Problem Solving Must-Reads: Filling Empty Storefronts, Shark Tank Style

Plus: NYC's new mental health counseling service and VR as a painkiller

Problem Solving Must-Reads: Filling Empty Storefronts, Shark Tank Style

Plus: NYC's new mental health counseling service and VR as a painkiller

Here at The Citizen, we do problem-solving journalism, looking for ideas and solutions to move the region forward and make a better city. Here are some other great ideas for solving the world’s problems, from media outlets around the globe:

Shark Tank style business contest sparks downtown growth, and promises free rent

In an economic development strategy in small-town Monmouth, Illinois, local leaders created a competition to empower the best entrepreneurs in town. A competition was born: Winners of a contest for best proposal would get six months of free rent, $2,000 to build a storefront and free advertisement in the local newspaper and radio station. In a play on the TV show Shark Tank, the entrepreneurs pitched their small business not to big-league investors, but rather their neighbors in a planning committee. The three winners of the proposal are now off their feet and bringing other economic opportunities to the area. (via Journal Standard)

Free Mental Health Care, on Demand

Photo: City Lab

One in five people in New York City struggle with mental illness every year. As a part of New York City’s $850 million mental health plan, a program called NYC Well has been made available to those struggling with these illnesses. NYC Well has free counseling services available 24/7 by phone, text or online chats and are reachable in over 200 languages. Conversations with these trained counselors are confidential. New York has put its citizens mental health as a priority and by making these counseling services free and easily accessible, many New Yorkers now have access to services that they never had before.  (via City Lab)

Soon Your Doctor Might Prescribe Virtual Reality Instead Of Painkillers

Photo: Fast CoExist

It’s easy to reach for the bottle of Advil when you have a headache; but a Swedish pharmacy has a different, more inventive way of treatment. Apotek Hjärtat created a free virtual reality app for pain relief, titled Happy Place. Virtual reality has been proven to help the brain stop focusing on physical pain, and in some cases has been proven to decrease the amount of time patients thought about physical pain from 76 percent to 22 percent. Happy Place allows a user to sit near a cartoonish mountainside in the day or nighttime. With the increasing availability of VR devices on the market, this new form of pain relief will be increasingly accessible. (via Fast CoExist)

Photo header: Journal Standard

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