Transformative Mutual Aid Practices Part 2

This is a continuation of yesterday’s blog post, Transformative Mutual Aid Practices. I’m truly blessed to have almost three years of experience in my Mutual Aid community. It’s because of the support I’ve received from this community that I can relate to these ideas of transformative mutual aid.

[A note to people of faith. From what I’ve seen about T-MAPS so far, I don’t think faith is talked about specifically. Rather, you can include that in the parts of T-MAPS related to what gives you support. And I think T-MAPS can be helpful for faith groups, such as Quaker meetings, as another way of communal care.]

Capitalist society teaches us not to care for each other. Approaching the creation of a nurturing culture as the fundamental revolutionary praxis of your group and as a dialectical process that is ongoing will transform your org in uncommon ways, draw a diversity of individuals to join your group, and ultimately empower it to transform the world you live in and the world around you.

A Call for Prefigurative Mental Health Support and Communal Care Within Radical Groups and Organizations
Ronnie James, Des Moines Mutual Aid

A Call for Prefigurative Mental Health Support and Communal Care Within Radical Groups and Organizations is an excellent resource about prefigurative mental health support and communal care. And background for the following discussion about Transformative Mutual Aid Practices (T-MAPS).


Transformative Mutual Aid Practices (T-MAPs) are a set of tools that provide space for building a personal “map” of wellness strategies, resilience practices, unique stories, and community resources. Creating a T-MAP will inspire you to connect your struggle to collective struggles. When we make and share our T-MAPs with others they become potent tools for healing and liberation.

The acronym T-MAPs stands for Transformative Mutual Aid Practices

We understand that we’re always in a process of transformation and growth; we’re not just in a process of ‘recovery’ or going back to some state of health (that we may have never known). As our lives change, it’s helpful to leave tracks for ourselves about where we’ve been and where we want to be going. T-MAPs help facilitate this process.

Mutual Aid
We also understand that just working on our own “self-care” isn’t enough; we also need mutu aid. Most simply, mutual aid is when people help each other. Historically, mutual aid has been a way that people have self-organized to create interdependent networks of support. People might help each other with things as basic as growing food and building barns or as abstract as education and mental health support.

When we think about how personal and community change happens, it’s pretty clear to us that the only way to grow and evolve is to intentionally practice what we want to see happen in our lives. Practice might be as simple as not getting on our smart phone as soon as we wake up in the morning, or as intentional and deliberate as a daily sitting meditation practice. Practice that happens ith groups of people has the potential to change the world.

T-MAPS. Transformative Mutual Aid Practices

Your T-MAP is a guide for navigating challenging times, figuring out what you care about, and communicating with the important people in your life. We’ve developed different ways to create this document; these tools can help you generate your T-MAP through an online questionnaire or through a downloadable pdf workbook that you can print and fill out. You can complete a personalized booklet (or “T-MAP”) by yourself or with a group.

The mental health of all members (of your group) should be supported in an ongoing way. Go around the circle so that comrades can indicate to the group if:

▪ they would like others to reach out to them for a period of time or in an ongoing way, and how
▪ they would be willing to reach out to others who ask for that support
▪ they are currently unable to provide support to others
▪ they would like people to hang out with when they are not feeling well
▪ they are available to hang out with others to decrease their isolation during difficult times
▪ etc

A Call for Prefigurative Mental Health Support and Communal Care Within Radical Groups and Organizations

Now I’m off to Des Moines for our Mutual Aid’s weekly food giveaway project.


Creative Commons License

 T-MAPs is licensed by Jacks McNamara and Sascha DuBrul under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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