Meeting Neighbors Where They Are

Anita Green refers to them as “neighbors.” It’s a term she uses to let those experiencing homelessness know that they’re still part of the community. “It takes a lot of the stigma away,” she explains.

This attitude—one of seeing individuals on the street as members of the community—is central to her work as Outreach Manager at The Well. Her critical role in the Outreach Program, a new initiative that kicked off in June, enables The Well Community to connect with people who are experiencing homelessness. In this position, she seeks to build relationships with homeless neighbors and serve them compassionately as she offers food, referrals to local services and assistance in accessing mental health care. Continue reading

A Well World: Not Surprised

Last week the Communities Foundation of Texas held North Texas Giving Day. This was our ninth year to participate in this online fundraising event.

This year’s results of $71,335 from 104 donors exceeded our goal and reminded us that we can always count on our partners to be there for us.

To be honest, I was somewhat overwhelmed by the generosity showed by so many. Overwhelmed, but not surprised.

By now I know that so many of our supporters are invested in The Well Community because they care about our friends and neighbors who have really challenging lives because of mental illnesses. Our donors understand the scourge of stigma and bitterness of marginalization. And they know that The Well is, for most of our members, the only community that addresses their human needs for kindness, support and friendship.

One of our members told me just last week how he sure hopes The Well can continue to help him because he just didn’t know what he’d do without us. I pass that sentiment on to you: I just don’t know what The Well would do without those who support us through North Texas Giving Day and other giving opportunities throughout the year.

Another somewhat amazing characteristic of our donors is that some prefer to give anonymously. I so honor their choice to do that; but at the same time, I miss the opportunity to personally thank them. If you are such a friend, please know how much we value your gifts!

Many, many thanks,

Alice

TODAY! North Texas Giving Day

Today, Thursday September 23 is the annual North Texas Giving Day opportunity! Since 2009, this online event, sponsored by the Communities Foundation of Texas, has provided an easy-to-use platform for giving to your favorite North Texas nonprofits.

Your kind gifts undergird a community of adults who constantly live with the challenges of devastating mental illnesses. Though in general they daily experience isolation, stigma and poverty, at the Well they find an environment that fosters their stability and restores their dignity.

This year, two special friends of the Well Community have kindly offered to match, dollar for dollar, gifts of any amount, up to a total of $11,000! That means the amount of your donation has a double impact!

Just click here then click on “give now.” 

Take a look at the brief video below to hear why John and Ellen McStay of the Morning Star Foundation give to The Well.

Continue reading

Six Must-Know Facts about Suicide Causes and Prevention

six-must-know-facts-about-suicide-causes-and-preventionSuicide is often considered a taboo topic. But, the facts about it are too important to keep quiet. According the the American Foundation for Suicide prevention, 3,891 Texans lost their lives to suicide in 2019.[1]

Each life that’s cut short is one too many. But, knowing the facts about suicide is one of the first steps in breaking the stigma that surrounds it, and in helping those at risk for ending their own lives. Continue reading

Depression: Hard Facts About a Common Struggle

National Suicide Prevention hotline:  800-273-8255

It’s about as prevalent as asthma, but often it’s spoken of far less openly. A 2017 study conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) found that over 17 million American adults had experienced a least one major depressive episode in the past year. Also know as major depression, this condition is characterized by feelings of sadness or loss of interest for at least two weeks, and it can severely impact a person’s ability to function.

Misconceptions about what depression is and how it can impact a person’s mind and body can prevent those who are struggling from seeking help as well as invalidate their suffering. The hard facts to follow are a good starting point for understanding this mental health challenge and coming alongside those who wrestle with it. Continue reading

A Well World: In the Shadow of Illness

Health is on our minds a lot these days. With COVID-19, with the delta variant, with RSV continuing to threaten and to scare, we are all evermore aware of the need to protect ourselves and others the best we can. These ever-looming contagions have taken center stage for 18 months. The warnings are constant; the impact is devastating. In the U.S., nearly 40 million people have had COVID and over 600,000 have died. Yes, we are all looking very seriously at health issues these days.

While COVID, Delta and RSV are very real concerns for members of The Well Community, our participants have many other—and just as deadly—health issues that cast a perpetual shadow. Diabetes, high blood pressure and addictions are just a few conditions that are often co-diagnoses with mental illness. Continue reading

Help Wanted: Resource Center Coordinator

Jessy Watford, Community Relations Coordinator from Superior HealthPlan, with Alice Zaccarello, Executive Director of The Well

At The Well Community the interdependency between mental health and physical health is obvious every day. This connection can’t be overstated (see An Interconnected Challenge: Physical Health in the Shadow of Mental Illness). That’s why The Well offers holistic care for its members.

In addition to addressing emotional needs such as isolation, depression or loneliness, The Well serves its members’ spiritual, cognitive and physical well-being.

In order to address hygiene, nutrition and clothing/bedding concerns, a new Well Resource Center has been created. Water bottles, toothbrushes, hand sanitizers, healthy snack food, masks, body wash, shoes and lightly used jackets are just some of the items available to members as needed. Continue reading

An Interconnected Challenge: Physical Health in the Shadow of Mental Illness

Mental health challenges impact far more than the brain. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), individuals living with a serious mental illness have an increased risk for chronic disease—in some cases, a greatly elevated risk. For example, they are nearly twice as likely to develop cardiovascular and metabolic conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes. And, adding to this struggle are the numerous ways that dealing with a mental illness makes it more challenging to pursue good overall heath.

This interconnected challenge leads not only to lower quality of life, but shorter length of life. NAMI reports that the life expectancy of people diagnosed with serious mental illness is 11-30 years shorter than that of the general population. Continue reading

A Well World: Family Needs

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. Continue reading

Supporting Families

Families with loved ones dealing with mental health issues often find housing to be one of the greatest challenges. Jacob’s House, The Well’s City of Dallas licensed boarding home for men, is one way The Well supports families. By providing affordable, safe housing within an understanding and accepting community, The Well gives families peace of mind knowing their loved one is off the streets and being cared for with compassion. In this brief video, mom Shelley shares how Jacob’s House has made a difference for son Matthew.