This article appeared in the November 16, 2018 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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Helping one another to confront a malaise

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP
A couple watches a wildfire burn on a hilltop near their home in West Hills, Calif., earlier this month.
Clayton Collins
Director of Editorial Innovation

The action seems to be picking up along a continuum that runs from disgruntlement to despair. We hear terms like “collective trauma.”

A recent mass shooting feels long ago, partly because of an impatient news cycle – watch for our take on how to avoid normalization of such violence – and partly because that event has been overlaid with others that contribute to a sense of malaise.

Hundreds of residents remain unaccounted for in California’s wildfire zone. We see news of victim-blaming in Ireland and of human rights perhaps imperiled inside the US-Saudi-Turkey triangle. Another fraught election plays out – still – in Florida. Charges mount that Facebook, a virtual second home for so many, failed to protect its digital citizens from bad actors peddling influence.

Where is the counterforce? In real community, some offer. It was door-knocking neighbors and local officials with bullhorns, for example, who warned many to flee ahead of fast-moving fires.

What hope for those who feel overwhelmed? A Highline story by Jason Cherkis this week explains how simple, undemanding outreach – by letter, by text – can subvert the “seductive logic” of suicidal thoughts for those who feel pushed that far down. One young caregiver, Ursula Whiteside, studied patients’ treatment histories and confirmed a recurring need. “Each one, she felt, was desperate for any form of help or kindness.”

The newsletter Daily Good offered another balm this morning. “Showing respect to individuals,” one source declared, “has a kind of healing power.”

Now to our five stories for your Friday, including a look at expanding long-held social definitions in the US, at reframing agricultural innovation in Ghana, and at harnessing the power of migration in Canada.

This article appeared in the November 16, 2018 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 11/16 edition
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