helping each other and oneself “navigate the space between brilliance and madness”
Useful facts about psychological crash, crisis response suggestions, how to write down advance directives for friends / carers ..
” When you or someone close to you goes into crisis, it can be the scariest thing to ever happen. You don’t know what to do, but it seems like someone’s life might be at stake or they might get locked up, and everyone around is getting stressed and panicked. Most people have either been there themselves or know a friend who has been there. Someone’s personality starts to make strange changes, they’re not sleeping or sleeping all day, they lose touch with the people around them, they disappear into their room for days, they have wild energy and outlandish plans, they start to dwell on suicide and hopelessness, they stop eating or taking care of themselves, or they start taking risks and being reckless. They become a different person. They’re in crisis.
The word “crisis” comes from a root meaning “judgment.” A crisis is a moment of great tension and meeting the unknown. It’s a turning point when things can’t go on the way they have, and the situation isn’t going to hold. Could crisis be an opportunity for breakthrough, not just breakdown? Can we learn about each other and ourselves as a community through crisis? Can we see crisis as an opportunity to judge a situation and ourselves carefully, not just react with panic and confusion or turn things over to the authorities? ”
An Easy (and wild) guide to miscarriage (also available in English) –
1.- Definición de términos. ¿Qué es un aborto espontáneo?
Un aborto espontáneo o aborto natural es la pérdida de un embrión por causas no provocadas intencionadamente. Se distingue pues de un aborto inducido. El término se puede aplicar solo cuando la pérdida se produce antes de la semana 20 del embarazo, a partir de ese momento se denominará parto prematuro.
2.- Antes de abortar.
Las causas de los abortos espontáneos son un misterio para la medicina occidental y no hay nada que un médico pueda hacer para impedirlos. Si intentan recetarte progesterona, recházala. No hay pruebas de eficacidad y solo conseguirán ponerte de un humor depresivo y suicida.
Si te prohiben tener relaciones sexuales, desconfía. Se suele desaconsejar el sexo cuando hay amenaza de aborto (como pérdidas de sangre) pero no existe evidencia científica de que el sexo provoque el aborto. Lo que sí puede suceder es que empieces a abortar después de tener relaciones sexuales. Pero las relaciones no son la causa, simplemente estimulan un proceso que YA a empezado en tu interior. Es como cuando te viene la regla después de follar. No te viene la regla porque folles, te viene porque no te has quedado embarazada. Que no te confundan. Algunos ginecólogos tienen vocación de curas.
3.- No vayas a un centro médico.
Si te has hecho una ecografía y ya no hay latido (es decir el embrión ha muerto) vas a sufrir un aborto. Es solo cuestión de tiempo. Tienes que tener paciencia porque la cosa se puede demorar semanas. Prepara tu cuerpo y despídete. Cada caso es distinto. Cuando comience te darás cuenta, empezarás a sangrar y a sufrir calambres. No vayas a un centro médico porque hay muchas posibilidades de que te hagan una intervención muy agresiva y en absoluto necesaria.
>>>> Basic first aid and safety for protesters, advice about medication in jail, protection against pepper spray and tear gas, tips for emotional / injury/ chemical weapons aftercare… A zine, the Activist’s Guide to Basic First Aid, to read / print /share…
“Black Cross Health Collective is an affinity group of health care workers who live in Portland, Oregon. We formed after the WTO protests because we saw a need for medical care that is specific to the radical community. We think our needs as radicals are different, and that groups like the Red Cross don’t give us the skills we need to keep ourselves and each other safe in the streets. So we called upon our own medical experience (as nurse practioners, nurses, EMT’s, clinical herbalists, and more), as well as our experience in demos
and direct actions, and formed Black Cross. Since then, we’ve done first aid trainings in Portland and around the country, provided medical support at local and national demos, and are conducting trials looking for a way to neutralize pepper spray.
We believe that health care is political. The kind of care we do or don’t receive, where and how we receive that care, who provides that care, who has access to training to provide care, and what kinds of trainings are smiled or frowned upon, all involve inherently political issues. We believe the system needs to be changed… the health care system right along with all the others.
We’ve put this zine together mostly to go along with a first aid training. While doing the trainings we realized there was way more to say about first aid than we would have time to say it in. So we thought a little reading would maybe be helpful to y’all.
Remember the most important words you can ever learn to say are “I don’t know.”
