September is #SuicidePreventionMonth. Suicide prevention and awareness have been embedded in Worldmaker’s DNA since it’s founding as a grassroots community resiliency project over 10 years ago.
From a Grassroots Community Resilience Project to the National Resilience Institute
Dr. Mollie Marti started the work that has become Worldmaker as a community resiliency project in 2011 in her Iowa community with the aim of stopping an active suicide contagion that resulted in the loss of several young lives. As word of her local efforts got out, requests for help from other communities came pouring in. So, Mollie stepped away from her work, including teaching psychology courses at the University of Iowa, to volunteer full-time and establish the nonprofit National Resilience Institute (NRI), with a mission to stop the loss of lives by suicide and find proven solutions to build resilience.
After much research and field experience, Mollie developed the evidence-based THRIVE Resilience Model. Over the years, NRI used this framework to deliver resilience education and leadership support to groups throughout the US, including the US Department of Health and Human Services, the US Department of Education, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services, US Department of Homeland Security, Wounded Warrior Project, Joint Base Andrews, FBI Victim Services, the National Association of School Psychologists, and universities and K-12 schools across the nation.
NRI Grows into Worldmaker International
In 2014, NRI started hosting annual Resilience Summits to share out what it was learning and to equip community helpers to build resilience in themselves and others. A few years later, in response to requests by researchers to gather for conversations around human resilience, NRI began hosting international research symposiums. At the 2018 symposium, Dylan Tête of the Bastion Community of Resilience in New Orleans introduced the concept of ‘worldmaking’ from the military veteran field. It refers to how service personnel transitioning into civilian life are tasked with remaking their world to meet their basic needs for belonging, competence, and purpose. The concept lit up the room. Discussions erupted about worldmaking not only as an essential individual process, but also a collective task.
As symposium participants explored the possibilities that could be created by collaborating to address this problem, a Worldmaker work group was formed! The following year, NRI officially became Worldmaker International, with a mission to help individuals and communities build their capacity to prepare for, adapt to, and grow through adversity.
Global collaborations have included Leaders in Counter Terrorism-Alumni Association (Australia, Canada), the Invictus Games Foundation (UK), Consolidated Africa Services (Zimbabwe), and the Africa Foundation (South Africa).
Too often, the focus is on repair rather than prevention. And, when bad things happen, the structures that could help people cope and move forward are not in place. People are suffering unnecessarily. Worldmaker focuses on teaching how to effectively tend to each other and equips people and organizations to cultivate a culture of preparedness and thriving.
The decision to become an international collaborative prior to a global pandemic positioned Worldmaker to play a critical role in response and recovery. Over the past couple of years, we have provided virtual resilience education for learners in over 150 countries. We also are working closely with regional, national and international partners to explore the replication of several of our THRIVE programs to support youth and families, educators, first responders, military families, healthcare workers and businesses.
With our roots in suicide prevention and community-driven solutions, our sights are set on a world where all are supported to thrive by pairing research with a voice of calm, hope and positivity in the face of any crisis. While individually we are unable to solve today’s pressing social problems, united we can make the world – our world – a more just and healthy place for all. We thrive together.