I’m guessing at least five times a week I get a call from a parent, sibling, spouse or friend who is looking for help for someone in a mental health crisis. The calls are panicked. The questions are desperate. They are looking for housing, for medical intervention, for compassion and understanding.
Some of the time I have answers handy. Most of the time I can refer them to local services. All the time I invite them to bring their loved ones to visit The Well once the crisis is over and the ongoing need for a caring environment begins.
In her prayer guide for families dealing with mental illnesses, Catherine P. Downing expresses 31 needs that are always on the minds of caregivers. Several of the concerns are ones The Well Community can address directly.
Day 8. Companionship. Ignorance and stigma are just two reasons many people don’t reach out in friendship to those dealing with mental illnesses. It is common for families to be the only source of companionship for their loved ones. Pray with the families that others will bring friendship and build community with their family member. Pray the loved ones will be willing to participate in peer support groups. Pray that churches will become places of acceptance and inclusion.
Day 14. Meaningful use of time. For those who suffer with severe mental illnesses, full-time work or frequent interaction with strangers may not be possible. How can their hours be spent in meaningful and productive ways? Families look for outlets for their loved ones, but few are available. Pray for direction and creativity to discover good options. Pray for ministries and programs that offer safe places where those with mental disorders can belong and participate in meaningful activities.
As I look at the prayer items above, I am reminded of my mother’s words: “Sometimes you get to be answer to someone else’s prayers.”
Indeed, The Well Community is often just what a family needs for their loved one. It is our honor to respond to their call.