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2018 Well Being Trust Annual Report

Tyler Norris, writing in the 2018 Well Being Trust Annual Report:

This is a time of historic opportunity to turn the tide on the diseases and deaths of despair, and to increase well-being for all in America.

Every one of us is touched by the suffering, and every one of us is essential to the solution. In playing our unique roles, we get to bring our pain, our joy, our lived experience, and our diversity as our greatest gifts. As Dr. King reminds us: Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.

There is no clinical protocol, no community program, no governmental policy, no philanthropic grant (as vitally important as these are) that can substitute for the loving-kindness, compassionate care and radical inclusion that is necessarily at the heart of healing. Let us never confuse the importance of what we must do, with the greater call to who we are and can be.

  • Today, as every day, we are given openings to turn to one another — our families, friends, and those we encounter in times of need. And in our times of need. We are given each other as a blessing. We can choose to listen to and serve each other with open-hearted respect. We can choose to find our truest, most courageous voice. And we can choose to honor the aspirations and struggles of others by being reliable allies on a shared journey.
  • Today, as every day, we are given opportunities in our communities to assure the vital conditions for intergenerational well-being. In our homes in our schools and workplaces, in faith settings, and neighborhood gathering places, we can work together to ensure every person experiences economic inclusion, meaningful opportunities, and connected pathways to realize their fullest potential for flourishing.
  • Today as every day, those of us with leadership roles in philanthropy, health care, business, community development, and the civic sphere are given the power to ensure that our organizational practices, the public policies we support, and the way we use capital (natural, economic, social) supports human well-being, and the vitality of the living Earth of which we are a part, and on which we wholly depend.

Thirty-five years ago, inspired by leaders in health, the arts, civic and faith life, and community development, I began my professional journey to create healthy communities as gardens to grow people in. It is deeply painful to witness so many in our nation suffer so profoundly, and US lifespans begin to shorten. At the same time, it is heartening to see promising innovations in clinical care, digital tech, community development, policy advocacy, and civic engagement.

From my current role, I see us at a crossroads of shared complicity in creating the current outcomes. Today’s results are the direct legacy of previous decisions made. We must face this reality as it is. Yet as leaders shaping legacies for generations to come, one thing is clear — we must now make a bold transition from merely ‘doing good things’ to becoming ‘fully accountable for impact.’ This is the ethical imperative before us.

As Well Being Trust enters its third year, we are calling on leaders across sectors, geography, politics and generations to do two things together, that none of us can deliver alone:

  • To address the causes of our pain, our loneliness, our addictions, our othering and our suffering at their roots. Being, belonging, and becoming are not luxuries. Rather, they are prerequisites to total health and the source of our resilience against life’s slings and arrows. We must invite co-creation at every turn, and lead with love.
  • To join forces in creating impact at scale. To deliver adequate ‘dose’ (reach, intensity and duration) for population level outcomes, we must align our initiatives for comprehensiveness, and create economic incentives in a marketplace that values human flourishing, not just profitability of services and products delivered. We must hold ourselves accountable for social impact, and lead with courage.

While the scale of the challenge before us is massive, our ability to rise together is stronger yet.

Whatever may divide us, that which connects us is greater still.

Well Being Trust is committed to advancing comprehensive solutions to mental health and substance use issues, while creating a culture of well-being that benefits everyone. By focusing on and spreading what works, we are convening,  partnering and investing to accelerate the pace of positive change.

From wherever you serve, please join us in a growing movement of those being healed in the process of healing, and leading side by side for well-being in the nation.