In our increasingly connected world, isolation and loneliness are becoming more and more common. But, they’re especially prevalent struggles for those living with mental illness, and they can have particularly devastating consequences: Both mental health challenges and lack of connection to others increase a person’s risk of suicide.
A Cycle of Isolation
Loneliness and mental illness often contribute to one another, creating a cycle that makes it even more difficult to pursue mental health stability and find a support system. Those dealing with mental health challenges often face negative attitudes and discrimination, driven by stigma, and as a result struggle to form close friendships and be part of a community. In turn, not having a network of people who care leaves them without a vital component of mental health stability.
Without these connections, those considering suicide may not have individuals in their lives who notice the warning signs. Many of the red flags that can indicate a person may be experiencing suicidal thoughts, such as increased alcohol and drug use, aggressive behavior, dramatic mood swings, and impulsive or reckless behavior, are typically noticed only by others who are close to them.
In addition to magnifying the struggles of mental illness, loneliness can contribute to other risk factors for suicide such as substance abuse. The makes the weight of isolation even greater—and the power of the community that fights it even stronger.
The Power of Connection
Community is vital to breaking the cycle of isolation that feeds loneliness and prevents the pursuit of mental health stability. It’s within community that those living with mental health challenges can be known as people rather than defined by their illnesses. It’s there that stigma dissolves.
At The Well Community, those dealing with serious mental illnesses find the support and acceptance that’s so critical to their well-being. Outside The Well, they often have difficulty forming relationships, but inside they’re able to build lasting friendships with others who understand their struggles. Rather than being viewed with fear, they’re met with understanding and support. They’re able to enjoy meals together and can worship with one another without concerns of being judged by others. And, when they face difficulties or are feeling discouraged, they’re surrounded by people who care about them.
All of these benefits of community provide hope to those who live with the daily challenges of mental illness. This hope plays a key role in preventing suicide among some of those facing the greatest risk.
Your gift to The Well Community could be truly life-giving to those in the Dallas area who deal with serious mental health challenges. Through your generosity, they can continue to find a place to belong and receive support that fosters hope.
Suicide Awareness Day: September 25
In 2018, more than 600 lives were lost to suicide in the Greater Dallas area. On September 25, 2019 at 11 a.m., the Greater Dallas Suicide Prevention Coalition will remember these individuals at the Old Red Museum of Dallas County History & Culture, representing each with a pair of shoes. The Well Community is honored to once again be the recipient of the shoes that are donated to this annual event, which raises awareness of the importance of suicide prevention in North Texas. These shoes will be given to Well Community members and others in need. Learn more.