During the coronavirus outbreak in early 2020, my own community near Boston, like a great many others, strongly encouraged residents to stay inside their homes. Not surprisingly, community members wanted to find ways to have visible contact with others, even if they couldn’t meet directly with them in person.
in town proposed an idea they called “6 Feet at 6PM.” Neighbors on a street were
encouraged to come outside their homes at 6:00 every evening, to wave, greet each other, and talk while maintaining a
distance of six feet or more. This would be a safe and healthy way to maintain
social contact under new and challenging circumstances.
local reports, many streets in town adopted this idea, some of them quite enthusiastically.
Residents clearly seemed to have a strong desire for personal social contact.
While it’s too early at this writing to know whether it will persist, the “6 Feet at 6PM” initiative is a good example of a creative response to a crisis situation. It satisfies a basic human need, it’s easy to do, it costs nothing, and it’s very adaptable to other community settings, perhaps including the reader’s own.
One resident bought some chalk for his children to use and started writing messages when it was a birthday or an anniversary; these messages of congratulations and solidarity can be seen from our second story windows.
Children from the area started adding portraits so that it looks like they are all holding hands, something that they cannot not do during lockdown. The idea was first started by children but soon it became a focus of the street, with every resident (including pets) being included in this collective portrait.
The street art was a welcome distraction during these unsettling times, which resulted in increased well-being and community identity on our street.
Creative means of connecting people can emerge when we are separated. Initiatives for children can have spill over effects to grown ups!
Shared by Suzanne Wilson, from the United Kingdom.
Leverett is a small rural town in Western Mass of 1700 people. Our local community building group, the Leverett Alliance, listening to community voices decided to launch a town wide list.serve. Until then the town had no way to connect, exchange info, etc.
In September we started to publicize by posting flyers, sitting at the dump and the Post Office. Within a few months we had 250 members. We then sent a postcard to every household showing how easy it was to sign up for free, and the number climbed. People used the list serve to ask for help offer help, etc.
Then corona virus hit the country and since then the number of folks engaged has grown (now over 425) and the exchanges are very moving. Making masks for each other, shopping for each other, going to the dump for each other, food delivery options, finding out when to shop at the stores, etc.
It has created a true sense of community and has addressed very concrete needs. Some have even started an “coyote howl” across the pond in the center of town to mimic some of the activity in Italy and elsewhere.
As one user observed: “Hi, everyone,I just picked up an absolutely delightful rainbow-striped mask from the Post Office Thank you, seamstresses and seamsters!Thanks, too, to the enlightened techies who set up Leverett Connects. Who could have known that it would become so crucial to so many of us?It is wonderful to live in this town.” (Annie Jones)
We have heard that list serves like this are working in
urban neighborhoods as well.
Story shared by Tom Wolff, from Massachusetts, USA.
PAEHL (Southern Bavaria, Germany) is a small community (2000 inhabitants) in a picturesque location south of Munich and close to the Alps.
Although it is well known for a rich community life (traditional music bands, soccer, clubs maintaining local traditions), the corona-lock-down came as a surprise. However, in a very short time after, the community came together to support the vulnerable groups.
The young people of the village formed a voluntary corona task force within two days after lock-down. The local mayor immediately started phone-calls to 200 (!) local inhabitants aged over 70, asking if they needed support on food supply or health services. Seniors have also been asked if they would like to receive regular phone-calls if they lived alone.
The local voluntary corona task force provided food supply and shopping services from day three after lock-down. Municipal administration is coordinating orders. The small local public library offered book deliveries on demand. Local administration sent out direct mailers to all households with information emergency phone numbers, health services during shut-down, where to buy local food or where to order hot meals delivered to households.
Based on a rich community life people are amazingly fast and creative to form community support systems. Collaboration of all sectors of everyday life (young and old, local shops and market gardens, libraries, community administration…) is key.
This story was shared by Wolfgang Stark, from Germany.