Fight the power, do no harm.”
Black Cross Collective
Read / Download / Share FIRST AID FOR EMOTIONAL TRAUMA, An Icarus Project Information sheet.
Feeling Body Sensations: Key to Trauma First Aid
Trauma cuts us off from our bodies. When we are in overwhelming danger, we dissociate or ‘leave our bodies’ as a protective measure. Later this protective mechanism becomes stuck and counterproductive. The key to healing trauma is to return to our bodies, by feeling our physical sensations and making our bodies safe and alive again.
Ask, “How do you know that you are sad? Is there tightness in your chest or throat? How do you know you are afraid? Is there a cold feeling, or a sinking feeling in your stomach? Feel it fully. How large is the feeling? Is it changing? What do you feel next?” Listen without interruption and give plenty of time to feel and respond. Grounding and resourcing yourself will also help the other person.
Keeping eyes open usually is best for focusing on body sensations.
If the person can’t feel their body at all, ask, “Can you feel your feet on the ground? Your pelvis sitting on the chair?” Grasp their hand or shoulder and say “Can you feel my hand?” Always ask before touching. If lying down, ask them to sit up. Ask to walk around slowly and feel their legs and feet. Or gently hold & press their feet to the ground.
Free psychedelic literature to download in MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) resources pages, digital books covering History of Psychedelic therapy, Psychedelics and Culture, Psychedelic Experience… It’s HERE.
Go to MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) for psychedelic harm reduction resources and download manual !
“This year, millions of people will use psychedelics outside of supervised medical contexts, many of them for the first time. Many psychedelic users are unprepared to tend to a psychedelic-induced difficult experience if one were to arise. As part of our efforts to minimize harm related to the non-medical use of psychedelics, on this page we provide advice for helping someone having a difficult psychedelic experience”
“Mental health first aid has been defined as the help provided to a person developing a mental health problem or in a mental health crisis. The first aid is given until appropriate professional treatment is received or until the crisis resolves. Training courses started to be developed in Australia by Betty Kitchener, and Anthony Jorm in 2001, then spread to other countries (…)”. It aims apparently to “increase mental health literacy, expand knowledge on how to help someone in a psychological crisis, connect individuals with professionals, and reduce stigma”.
But then MHFA stems from a medical model which can have its limits. It has been argued that it could in fact result in more stigma, if not more alienation, through the use of clinical labels, prompt resort to medical authorities / psychiatric services, and medication. These points are addressed in Three reviews of mental health first aid on the Mad In America website:
“Edward Duff: Mental Health First Aid is pretty good if you ignore the labeling system and just pay attention to the very gentle form of peer support, harm-reduction, and listening they advocate. This is a big IF since the main response of the program is to lead people into psychiatric services. It’s also a form of response short of an emergency hospitalization/capture scenario. This can be a very good thing to avoid, for sure.”
With this in mind, you can explore MHFA Australia material on how to pick up signals, how to approach and help someone with depression, psychosis, suicidal thoughts and behaviors, panic attacks, drug or alcohol use problems… or help returning to work after depression. Also, it has guidelines adapted to different cultures.
* MHFA Australia free GUIDELINES *
“In order to improve the quality of the mental health first aid techniques being taught to the public, MHFA Australia and researchers in the Mental Health Literacy Research Team lead by Professor Tony Jorm (now the Population Mental Health Group at the University of Melbourne) have developed guidelines on what constitutes best practice first aid, as informed by expert consensus (i.e., consensus-based guidelines). (…) Guidelines in the following areas have been developed, and are available for free download below.
How to use these guidelines
These guidelines are a general set of recommendations about how you can help someone who may be experiencing ———. Each individual is unique and it is important to tailor your support to that person’s needs. These recommendations therefore will not be appropriate for every person who may have ———-.
Also, the guidelines are designed to be suitable for providing first aid in developed English-speaking countries. They may not be suitable for other cultural groups or for countries with different health systems.
Although these guidelines are copyright, they can be freely reproduced for non-profit purposes provided the source is acknowledged.
