The current pandemic has brought a lot of uncertainty about so many aspects of our lives. In times like this, when so many are facing significant challenges with their health, finances and mental well-being, it can be easy to feel like one person can’t make much of a difference, as well as difficult to know how to provide meaningful help to those who are struggling.
But, amid the numerous hardships and disappointments of COVID-19 are opportunities—ways to make a real, positive impact in the lives of those dealing with serious mental health conditions. These individuals faced a mountain of challenges before the virus hit, and now must scale an additional level of hurdles in managing their illnesses. More than ever, they need the partnership of friends who care and who understand the challenges they face, making the present a prime time to get involved.
For those in our community who are now working from home or finding themselves with extra time on their hands, the following opportunities may be more feasible today than they were six months ago. But no matter how much time you have or what your schedule looks like, there’s a way you can make a difference in this season.
Supporting those who live with serious mental illnesses begins with understanding the challenges they face and how their conditions impact their everyday lives. Spending a little time reading about these topics can provide valuable insight into practical ways to come alongside those who are struggling, as well as equip you to spot myths about mental health conditions.
The Well’s blog, which provides a steady stream of pieces on mental illnesses and how they impact individuals and communities, is a great place to start. In addition, the websites of organizations such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and Mental Health America provide a wide range of articles and tools about mental health conditions and supporting those who live with them. Or, if you have more than a few minutes, check out our list of must-read books about mental illness.
The more we as a society talk about and understand mental health, the better we’ll be able to support those dealing with significant challenges. As you learn about mental illness and the issues faced by those living with serious mental health conditions, consider how sharing this information with others could help those who are struggling. Serving as an advocate can be as simple as sharing links to mental health resources on your social media account or speaking openly about your own experiences with mental health struggles.
Stand Up for Those Who are Struggling
Especially in an election year, it’s important to be aware of how proposed programs and policies would impact those living with serious mental health challenges. Staying informed about legislation that would affect these individuals can enable you to speak up for them as well as influence the way you vote. One easy way to stay on top of bills that impact issues such as access to care is to sign up for NAMI Texas’ legislative alerts and newsletters. And, when you learn about a piece of legislation that would benefit or harm those dealing with mental illness, this organization’s website provides the information you need to contact your local representatives and speak up on behalf of those who face especially difficult challenges during the pandemic and beyond.
Sign up to Serve
While we’ve had to close our Community Life Center for the present, we’re grateful that we’re still able to provide nutritious lunches for our members Monday through Thursday. Our volunteers who prepare these meals or cover their cost are vital to our continued ability to offer filling food in a time when many of our members have even fewer options for regular nutrition. If you’d like to provide or pay for a lunch, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shop for a Cause
In addition to providing lunch for our members, we’re grateful to be able to distribute essential hygiene items with each meal. This is only possible because of the many individuals and organizations who give financially and those who donate necessities ranging from face masks to toilet paper. Check out our list of needed items, and considering picking up a few things on this list during your next shopping trip. Or, if you’d rather buy online, check out The Well’s Amazon wishlist. You can have items sent directly to us at The Well Community, 125 Sunset Ave, Dallas TX 75208.
As we continue to navigate the unknowns of this challenging season, we’re grateful for these numerous opportunities to come alongside those struggling with serious mental illnesses. And we’re thankful that your involvement makes a difference—more now than ever before!