Explore some uplifting news on how reuniting with their pets helps refugees, pairing yoga and meditation with jazz music in an unexpected location, and more.
Get With the Program
HBO’s In Treatment is giving viewers a front-row seat at patient-doctor therapy sessions. The show aims to highlight the importance of mental health while addressing the stigma therapy carries in various groups. “I hope we just provide another branch of resource for people in our community,” Uzo Aduba, who plays Dr. Brook Taylor, said on a panel with National Alliance on Mental Illness of New York City (NAMI). Aduba notes there are family and friends, and faith leaders, as sources of outreach, “but also there’s this branch of therapy as a source of outreach.” HBO has also partnered with Ten Percent Happier to share meditation guides inspired by In Treatment characters, and launched the Therapy Is for Everybody campaign, presenting talks from multicultural mental health and wellness professionals.
It’s often said that a dog is a man’s best friend, but anyone with a pet would argue that their furry, feathery, or scaly companion feels more like family than anything else, which is why being separated can be heartbreaking. So Mascotas Para Migrantes (Pets for Migrants), a program organized by immigration attorney Taylor Levy and communications worker Jordyn Rozensky, is currently working to reunite immigrants and asylum-seekers with their pets. “One of the central themes for asylum-seekers is this common experience of loss. They had to leave behind all sense of normalcy,” Levy told BuzzFeed News. “For them, especially after surviving so much trauma, pets are this lifeline of normalcy and emotional support.”
A Display of Happiness
What do a decade-old tomato seed, an inhaler, and a badminton racket have in common? They’re all objects featured in the world’s first-ever Happiness Museum. In July of 2020, at a time where the world desperately needed a reason to smile, the happiness museum opened its doors in Copenhagen, Denmark. Eight different exhibits show varying perspectives on happiness: for example, a “happiness lab” uncovering the psychology of laughter, and a curation of objects representing contributors’ most cheering memories. Their mission statement? “Our hope is guests will leave a little wiser, a little happier and a little more motivated to make the world a better place.”
Back in the Saddle
The British organization Horses Helping People is expanding its mindfulness and well-being programming with a grant from the UK National Lottery Community Fund to help more people rein in mental health challenges. Learning to care for, ride, and communicate with horses can help people with disabilities, behavioural challenges, or addiction build confidence and feel calm. “Often we only need to be in a horse’s presence to feel a sense of wellness and peace,” co-founder Debbie La-Haye told local news.
All That Jazz
A nonprofit in Philadelphia offers healing for communities of color through art and mindfulness. The Woodlands a historic cemetery and green space—was home to New Grass, a summer 2021 event that blended live jazz, yoga, and meditation, hosted by Ars Nova Workshop in collaboration with Spirits Up!, which works toward Black liberation. Mark Christman of Ars Nova, and Sudan Green, who started Spirits Up! see a lot of resonance between jazz and mindfulness. “Yoga or mindfulness in general is always asking you to be more present,” Green notes. “We are presenting in a cemetery, where life and death are very present to us and sometimes in kind of uncomfortable ways. And we’re living in a moment that’s been a bit of a drag, to say the least,” adds Christman. Both hope that their work helps create “spaces that can accommodate and even reconcile” experiences of racial harm, Christman says, “making way for the present through sharing art and conversation and meditation.”