Dr  Michael Ungar – Assessing Your Resilience Resources

Dr Michael Ungar – Assessing Your Resilience Resources

So let me, let me put you through a
little bit of a test here. Let’s think about your, let’s think about this
on your own lives for a minute. How resilient are we?
Here’s a series of questions to ask yourself. We can, we have more sophisticated
resilience measures, for those of you who actually want to do research on this. We
have very sophisticated, a child and youth resilience measure, a 12-item battery, a
protocol and a 28-item protocol. It’s available for free. We give it away.
You can go on my website resilienceresearch.org. You can find it there, under the tool basket…but in a more popular conversational way, let me ask
you these questions. How resilient, in a sense, are we? How would you answer these
questions? Could you complete these questions? There are people in my life who expect
me to blank. Can you finish that sentence? Do you have somebody who expects you to do
something? Like before you left home today, your spouse…maybe they expect you
to actually do something, like empty the dishwasher or take out the garbage or
something like that, right? Consequences: When I don’t meet expectations, I know
that blank will happen. Relationships: I can reach out to my blank to get help
when I need it. Is that part of your life? Do you have that? Keep going.
I feel respected for what’s special about me when I’m with or at or doing. Is
that part of you, you know, is it predictable? I don’t care what someone’s disability,
disadvantage is, usually those kinds of questions can be answered. Power and
control: In my blank I get to participate in making decisions that affect my blank.
Again, do you have that? Do you have a sense that you can make those
decisions somewhere in life? Belonging or Spirituality (sense of cohesion, culture):
At my blank, people, excuse me, miss me when I’m not there. Do
people know you’re not at work today? Is anybody kind of noticing that? Sense
of Culture: There are places such as blank where I can celebrate my culture
and my beliefs. I love the study, again on the West
coast of Canada that was done with some of our, some of the Indigenous bands, some
of the Indigenous communities by Chris Lalonde and Mike Chandler, in which they
actually looked at what distinguished…of the 192
different Indigenous bands, tribal groups out in B.C.,
some have epidemically high proportions of suicide amongst their their kids. Absolutely, it’s truly a tragedy on an unparalleled scale in this country…but the interesting
thing was about half of the communities had no suicide over the last 14 years.
Some had astronomical levels some had absolutely none, but fully half of
the communities on on the West coast had no suicide in their community. How could
you, how could that be such a spread? How can you have like 14 or 10
suicides a year and none a year when they’re matched almost culturally, they
experience much of the same exclusion and everything else, how did that happen?
And what they identified was a set of factors such as: Were women involved in
the governance of the band? Was there a cultural space in the community that
people used, not a gymnasium that was converted, but actually a space to
celebrate culture? They did other things like, was there a volunteer fire
department in the community? Any of you live in communities where there’s a
volunteer fire department? If you do, you know why that would be significant
because you have to have a certain level of social cohesion. A sense of ‘mwe’, if you
want to come back to Dan’s term this morning. That notion of otherness,
that sense of cohesion in your life to sustain that. All to say is what they
concluded, I think, being young and an Indigenous person in Canada is not a
risk for suicide. Let me repeat that. Being young and Indigenous is not a risk
for suicide. Being young, Indigenous and living in a community without adequate
control, where your identity is excluded, where you experience racial
bias, where your land claims aren’t being settled, where all these social factors
are failing you IS a risk for suicide. And thus, what I’m coming around to is
understanding that we fundamentally need to begin to think about the building
blocks of creating this more integrative holistic sense of ourselves…and these
questions are basically…l’ll keep going here.
When I’m with others at my blank, am I treated fairly? Again thinking about your
own experience. Safety…or when I’m with others, I am
responsible for myself or someone else. That genuine sense of responsibility
that brings with it all kinds of advantages. I’m well cared for by and I
feel safe when I’m with or at ______. Now if you can answer those questions, that is going
to just be so, so profound in your in your life. What I’m trying to say is, if
you’re thinking about it, if people who raise their hand at seven, eight, nine of
those things, when we hit a speed bump we’re going to be able to withstand the
stress much better because we have this collection of things around us. And again
if I add to that then the cognitive practices, then we seem to really be able
to withstand stressors…but it’s this combination of this environment bringing
out the best in me that actually makes it possible for me to survive and thrive.

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