Through the efforts of many advocates, thankfully there is a growing awareness of mental illnesses and the struggles of those who live with them. But, on its own, just knowledge of the hurdles faced by individuals living with mental health conditions doesn’t necessarily provide help.
I talked with our members about what others could do to provide support and encouragement. It turns out, there are many ways to assist that aren’t really complicated or take a lot of effort. I’ve made a little list of some simple ways to move beyond mere awareness and into action.
Many living with serious mental illnesses rarely experience a friendly greeting. Isolation and loneliness are frequent companions. A smile and a pleasant “hello” or “good morning” can go a long way in helping those wrestling with their mental health feel respected and accepted. Well Community members share that it’s often the little things that make a big difference.
Mental illnesses can often make everyday aspects of life such as finding transportation or eating regular meals more complicated and difficult. Offering practical assistance, such as a sharing a healthy lunch or providing a ride to the grocery store or the doctor’s office, can help those who are struggling with mental health issues better manage their conditions and pursue recovery.
Despite increasing awareness of mental health, misconceptions still abound. Knowing the facts and speaking up when someone cites a myth about mental illnesses can help to slowly dispel the stigma that often surrounds them.
Be an informed voter.
Each election day is an opportunity to improve the lives of individuals suffering from mental illnesses. Being informed about candidates’ stances on issues that impact access to mental health care, housing and behavioral health services and then voting accordingly is a way to have an impact that reaches an entire community, state or even the nation.
Lend a hand.
Organizations that support those dealing with serious mental illnesses often depend on the efforts of volunteers, and by lending them a hand you help those they serve. For example, in 2017, 277 volunteers gave 2,880 hours to serve at The Well Community—an investment of time worth over $70,000 that enables The Well to offer a place of belonging and support for those who are struggling. Spending a few hours preparing and serving a meal or an evening helping with Thursday Night Life, The Well’s weekly worship service, is an excellent way to make a difference.
The Well Community also relies on the generosity of its donors. Currently The Well Auxiliary is raising funds to purchase Christmas Gift Cards for each member of The Well Community to hand out at our annual Christmas dinner. For many, this is the only Christmas gift they receive. Your generous donation will help us meet our $5,000 goal. What a great next step to move beyond awareness!