Fighting Mental Health Challenges Like the Romans

7 Jul 2019

The kindness of some people brings me pleasure on a daily basis. Accompanying me to many meetings is a tiny, hand-painted model of a Roman Testudo (Latin for 'Tortoise') made for me by a friend's husband.

The Testudo is a military formation made famous by the Romans. Groups of soldiers would band together in a coordinated way to form a shield wall to the front and to the sides, whilst other soldiers would hold shields over their own and the heads of their companions.

The result was like an overturned box with holes in to see through, offering a very effective defence against arrows and other missiles.

Here's the best part. For the system to work, you only had to cover a couple of buddies - often only one other. My model looks like some of the legionaries had two shields – one to cover to the front or sides and one for the top. If you looked after just two of your fellow members in the unit, everyone was covered. Whatever the maths, it was all about looking after at least one other person.

This strikes me as being one of the secrets to the success of the buddy system in Moodscope. As long as we all have a couple of buddies to cover us (and I would suggest that we are buddies to two others ourselves to return the favour), everyone is protected from outside forces. This thought made me pause and feel grateful for those buddies who have watched over me. Today would be a great day to say thank you to them again.

The biggest danger to the unit was bizarrely from an inside member who decided to poke their sword in their neighbour! With this in mind, let's make sure we're kind to one another and remember we're here to help one another. The 'enemy' is outside, not inside.

I make my shield available to protect the Moodscope members nearest to me in the formation, but we all have to band together for the magic to work.


A Moodscope member.

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