We are at the beginning stages of creating affinity spaces for mental health, disability, and neurodiversity. This group is a starting point, initiated as an idea more than a year ago, as a place where we can all support each other to imagine and create the spaces we need and to be in solidarity to build community. Perhaps we'll support multiple affinity groups as needed but for now we are operating as one. Here’s one of many attempts at clarification of the terms toward a shared understanding:

  • To clarify, by mental health, we’d like to approach it as something that we all have, like physical health, and that there are things that worsen or improve it. Working together to create a trauma-informed, healing-centered space is a type of affinity space that several of us want to continue and formalize. There are so many things that impact mental health, and we want to build solidarity and advocacy while humanizing our experiences through increasing awareness of the interdependence of systems of oppression and building supportive connections and access.
  • We want to approach disability through abundance, that we are enough, and that it includes invisible disabilities as well as physical disabilities and injury recovery, and that together we will work to figure out how to support each other’s needs better, and that together we can create a refuge for those that have been victims of external and internalized ableism within the community.
  • Our brains work in all different ways and neurodiversity celebrates this while our spaces and structures might not at all times, or for some, perhaps not at all yet. Together we can work to identify barriers to access, help change ways of perception that expand opportunity rather than limit it, and create neurodiversity friendly spaces within the broader community.

We invite you to reach out to mhdn@mazamas.org with questions or to become involved, and from there we will work to schedule meetups. Here is also a link to a survey.