Holistic Responses to Mental Health
One of the most important factors in mental health is social being. In SPoR we call this Socialitie. The idea that mental health is about brain programming or brain health, simple serves to distract organisations from tackling mental health properly. In risk and safety, the worldviews of Behaviourism, Engineering and Individualism frame the failure of many approaches to mental health. Recent trends in brain-based safety:
is evidence of poor understandings of human personhood. Just more safety goop to make money and to ensure nothing changes.
This is why so much of the language of psychological safety is brain-centric (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/brain-friendly-leadership-why-psychological-safety-how-kate-warburton ) and doomed to fail. This is why you find nowhere in safety any mature discussion of the human and collective unconscious.
No wonder Safety gets attracted to these naïve ideas about the brain because it wants to make its image of humans fit its worldview of control. There is simply no evidence for such a worldview. Try reading any of these:
- Chalmers – The Conscious Mind
- Chalmers – The Character of Consciousness
- Claxton – Intelligence in the Flesh
- Damasio – Descartes Error
- Damasio – The Feeling of What Happens
- Durt – Embodiment, Enaction and Culture
- Fuchs – ecology of the brain
- Ginot – The Neuropsychology of the Unconscious
- Noe – Out of our Heads
- Panksepp – Affective Neuroscience
- Raaven – The Self Beyond Itself
- Robinson – Out of Our Mind
- Tversky – Mind in Motion
- Van der Kolk – The Body Keeps the Score
- Varela – The Embodied Mind
Hey, but let’s not let evidence get in the way of making some money out of safety mythology.
Our worldview (Methodology) frames our methods and, the metaphor of mind-as-computer inhibits the potential of risk and safety to offer anything helpful with regard to mental health. Human persons are social beings and any separation of mind from body or privileging brain focus over body focus is simply silly.
In SPoR we emphasize the need for Holistic Ergonomics (https://cllr.com.au/product/holistic-ergonomics-unit-6/ ), not just the interaction of objects with bodies so common in traditional ergonomics. In SPoR we understand that human persons are Intercorporeal and Interaffected (https://www.academia.edu/30974462/Intercorporeality_and_Interaffectivity ) with all things and beings. And unless strategies for mental health are holistic, they are most likely going to fail. This is often why many of the tokenistic approaches to mental health in organisations don’t work.
So, we also need to be clear that the idea of human and person are distinctly different. The language of human refers to genus, meaning ‘a being out of the ground’. The language of ‘person’ refers to the ‘persona’ of that being, their character and uniqueness. Our persona is the face we show the world (Jung). We all share the same skin but not the same persona-lity.
This is why in SPoR when we discuss ethics and morality we refer to the nature of persons. However, what we see in safety is the AIHS BoK Chapter on ethics confusing ethics and morality and offering no definition of personhood. Without a definition of personhood one simply has no idea of how safety methods harm the character of persons. There is still no mature approach to ethics in the risk and safety world globally, despite the fact that many speak about ‘ethical responsibility’. Such naïve ideas as ‘check your gut’ and ‘do the right thing’ offer no help to an immature industry that wishes to claim the word ‘professional’ but doesn’t want to engage in the challenging thinking of ethics. Much easier to keep the safety head in the sand and maintain the behaviourist delusion that the brain is a computer.
Recent research (https://neurosciencenews.com/nature-mental-health-20425/ ) shows the way that we interact with the environment is also critical to mental health. Our presence in the natural environment affects our wellbeing. This is the affect of bio-semiotics on meaning making and understanding that we are interaffected and intercorporeal ‘beings’ in the world. This is the foundation for understanding Holistic Ergonomics.
This is why SPoR foundations are anchored to the ideas of One Brain Three Minds (https://vimeo.com/106770292) and Workspace, Headspace and Groupspace (see video below). These two foundational anthropological ideas ensure that many of the methods of SPoR ‘work’ (https://www.humandymensions.com/product/it-works-a-new-approach-to-risk-and-safety/ ). It is also why many of the methods of safety don’t work, because they are founded in worldviews that do not correspond to the reality of what it is to be a human person. More so in approaches to mental health.
When so much of risk and safety is founded on brain-centrism (look at the list in paragraph one) it is no wonder that so many of safety methods regarding mental health don’t ‘work’. Something only ‘works’ if it humanizes persons in its methods.