Commentary #45: A 700-Year-Old Haven for Mental Health


An aerial view of Geel, Belgium. Image Credit: Tripwolf

“She made broken look beautiful and strong look invincible. She walked with the universe on her shoulders and made it looks like a pair of wings.”


Thanks to Facebook Memories earlier this week, I was reminded of an exceptional town in Belgium that has adopted a completely different approach on helping those that need help with their mental health.

Here’s the link to the original story:

I shared this story on Facebook in October 2015. I remember reading with great interest at the time, but then I filed it away in my brain.

Then, at the beginning of July, Geel re-entered my life.

Remember my recent post on podcasts?

One of the seasonal ones is NPR’s Invisibilia. I kept hearing about it in promos during other NPR podcasts. I subscribed in the spring of 2016, eager to listen to season 1 and prep for season 2.

Then, on July 1st, they released the episode titled, “The Problem with the Solution.”

The episode focused on Geel, and how the hosts went to Belgium to see this idea for themselves.

I remember being rapt with attention in my car during my work commute, hanging on every word.

I couldn’t get it out my head.

Seeing the article from Upworthy made me curious about how the U.S. helps those with mental health issues. Other countries and continents, too – Not just Europe. I’m thinking about Africa, Asia, and Australia. What about China, or Japan?

Over the next few weeks, I plan to research this and do a follow-up post with my findings.

Final Thoughts:

I find Geel’s approach fascinating. It’s interesting that the boarding population has decreased to due a reduction in the number of host families, but I think that’s part of the cycle. The inference that there’s a decreased need for farmhands makes sense.

It’s hard to believe that this one town has done this giving for 700 years, but i think it’s awesome. I’m excited to do more research, to see how the U.S., Canada, and other countries work with mental health issues.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

6 thoughts on “Commentary #45: A 700-Year-Old Haven for Mental Health

  1. omgoodness thank you so much Laura Beth for this post! just incredible!! XO!!

  2. I look forward to your future posts!!

  3. Pingback: Commentary #46: How The U.S. and Others Work with Mental Health Issues (Follow-Up to “A 700-Year-Old Haven for Mental Health”) | Hot Shot Headlines

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