This Wednesday, 25th September, we’re hosting an Edinburgh meet-up focusing on Basic Income and mental health. Our speaker for this meet-up will be Lily Asch, founder of Real Talk, a social enterprise dedicated to storytelling for mental wellbeing. We thought that made for a good opportunity to reflect on the things that discussions about mental health and Basic Income have in common.
Timothea Armour, CBINS blog editor
Lily set up Real Talk after a talk she gave as part of TEDxEdinburgh University about her own experience of mental illness. The talk was both cathartic and empowering for Lily and prompted others to start sharing stories about their experiences with mental health. The organisation’s aim is not only to provide spaces like this, where people feel comfortable talking about their struggles, but to help them to literally take control of their own narratives through the medium of storytelling. Speakers at Real Talk’s events have two sessions with a professional storyteller, crafting their experiences into a story and then have an opportunity to share that story with an audience.
The prioritisation of lived experience over data and statistics feels like a common thread between discussions of a Citizen’s Basic Income and of mental health. When we talk about a ‘Citizens’ Basic Income’ we mean that policy making must be responsive to the needs and desires of a population and developed in conversation with that population.
A Citizens’ Basic Income and Real Talk share a similar ethos in that they are both founded on the idea that giving people more agency – in telling their story, in policy making, in how they choose to spend their time – is fundamentally important for their wellbeing.
As well as a sense of agency, a Basic Income would also be able to combat some of the issues that exacerbate mental health problems. When we are worrying about money we are distracted from and might, because of work, not have time to deal with or seek help for problems. Not to mention that financial pressure in itself is stressful and can lead to poor mental health. Moreover, having more time to spend with friends and family, is bound to be beneficial for mental health – we can take more time to support each other, or to take time out from work to recover, or just spend more time sharing and talking about our experiences.
You join the discussion with us at Woodland Creatures, 260-262 Leith Walk, on Wednesday from 18.30. More information about the event can be found here. Due to the subject matter we will do more than usual to create a safe space for discussion during this event.