The Well Community: A place to belong
We envision a world free of stigma where recovery is possible for those living with mental illness.
The Well Community provides hope and healing to adults recovering from mental illness through healthy relationships, essential services and meaningful work.
The Well Community serves alongside those who struggle with mental illness, offering hope and healing through the power of faith, friendship and best-practice interventions. What started as a simple, church outreach to a handful of individuals has grown into a flourishing, holistic ministry among adults recovering from serious mental illness. The Well’s philosophy of care, relational interventions and holistic rehabilitation combine to make a significant impact upon those we serve.
Despite The Well’s growth, we continue to function as a worshiping community. Our very name comes from the Gospel of John (chapter 4), in which Jesus encounters the Samaritan woman at The well of Jacob. Like Christ, The Well Community seeks to offer those who are thirsty a cup of the “living water.” In doing so, we follow Christ’s example and reject the stigma surrounding those God has called us to serve, breaking through the cultural and religious barriers in order to meet people where they are. Jesus accepted the Samaritan woman despite her cultural and religious identity. Moreover, he offered her friendship and the right to belong to the family of God. It is through this philosophy of acceptance and inclusion that we offer relationship and community to those who suffer from chronic and persistent mental illness. (Learn more.)
For most, relationships are taken for granted. Yet with the addition of a mental illness, developing and maintaining relationships can be extremely difficult. The symptoms of mental illness—e.g., paranoia, nervousness, depression, etc.—work against healthy relationships and sadly, are often the cause of their destruction. Therefore, friendship has been a foundational value at The Well Community. We seek to offer a place of belonging for people living with mental illness, providing opportunities for acquaintance and companionship. Our programming provides a place to know others and be known. (See the article, “Healing Presence,” for a greater understanding.) Relationship is at the heart of every program The Well offers.
The Well Community seeks to be a place of recovery from mental illness. The word “recovery” means “to get back, regain” or “to restore (oneself) to a normal state.” In the same way, we seek to help those with mental illness regain their lives and to help them live in a “normal state.”
The recovery process begins with a belief and hope that improvement and health is possible. The process includes gaining the knowledge to reclaim the power to achieve one’s desires by learning to make choices that bring strength rather than harm. Recovery involves living a meaningful life with the capacity to love and be loved. The Well seeks to bring about recovery through all of its programming
We envision a community where …
- life, in all its fullness, is encouraged and imparted.
- people can truly belong; where everyone knows everyone else’s name; where Community members are missed if they are gone for too long; and where all are welcome no matter their racial, socio-economic or religious backgrounds.
- people find help, experience change and discover answers; where destructive lifestyles, habits, addictions and compulsions are abandoned; and where wasted lives are retrieved and new beginnings are launched.
- life transformation and recovery is sought with expectancy; where mental illness is understood with empathy and compassion, where some are healed forever of the confusion in their brains, while others progressively advance in their own recovery process, and yet others are simply embraced in the midst of their illness.
- people are encouraged to reach their full potential; where individuals are empowered through volunteer opportunities and vocational programs; where laughter and good fun are infused in every activity; and where Community members are trained and developed to be actively and personally involved in the organizational life of the community.
- God is worshiped joyfully and reverently; where his Word is taught, studied and obeyed; where prayer is the undergirding for all we do and for every initiative we take; and where all kinds of people serve God in various ways.
- the good news of God is the underlying theme; where grace is accepted and extended; where love for people springs from love for God; where joy permeates the air and where people are one in spirit.
HISTORY & HIGHLIGHTS
Founded in 2002 by Joel Pulis, The Well Community is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. While it started as a simple, church outreach to a handful of people, The Well has grown into a flourishing, significant ministry among adults recovering from serious mental illnesses.
Last year, the programs of The Well provided assistance to nearly 300 residents of Dallas. These services are primarily delivered through our weekday Community Life Center (CLC). Open Monday through Wednesday (click here for specific hours of operation), the CLC offers a restorative environment for people who have had their lives drastically disturbed by mental illness and need the support of others in moving toward health. Our Community members assist the staff as they work together to provide and/or access psychiatric, employment, housing, substance abuse, support and advocacy services.
The Well has an annual operating budget of $300,000. The organization is governed by a board of directors. Alice Zaccarello is the current executive director. She was hired at the beginning of 2014, having previously served as the executive director for several Dallas non-profits.
PRESS & AWARDS
Over the years, The Well’s excellence has been repeatedly acknowledged by media outlets and civic and religious organizations. Mental Health America of Greater Dallas and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) have honored The Well’s staff with awards of service to the Dallas community. Other recognitions have come from Baylor University, Texas Baptists, the Dallas Mavericks and the Texas National Guard.
The Well was a finalist for the Mission Excellence award of the Center for Nonprofit Management in 2008. Our programs have been featured in numerous publications and television programs, including People magazine, The Dallas Morning News and WFAA Channel 8.
In 2013 The Well was highlighted in the Dallas Morning News as a model program by columnist and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist William McKenzie. The article coincided with Dallas’s current focus on mental health, KERA’s televised symposium on the issue and declarations made by the city’s mayor emphasizing the need for greater resources for mental health. Click on the link below to read the full article by McKenzie.
Erasing the Stigma: McKenzie’s article is one of a number of articles related to mental health appearing in the Dallas Morning News. See below for links to additional articles regarding the city’s languishing mental health system. The first link is to an ongoing feature called “Erasing the Stigma,” which advocated that mental health be one of the cities’ priorities in 2013.
Past Stories on Mental Illness from the Dallas Morning News:
- Rosie’s Story: Texas must take mental illness more seriously (November 12, 2006)
- Mentally ill care worsens: Jail situation under scrutiny; state hospitals overburdened (July 18, 2005)
- Cuts threaten the vulnerable: City’s acclaimed mental health system at crisis point (June 2, 2005)
- Budget cuts taking toll on mentally ill (February 7, 2005)
- Holes in the safety net: Texas often ignores or evades mental hardship cases, leaving some to languish in dangerous conditions (January 12, 2005)