How Would Chicken Little Respond to COVID's Impact on Mental Health AND Suicide? Courageously, laying hope for our most vulnerable. We're responding too.Read Now
“You’re going to have suicides by the thousands. ... People get tremendous anxiety and depression, and you have suicides over things like this when you have terrible economies.” — President Trump
Yes, perhaps as President Trump cavalierly warns us — breaking all common-sense rules about publicly talking about suicide — the sky is falling. But this is not the time to scramble. We must rise to the occasion, recognizing the psychosocial fallout from COVID-19 is massive and will reverberate for years to come.
Let us remember the moral of the traditional Chicken Little story is to have courage even when it feels like the sky is falling. Let’s come together and lay a four letter word for our most vulnerable populations now at an even higher risk of suicide: HOPE.
Otherwise, COVID-19 is going to take an enormous toll on the mental health of Americans. And, cause an unprecedented increase in suicide rates resulting in the preventable loss in life far outweighing the heartbreak caused by the virus itself.
While the nation’s attention is largely focusing on the active physical treatment of patients, suicide populations are at higher risk than ever before. Despite this, they are being overlooked. This must change. And, change immediately.
Our President’s comments do not leave you with a lot of faith in the federal government’s likelihood of responding compassionately nor do his off-handed remarks suggest he is going to direct federal agencies to take any actions to prevent this outcome.
We can’t just sit back and acknowledge — as our Commander in Chief has already gotten that out of the way for us — that yes, we are going to have a problem on our hands of potentially epic proportions.
Nope, not good enough. Not when lives are at stake.
Whenever and where ever people turn — regardless of how much they have in their wallets — they simply must have access to mental health care. Please keep in mind that of those who die by suicide, 90% have an undiagnosed mental illness at the time of their death, most saw a health care
professional in the year prior, with up to 45% of individuals visiting their primary care physician within a month of their death.
We must call suicide what it is, a public health epidemic. And, we must fight it as such, with epidemic measures.
We must marshal as many resources as possible and mobilize an all out war on as many fronts as possible to make mental health care on parity with physical health care.
Let me paint a picture for you of what will happen if we don’t courageously respond and give people hope.
What do we Know About Impact of COVID on Mental Health, Suicide and Suicide Attempts?
Attract More Funding By Accelerating Your Nonprofit’s Mission: A Roap map to cost-effectively leverage Scrum and thrive with Agile mindsetRead Now
My friends, I would like nothing more than for your nonprofit organization to not only succeed but to thrive. Indeed, in today’s political climate, it is absolutely imperative.
There is an ideal world and then there is reality. Most of us live in the latter. I know I do.
Nonprofits need funding to stay afloat. The unfortunate reality is that 90% of nonprofits are small, competing for funds against the larger more “corporate” 10% who are taking humongous bites out of a shrinking pie.
However, smaller nonprofits can leverage Scrum to level the playing field. I believe it will become a pivotal business practice, turning the tide and making THE difference in a more balanced dividing of the pie.
Nonprofits need to be run like a business. What is now distinguishing for-profit thriving companies from those withering away is an Agile mindset. And, within this, the most popular framework used to address today’s complex, adaptive problems is the lightweight Scrum framework.
This is the second in a two-part series. In the first part, I shared from my perspective as the former CEO and Founder of Hope Xchange Nonprofit. I presented a sadly-missed opportunity to save lives and improve mental health outcomes for a most vulnerable population, LGBTQIA youth who are at the highest risk for suicide. Hope Xchange could have given them a reason to stay. We did not. But, I’m convinced the outcome would have been different if we had used Scrum rather than traditional waterfall project management. For more on why I fervently believe this, I invite you to read Part One: Saving Lives By Using Scrum: How to Maximize Social Impact and Minimize Fundraising Stress.
In this second part, I’m sharing from my perspective as now a Certified Scrum Master with over 25 years of startup and entrepreneurial for-profit experience. By adopting an Agile mindset and demonstrating Scrum’s value with an in-house pilot, you will standout to potential funders. And, in this dog-eat-dog world, you absolutely must show them that you can not only accelerate delivering on your mission but you know how to run your nonprofit like a thriving for-profit business.
To maximize the impact of limited resources and stay flexible and innovative with both program and fundraising initiatives, follow these three rules to succeed:
Any business or social enterprise interested in Agile/Scrum can also follow this same guide, particularly those seeking angel or venture capital investments.
Before we dig deeper, if you need more convincing on how Agile/Scrum is making a dramatic difference in both for- and not-for-profit sectors, Part 1 presents more data on this topic. Or, simply ask yourself the question that Jeff Sutherland (co-creator of Scrum) posed in his seminal book, SCRUM: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time:
whenever you start a project, why not regularly check in, see if what you’re doing is heading in the right direction, and if it’s actually something people want. And, question whether there are ways to improve how you’re doing what you’re doing, any ways of doing it better and faster and what might keep you from doing that?
Let’s Get Down to Running Your Agile Nonprofit and Launch a Scrum Pilot Project
Historians may look back on human progress and draw a sharp line designating “before Scrum” and “after Scrum.”
This is the first in a two-part series from my perspective as the former CEO and Founder of Hope Xchange Nonprofit, before I was aware of Agile and Scrum, and shares with you a sadly missed opportunity to save lives and improve mental health outcomes for a most vulnerable population, LGBTQIA youth who are at the highest risk for suicide.
The second, forthcoming article is from my perspective of a now Certified Scrum Master (CSM), and shares my vision of how nonprofit organizations (NPOs) can implement Agile/Scrum using a bottoms-up, programatic approach to demonstrate its business value (i.e., to sell it in-house and to the Board) and to truly make a dramatic difference.
A Retrospective lesson for nonprofit teams
I share this lesson as I would love nothing more than for this urgently-needed HOPE for LGBTQIA program to see the light of day. For me, there is simply nothing more important than saving lives. Nothing.
I also do so because I firmly believe that this program would already exist if we had used an Agile/Scrum rather than traditional waterfall project management approach. Not only could we have gotten the program launched (deployed in iterative increments), but also delivered a more client-centered implementation in half the time and with half the fundraising effort.
Before I dive into the why and how, for those who may be new to Agile and Scrum, let me first provide a very brief primer with a nonprofit spin for context, as well as some additional reading recommendations for those who would like to dig deeper.
Why Adopt an Agile Mindset and Scrum Framework?
Easily the most insightful and practical business book I have read this year is SCRUM: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time by Jeff Sutherland, co-creator of Scrum, and J.J. Sutherland. (Disclaimer: If you’re like me and like to get shit done but also have a balanced life, this is not a book you skim, but one you study. You grab a highlighter or two and, if you’re like me, you not only highlight the golden nuggets littered throughout but put exclamation points and smiley faces in the margins!)
I was intrigued by Sutherland’s proclamation that Scrum doesn’t have to be confined to for-profit businesses. It is universally applicable as it both accelerates human effort and innovates social good. This is not a heady theoretical discussion as he has seen first-hand how this lightweight framework has been used to improve some of the thorniest problems: improving our failing education system, lifting people out of poverty, revolutionizing the way government is run, delivering vaccines to endangered children and eliminating hunger.
What if there was a faster way to solve humanity’s problems that nonprofits are courageously combatting with teams often fueled primarily by compassion? Can nonprofits be more agile and more quickly adapt to today’s environment of constant change? Can we utilize Scrum to solve society’s increasingly complex problems faster, innovating social good with less fundraising effort?
The Answer is Yes.