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A recent CoinMarketcap article, for example, revealed the current state of the NFT market. “NFT volume decreased 66.5% Q-o-Q, while active traders decreased 30.4% Q-o-Q. The state of the market has fallen back to pre-July 2021 levels and will probably experience further decline."

SURVIVING WINTER

Staying Safe and Sane During the Bear Market

It was not news I wanted to hear when I woke up early Sunday morning. I cleared my eyes, walked downstairs, and sat on my recliner to begin the day by checking for messages that needed to be answered immediately. To my horror, I was bombarded by an avalanche of messages via different social media channels telling me about the tragic event. The young teenage son of a friend of mine had taken his own life.

I remember when “Adam” (I chose not to use his real name out of respect for his family), this young man so full of life and potential, was just a toddler. I met his father, who was fresh out of college and ready to take on the world. I was drawn to his humble spirit, the kindness and grace with which he treated others, and his desire not just to make money but to make a difference with his life. We quickly became good friends, and I even hired him to assist me in the work that I did and became close to his family, which grew rapidly as his young wife and he had four children in a very short time. Before I moved to China in 2016, I considered his family to be my family, as working closely together and sharing important life moments forged a bond not easily broken.

All of the children in this family were good kids, but Adam stood out because he always seemed to be smiling … happy … ready to take on the world. If you would have placed his name on a list of 1,000 youth whom I have worked with over the years as an educator and asked me to identify ten who might one day get to the point in their lives where they felt completely overwhelmed and sought to escape the internal pain they were experiencing, I would never have thought that Adam was struggling. A good kid from a good family … intelligent … loved … a bright future … everything to live for. Outwardly, it seemed that he had every reason to want to live; inwardly, he was fighting a battle about which no one knew.

Over the last year working in the Polygon ecosystem, I had been privileged to meet some of the most incredible individuals in the world. The Polygon People who have become part of my life’s journey are motivated, driven, hardworking, ethical, caring, and supportive. And this is not just true of those in the Polygon world, as I have friends in different ecosystems who have also become like family. We sometimes focus so much on the scammers, rug pullers, and bad players that we forget that there are so many good people trying to get established in Web3.

In recent weeks, I have noticed a growing angst among so many in our Web3 world. This year began with so much promise, as many projects were fresh off hitting all-time highs and the sky seemed to be the limit, as portfolios were healthy, NFT sets quickly minted out, money was flowing in, and the bull market seemed to be just getting started. The crypto winter that came in like a brutal winter blizzard, however, caught many off guard. A recent CoinMarketcap article, for example, revealed the current state of the NFT market. “NFT volume decreased 66.5% Q-o-Q, while active traders decreased 30.4% Q-o-Q. The state of the market has fallen back to pre-July 2021 levels and will probably experience further decline."

With countries experiencing record inflation and global economies struggling, it has affected the entire crypto industry. Multitudes have seen their personal portfolios dip by 75% or higher this year, projects to which founders and core teams have given their blood, sweat, and tears have not taken off, staff cuts have had to be made, and projects have been forced to make pivots in their roadmaps that have been painful.  Couple this with a war, global economic downturn, the Terra tragedy, the Celsius bankruptcy, and other setbacks in the Web3 world, and the cumulative effect of these continuous body blows has finally taken its toll, knocking some to the canvas. There are founders who are so tired that they have no energy left to stagger to their feet, and it seems they will be not make it up before the ten count ends. The scary part is that founders are so accustomed to being strong for others and putting on a happy face for the good of the project that others, even those closest to them, may be oblivious to the pain which they are feeling.

A recent article in Crypto Altruism perfectly framed the Web3 conundrum. “Let’s face it, web3 can be overwhelming. It’s the space where 1 month feels like 1 year, where each day you come across an infinite number of exciting new projects, where the markets never close. All this can make it difficult to keep up and find the time to care for yourself. The result can be stress and anxiety, which, if left unmanaged, can lead to burnout, depression, and mental health crises.”

What can we do to support others during this brutal crypto winter? How can we survive the vicious emotional attacks launched at us by this bear market? What are some warning signs that our colleagues, friends, and family are struggling and need additional attention? What can we do when we are feeling overwhelmed?

Finding Hope and Help

I am not a professional and do not claim to have the answers to all of these questions. I am encouraged, however, by a growing emphasis on mental health in Web3 and in the world in general. Slowly, the stigma that for eons has been attached to mental illness is dissipating, with hopes that one day people will feel no more reticence to discuss this type of illness than they would to talk about physical ailments. There are now many prominent people in the Web3 community who are hosting regular mental health related Twitter Spaces and are providing resources for their communities.

There are even projects that were launched as a result of personal struggles with mental health and a desire to provide resources to those facing these challenges. Tyler (@McGoldT) founded Lost Hope Society (@losthopesociety) largely in response to his personal mental health battles with BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) and a desire to help others who may have lost hope. He speaks openly about his illness and actively promotes mental health awareness. “The Lost Hope Society was started to give people a place to have their own identity and a safe space to enjoy all things Web3.”

The Discord community Tyler has created is a cathartic environment filled with encouragement and love. People may enter his community feeling like all hope is lost but will find there a balm for their troubled souls. He is also always willing to connect on a personal level and speak with others to offer support. Lost Hope Society also has a health andwellness channel on their Discord that offersdaily tips to help with not just mental but physical health. The project also connects with other projects that have a wider range of mental health tools, such as the Boys Club NFTs (@Boys_clubNFT) and Meta Mystic Superheroes (@metamystic_nft), who both hold mental health spaces on Twitter.

