Independently whether you are starting from here (or not), in understanding the chances and barriers towards positive transformation for (mental) well-being, the role of community relationships cannot be underestimated. Why is it so? So, let’s get started/continued on community orientation!

Like with the individual orientation there are some tried tools and methods for community work. We have decided to start with an individual story, which exceptionally well highlights one’s role as a community actor. It will be followed by your reflections; and you mapping your roles in the community. This can be very useful in both showing how you are already networking with different actors and showing to you, what there might still to be done in that respect.

We have chosen two evidence-based methods and practices in increasing well-being in rural communities, which we consider of major importance: practices for nature-based welfare; and arts (specifically, theatre) in improving mental well-being.

On this section, you can proceed from listening to and reflecting on Pertti Simula’s story; mapping your roles in the community; learning on nature-based welfare and on arts in improving mental well-being – before concluding by making a “retrospective” step in what you have learnt.

Rural communities in transformation – a story of an exceptional community actor

This is the story of Pertti Simula. He is now over seventy years old, having lived half of his adult life in Brazil. There he worked first with a big Finnish tractor building company, had mental health problems, sought for help, got interested in integral psychoanalysis and studied it under the guidance of its founder Norberto R. Keppe, and ended up working part-time as a psychoanalyst and part-time as an advisor in the Social Movement of Landless Peasants (Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra; abr. MST). Pertti is an example of a community actor, a good and a rare one:

Pertti’s example shows that any one of us can become a community actor. Of course, it depends on more than one person. It depends on the community, its story and its aspirations, but it depends also on you!

  • Which kinds of roles do you have in your community? Are you doing volunteer work? Are you active in cultural or political associations promoting wellbeing in Your community – in what ways?
  • Are you participating in peer group activities?
  • Do you see more possibilities than barriers in being an active participant in your community? Where is the source for these possibilities or barriers – do they lie in personal, communal or larger societal matters?