During the Covid-19 crisis, many individuals and communities have been resonating about new forms of sense of community, mutual support and neighbourhood, and also acting in a surprisingly creative manner, collaborating and re-inventing community life.
We would like to know what is going on and we want to capture community lessons for our society from these experiences.
Perhaps your own community has experienced a surprising situation or developed a distinctive response to the coronavirus outbreak. We encourage you to share your experience by answering our survey, accessible via the button below.
We aim to post these experiences in multiple sites (e.g., ECPA, SCRA, CTB, etc). We will also share the stories in a Facebook Group and later at the new webportal of the New Bank of Community Ideas and Solutions.
We hope this site may help to demonstrate the importance of community building in a time of crisis, and illustrate the many ways that community psychology and community action can make a contribution.
Remembering our shared moments and experiences will help to create a better world!
Wolfgang Stark (Germany); Bill Berkowitz, Tom Wolff and Bradley Olson (USA); Cinzia Albanesi and Caterina Arcidiacono (Italy); Maria Fernandes-Jesus and Maria Vargas-Moniz (Portugal).
ECPA CALL TO ACTION #5 Join the CPs “Fridays for coping with the Coronavirus pandemic”
We invite you to join our weekly CPs meetings. 31 participants across the world joined the conference call launched by Wolfgang Stark. See a short summary here. So it was decided that this could become a regular date for CPs. Each Fridays at 5pm (CET) Wolfgang Stark will host the meeting, regularly updates of the meeting will be published here, community psychologists across Europe and the rest of the world are invited to join.
Zoom-meeting will take place regularly on Friday at 5 pm CET. To attend please click here.
ECPA CALL TO ACTION #4 Create a useful resource platform here
ECPA CALL TO ACTION #3 Share your stories of fear and hope on the ECPA Facebook page
We also invite you to share your stories of fears and hopes we are experiencing in our countries at ECPA’s Facebook page.
ECPA CALL TO ACTION #2 Join the conference call launched by Wolfgang Stark ECPA-EFPA liaison member
Dear community psychology colleagues and friends,
In one of the most disruptive times of our lifetime and in our societies there is no doubt that our ‘sense of community‘ and our ability for mutual support may become a crucial factor how we will cope with a situation we never experienced before. This will be especially true for the weakest groups in our societies (see “Combating a Mental Health Pandemic“and attachments).
This may be the time when community psychology will be able to prove if our competencies and tools will be useful for real problems both locally and in a global scale. At the same time we are called for creative and immediate action to strengthen our communities towards a challenge we never experienced before. I wonder if you have similar thoughts and ideas.
If so, I would like to invite you to share your ideas, concerns, action, and experiences on what community psychology and community psychologists could contribute to strengthen the ‘sense of community’ facing isolation and social distance as a consequence of the corona pandemic.
If this makes sense to you, please join me for a community psychology Zoom call on Friday, March 20, 5 pm (CET). let us share ideas on how we can be supportive as community psychologists both on a local and global level. If you want to participate, please use the following link.
ECPA CALL TO ACTION #1
We invite Community Psychologists to use their professional networks and competencies to support communities’ adoption of safety behaviours, to share useful (verified) information, and to help people, in particular those who are more fragile (i.e. homeless people, digital immigrants), to cope with the quarantine related measures and the psychological impact of the emergency. If you have materials, documents that you think may be useful to be shared please send them to email@example.com we will be happy to publish them on our website.
EFPA has shared some guidelines and possible actions for psychologists to deal with the COVID-19 emergency in its member associations in its homepage.
ECPA as an associate partner of EFPA recommends Community Psychologists in Europe to follow the guidelines on personal protection, environmental countermeasures, social distancing countermeasures and travel-related countermeasures provided by ECDC. The website provides daily updates on the situation.
On EFPA page there are also links to other useful resources related to the following topics:
Provision of first-line psychological support
Provision of online consultation
The psychological impact of quarantine – How to cope with quarantine/isolation
How do our member associations deal with the crisis?