Sammy and EQ, co-founders of Meta Mystic Superheroes, also prioritize mental health, encouraging others on a personal level and offering resources to help individuals on their mental health journeys. “Mental health is about checking in with your mind, body, and soul to see where your health levels are at,” commented Sammy. “Developing self-awareness is one of the best resources one can always rely on when working on your mental health. Our bodies literally tell us when we are stressed or happy by signaling your body to do certain things. Everyone’s mental health journey is unique, and every day is a different battle we face. The Meta Mystic Superheroes community provides a safe space to express your thoughts and emotions. We have mental health professionals in our community ready and willing to help whenever they can. We share insight daily on mental health and post motivational quotes for anyone who’s looking for some positivity. Our Wellness Wednesday spaces are hosted by a certified mental health board professional (Graciela Moore [email protected]), where we open the floor for guests to come share their experiences, gain feedback, and share coping strategies, followed by a guided meditation.”

Dave Swinbank (@Davc_s) has rapidly become one of the key voices in the Polygon ecosystem, co-founding the Polygon Alliance, hosting daily Twitter Spaces, starting a personal blog (to which all should consider subscribing), and somehow finding time for an NFT project (@Crypto__Goonz). He is an advocate for mental health and does his part to support others on their mental health journey. He works closely with Vanessa Camacaro (@Vans_Cmkro), a member of the Polygon Alliance community and founder of an art wellness center, to combat mental illness.

A new entry into the Web3 space, SOS Kids (@soskids22), exists to support child survivors of parental suicide, as statistics indicate that this demographic is far more likely to attempt suicide themselves and suffer from mental illness. Founded by Amanda Hinnen after her son lost his father to suicide, this is another shining example of a Web3 project making a difference in the mental health arena.

Online Therapy

Johannes Thrul addressed the potential of Web3 to help stem the tide of the mental illness epidemic. “The global COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the need for accessible, flexible, scalable, and sustainable mental health treatment options. Web3 offers community building and empowerment, counteracting loneliness and societal dissolution.”

Below is a list offered by Crypto Altruism of some Web3 projects that have a mental health focus.

1. The Clinic– The Clinic is a 10k NFT collection with a mental health and wellness component. NFT holders have access to a variety of supports including a mental wellness hub with over 100 Discord channels on topics including anxiety, depression, and fertility, guided meditation sessions, peer-to-peer therapy groups, and more.

2. Mental Health Collective – The Mental Health Collective aims to be the first web3 mental health non-profit that creates a “home for mental health professionals, advocates, project founders, artists, and degens”. They offer daily peer-to-peer mental health support spaces, a publication covering mental health in web3, and a podcast focused on web3 and mental health.

3. Cool Cookies NFT – Cool Cookies is a collection of 8,888 randomly generated NFTs with a goal of raising awareness for mental health and suicide prevention, and to help raise funds for mental health causes. This included a recent donation of $10,000 to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

4. Monsterz DAO – Monsterz DAO is a web3 community committed to raising awareness about mental illness and raising funds for charities working in the mental health field. To date, this has included 1/1 NFT auctions in support of To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA) and Mental Health America. They also aim to create a safe space for holders to openly discuss mental health and to share their stories.

5. LogOut Centre for Digital Wellbeing – LogOut is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping create balance and wellness in digital spaces, and to support those with digital addictions. This includes working to create mental health friendly web3 community spaces, by offering resources on responsible cryptocurrency trading, programming for digital addictions and detox, and more.

6. Loner Girl NFT – Loner Girl NFT is a women-led project consisting of 10,000 NFTs supporting mental health, Autism, and the arts. 20% of mint profits were donated to Easterseals Hawaii, and 10% of royalty earnings will be donated to charitable causes on a quarterly basis. With a mint price of 0.001 ETH, Loner Girl was an accessible entry point to the world of web3 for many.

7. PsyDAO – PsyDAO is forming a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) focused on funding research into psychedelics and mental health. According to their Manifesto, “PsyDAO will revolutionize R&D and ownership of psychedelics IP using the permissionless, trustless, decentralized, and censorship-resistant web, web3”. PsyDAO is exploring novel ideas for IP ownership including IP tokenization, and IPNFTs.

8. TheraPets – TheraPets is an NFT brand “created by an aligned team who are passionate about bringing mental health awareness and support into the NFT community and beyond.” They aim to build a community of holders committed to mental health and wellbeing by offering various perks including mental health spaces, IRL community events, and by donating a portion of proceeds to mental health causes.

9. LostBoy NFT – LostBoy NFT is a musical NFT collection that looks to“normalize our mental health struggles through helping those that are unable to help themselves.” They offer a community of support to holders including regular uplifting messages, and are looking to build augmented reality partnerships to help community members reconnect with the physical world.

10. Magic Mind NFT – Magic Mind is a collection of 10,000 NFTs celebrating mental health and self care. 15% of all Magic Mind sales go into a Mental Health Fund which will be donated to charities and used to fund mental health resources and supports for holders.

Written By

The Matic Man

Oct 27, 2022