Creating an Icarus Mentorship NetworkSubmitted by scatter on Tue, 08/28/2012 - 5:15pm
This is an invitation to a conversation that a bunch of us have been having around the country:
Icarus has been around for a decade. There are all these people who love Icarus, who identify with its vision, have been influenced by its writings and art and community, who are doing good work in the world and being articulate and making beautiful things that make the world a better place. Creating a network of individuals who feel aligned with Icarus would be a way to channel some of that energy and make it easier for people to find one another.
Right now the closest thing to a "network" that Icarus has ever had has been in the form of "a network of local groups", but Icarus Project groups have a tendency to grow and bloom and die back really quickly, till they're often impossible to find when they're needed. Often a "group" is actually just one or two people trying to keep something going in their town.
At it's most basic, the idea is that we'll develop a social network where people can find one another more easily than they can right now on the Icarus site, where they can share the things they do in the world. We'll also be a lot more proactive about getting our friends who are artists and writers and activists and healers to actually identify themselves with the Icarus Project -- support it's mission and vision, tells others about it, wear a cool t-shirt, you get the idea, (add your own idea here).
There's another piece of the autonomous network vision that feels important in my soul:
People usually find Icarus when they're having a hard time in their lives and then when they're doing better they move on (or when they're doing really bad they often just disappear for awhile.)
I think one of the most important things we can do in this world is learn life skills that work for us, and then pass them along to others who need them. I think mentorship - having mentors and being a mentor, is so key to healing and growth and being a fulfilled human being.
One of the things about the Icarus Project that makes us different from other "mental health" related organizations is that we don't define ourselves by our "diseases" and "illnesses", we define ourselves by our "gifts" -- and because of that we leave room for people to mingle with one another whether they've been in the psych system or not, so we take a whole other route with the issue of social stigma. It's alright to be "mad" and still be brilliant.
While Icarus has been really influenced by ideas in the harm reduction movement, I'm totally intrigued by the "sponsorship" model in the recovery movement, the way it helps to build solid community structures, the way it really helps people not be alone in their suffering in a very concrete way. It's also a way to keep a community healthy and alive because the healthy people have a recognized place in it. I envision the autonomous network of Icaristas as something that can form the basis for more mentorship in the community.
What do you think about these ideas?
You can join the conversation about the vision of the new website social networking and expanded user profiles here.
You can join a conversation about what the Icarus community means to you and post your stories here.
Mad Love, Sascha