It was early on a Sunday morning and I was just debating whether I had the energy to make it to church after a late-night event when a text came through that jolted me fully awake. It was from one of the men at Jacob’s House, The Well’s City of Dallas licensed boarding home. Stuart* was letting me know he had plans to end his own life.
I immediately tried to call him back, but there was no answer. I called an emergency service, but they were not able to reach him either. Recognizing the urgency of the situation, I quickly headed over to Jacob’s House. Thankfully, after a being awake all night, Stuart had fallen asleep. I left a note for him to call me when he woke up. Then I went to church.
We talked in the late afternoon and he shared his heartache. The night before he had gone to pick up leftover foods that a local gala had offered to give Jacob’s House. “I saw all the people all dressed up,” Stuart said, “and I realized not only was I never included in special things like this, but even if I was, I would never be able to afford to dress like them.” The gaping chasm between Stuart and the party people was swallowing him alive.
As we continued to talk, I asked him to promise me that he would not do anything to harm himself. He agreed. I asked him to call me back later, but when he didn’t, I called him. We talked again. “I feel like am not even wanted as a human being,” he declared.
In the end, with additional sleep, adjustments in his medication, the support of the other men at Jacob’s House and periodic contact with me, Stuart was able to come through this terrible time. Thankfully.
The experience reminded me again about how important it is to belong—to be a part of a community where you are wanted, just as you are. We all need a place where we fit in and find welcoming acceptance. Maybe that’s one of the reasons I did go to church that Sunday morning—to be in my place of belonging.
And that is why so many adults with mental health challenges, like Stuart, come to The Well. It is a place to belong. It is where, in the lowest moments, there are people who care, accept and support.
September is Suicide Awareness Month. I hope you have been able to take some time to learn more about ways to support loved ones when they have hit a low moment. Be sure to check out our recent blog: A Watchful Eye: Paying Attention For Suicide Prevention.