Mental Difficulties, Funders and the Roots of Enterprise

We have seen a lot of nonsensical stuff get funded over the years (no offense)—stuff, sometimes, that foundations figured was in the best interest of a community but, because it was not conceived or accepted by those who were to have benefited, needed to be sold to a bunch of people who were unconvinced . . . and then went belly up within a few years because – let’s be serious – we can always find a way to sabotage what people think is best for us unless we do too. Metaphorically, it’s the old hippo and tomato problem referred to by Ernesto Sirolli in his TED talk “Want to help someone? Shut up and listen.”

So, when I saw an article in the Guardian the other day, by a man named Mark Brown, whose magazine by and for people experiencing mental difficulties had gone under because of lack of funding, it made me sad. I wrote the situation up in a newswire under the same title as the welcome letter Brown wrote for the final issue of his magazine, “What Kind of Monster Eats a Mental Health Magazine?”. The story is about the failure of a social enterprise that was filling a gap for people with mental difficulties, as Brown terms it—and in his article he asks, “there may be a gap in the market but is there a market in the gap?”

I have been so horrified by what looks like a recent, further dismantling of mental health service availability that I made a commitment not to let Brown’s idea die along with the one attempt. Just putting it out there!