Healing Through Story: A Toolkit on Grassroots Approaches is a resource developed with and for Department of Mental Health staff by artist and LA County Creative Strategist Anu Yadav. The toolkit focuses on the power of story as an arts-based healing process that promotes wellbeing and connection. It highlights community-building methods for listening and facilitation and includes interviews with community groups on how we heal. Learn more about the toolkit at HealingThroughStory.org . ArtsBlog highlighted this work in their recent story on Artists as Essential Workers with and within Local Government.
Anu Yadav is an Indian heritage actress, playwright, cultural worker and member of the Actor's Equity Association, Alternate ROOTS, the Dramatists Guild, Network of Ensemble Theaters, the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival and the University of the Poor.
From Anu Yadav's Introduction to the toolkit
As I write this, our world is experiencing a global health pandemic laying bare the chronic inequalities many communities have faced for generations, a pandemic that is also exacerbating existing mental health needs. This toolkit is about how sharing stories can be a powerful tool for healing. In the midst of our current public health crisis, practices such as these can allow us to remember our connection and promote well-being. They can help people process the fears and sudden realities that many are facing. They can also support communities in addressing the greatest challenges in our world today. These tools are timely and timeless.
Many grassroots networks recognize the power of story. These networks provide emergency response and arts-based healing and organize in communities as hubs of deep connection. They serve as a moral compass for our larger society in offering models of community care.
This resource is for LA County Department of Mental Health outreach and engagement staff, promotores, peers and others seeking additional tools for community empowerment work. It is for artists, facilitators, educators, organizers, cultural workers and others whose work also involves community and civic engagement. It is for anyone interested in learning how to do a story circle and other story-based methods where they live. They are for anyone seeking to nurture holistic solutions in and with communities.
Read the story on Yadav's toolkit on Artsblog.
Learn more about the Creative Strategist program, which places artists in County departments to develop artist-driven solutions to complex civic issues.