The global aim of HOME_EU is to provide a comprehensive understanding on how the Europeans stakeholders perceive, tolerate and confront the inequality.
We aim to understand how persistent Homelessness disrupts individuals, basic liberties and equality aspirations, and to find the best solution to tackle this phenomenon.
The Capabilities Approach provides a framework that will be used to generate data and practical guidelines to promote social justice with a focus on service effectiveness and policy guidance for innovation.
The project will examine how the experiences of homeless services users (both current and past; both Housing First and other services) are shaped by the homelessness-related values, beliefs, priorities, and practices service providers that support them, by national public policies that direct services, and by the citizens who shape public policy.
To achieve this aim, HOME_EU will compile data from diversified sources: citizens, service users and providers and policy actors to understand how this phenomenon is accepted or not across partner member states, and to highlight effective solutions.
Maria Vargas-Moniz and José Ornelas of ISPA – Instituto Universitário, are involved in the HOME_EU project.
Bernd Roehrle Jacqui Akhurst Nicholas Carr Isabel M. Herrera Sánchez Caterina Arcidiacono Rebecca Lawthom Wolfgang Stark EFPA Standing Committee on Community Psychology
This report from the Standing Committee on Community Psychology of the European Federation of Psychological Association provides an overview of higher education in Community Psychology (CP) in 14 European countries. Our findings show that 10 countries have some kind of CP teaching in their educational system. Twenty European universities offer a CP‐oriented Master degree, two universities at the Bachelor level and 16 universities also have CP‐oriented Ph.D. programmes. The profiles of the universities focus on two areas: Community psychology in a pure form and a combination of social psychology and community psychology. The other universities vary between clinical, organisational psychology, and a pedagogical focus. Within a certain European emphasis, these universities are analysing and changing the social conditions of community life and mental health. The responding universities failed to report adequately on comprehensive core competences and key elements in CP. To compensate for this deficit, the Standing Committee on Community Psychology proposes to develop a primer of basic CP competences for inclusion in programmes like EuroPsy.
Community Psychology in Global Perspectivepublishes work that is of relevance to community psychologists as well as scholars and professionals from a diverse array of other backgrounds with shared interested in community-focused work.
Community Psychology in Global Perspective is a peer-reviewed journal devoted to research, theory and intervention, and review articles exploring human interactions in community settings across the globe. Its special focus is on making explicit the ways in which culture acts as a framework organizing and guiding our experiences, utilizing ecological perspectives to enhance our understanding and promotion of individual and community well-being, and advancing work aimed at the creation of positive social change and social justice.
The journal is international in scope, reflecting the main concerns of social scientists and community practitioners worldwide. Community Psychology in Global Perspective welcomes contributions from a variety of theoretical approaches across disciplines (psychology, sociology, political sciences, urban planning, social work and others), although it especially encourages submissions of field-based, culturally situated research and intervention.
The content of the journal includes:
Research articles that report empirical qualitative, quantitative and mixed-methods studies relevant to community psychology theory, method, and practice. The focus on qualitative research within a psychological frame will be a specific innovative contribution to the social science research.
Review articles that survey theoretical developments or topics of major interest.
Practice issues that present brief reports by practitioners or action researchers, which describe interesting developments and interventions or which address matters of professional and public relevance.
Contributions are invited on all aspects of Community Psychology, including, but not limited to: Community research methods · Participatory action research · Prevention & Wellbeing · Community program evaluation · Community development · Power & Empowerment · Active citizenship & Collective action · Minorities & Social inclusion · Gender · Migration & Intercultural relations · Social justice · Critical community psychology · Ecological clinical intervention
Community Psychology is an open access journal, free of charge to authors, and published online twice per year.
Indexing & Abstracting
Community Psychology in Global Perspective is covered by following indexing and abstracting databases:
SCOPUS; PsycINFO; PsycArticles-ProQuest Psychology Journals collection-DOAJ: Directory of OPEN ACCESS Journal; GOOGLE Scholar; ULRICH’S: International Database