Please cite these guidelines as follows:
Mental Health First Aid Australia. Psychosis: first aid guidelines. Melbourne: Mental Health First Aid Australia; 2008. Enquiries should be sent to:
Mental Health First Aid Australia email: firstname.lastname@example.org
GO TO the DOWNLOAD PAGE
The Icarus Project is a “radical mental health support network, online community, and alternative media project by and for people struggling with extreme emotional distress that often gets labeled as mental illness.” You can read their mission statement, here. Principles like access, transparency, looking beyond the medical, self and/or alternative education, all guide a relaxed yet resolute, diffracting yet convergent, initiative for the well-being of extra-ordinary people. Browsing through their pages you’ll find they provide a lot of resources (articles, forums, etc.) to help one “navigate the space between brilliance and madness”. It will speak to whoever is confronted to “madness” at some point in their life, one way or another, in a world that is constantly LOSING IT in many aspects.
Taking care of oneself or helping someone in a psychological crisis can be tricky. Not everybody is experienced or comfortable in dealing with different, awkward, or extreme states of consciousness. As a matter of fact, many people it seems become clueless when confronted to psychological distress, even their own… Some psychological states are indeed impressive, and some can actually threaten a person’s mental and physical integrity. But with appropriate reactions (often rather simple ones, like keeping the voice down or introducing oneself), informed attention, kindness and clear intentions, a little help can go a long way in supporting recovery or preventing harm. Even better is the care we can provide as a group, attentive, resilient, aware and creative, because it will be more sustainable, and so the recovery or at least the safety of the person will stand more chances too in the long term.
So how to take care of oneself when the mind is troubled ? How to take care of friends, of strangers, of friends who suddenly become strangers ? Breaking the taboo around “madness” in one’s community can be a good start, making a safe space, becoming a bit more literate in psychology / caregiving, aware and confident… By not being afraid to do good ?
Following is a small selection of handouts, information sheets, guides and zines I found on Icarus website relative to psychological care. They are all interesting to read, print, post, share. They can give you insight and clues and confidence. All Icarus Project material is licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC-ND.
* NAVIGATING CRISIS handout
“Someone’s personality starts to make strange changes, they’re not sleeping or sleeping all day, they lose touch with the people around them, they disappear into their room for days, they have wild energy and outlandish plans, they start to dwell on suicide and hopelessness, they stop eating or taking care of themselves, or they start taking risks and being reckless. They become a different person. They’re in crisis. The word “crisis” comes from a root meaning “judgment.” A crisis is a moment of great tension and meeting the unknown. It’s a turning point when things can’t go on the way they have, and the situation isn’t going to hold. Could crisis be an opportunity for breakthrough, not just breakdown? Can we learn about each other and ourselves as a community through crisis? Can we see crisis as an opportunity to judge a situation and ourselves carefully, not just react with panic and confusion or turn things over to the authorities? “
* CRISIS PLANNER pdf
“Noticing and responding to symptoms early reduces the chances that you will find yourself in crisis. But it is important to confront the possibility of a crisis because in spite of your best planning and assertive action in your own behalf, you could find yourself in a situation where others will need to take over responsibility for your care. (…) Writing a clear crisis plan when you are well, to instruct others about how to care for you when you are not well keeps you taking responsibility for your own care.”
* HELP GETTING TO SLEEP information sheet
“Not sleeping for long periods of time is extremely dangerous for physical and emotional
* FIRST AID FOR EMOTIONAL TRAUMA information sheet
“Trauma (or post-traumatic stress disorder) is the emotional “shock” after a life-threatening, violent event. Anything that makes our body panic and go into a fight/flight/freeze response can leave us traumatized. The effects may be immediate or take time to surface, and can be felt for the rest of our lives. “
* HURTING YOURSELF zine
“how to take care of yourself when you feel the urge to hurt yourself ”
Excerpt : “Applying harm reduction philosophy to mental health is a new but growing approach. It means not always trying to eliminate “symptoms” or discontinue all medications. It recognizes that people are already taking psychiatric drugs, already trying to come off them, and already living with symptoms — and that in this complicated reality people need true help, not judgment. It encourages balancing the different risks involved: the harm from extreme states, as well as the harm from treatments such as adverse drug effects, disempowering labels, and traumatic hospitalization.
Making harm reduction decisions means looking honestly at all sides of the equation: how drugs might help a life that feels out of control, how risky those same drugs might be, and the role of options and alternatives. Any decisions become a process of experimentation and learning, including learning from your own mistakes and changing your goals along the way. Harm reduction accepts all this, believing that the essence of any healthy life is the capacity to be empowered.”