Most of the time, I’m a “looking forward” type of person. So it takes a bit of work for me to stop and look back. But every year we develop our annual report and that gives me a great reason to pause and remember.
We just released the 2018 Annual Report. Our theme is “Stigma-Free Zone” and we’ve included a couple of stories from our members who share how stigma has impacted them. We also tell about one of our volunteers, a retired police detective, who is helping our members rebuild the dignity that stigma has stolen. Continue reading →
In the general population, one in 25 individuals experiences a serious mental health issue each year. At The Well, 25 in 25 experience the challenges of mental illness each day.
Severe mental health disorders have devastating effects on individuals and their families. Schizophrenia robs cognitive functions and communication abilities. Bipolar disorder wrecks havoc in its manic state and suppresses hope in its depressive state. All mental illnesses isolate and debilitate. Continue reading →
It’s a rite of spring for our members: our overnight retreat to Mt. Lebanon Camp. They look forward to it each year like you and I do when we count down days for vacation or holiday breaks. You and I know what having a “time away” means for our outlook, our attitude, our physical energy. And if we are honest, we can admit that being able to regularly retreat into nature is foundational to our mental health. That’s also true for members of The Well Community—but perhaps even more so. Continue reading →
As a friend of The Well Community, you know that we serve adults living with chronic and severe mental illnesses. And I hope you have also become aware that, because of those conditions, our members face many daunting and seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
In our recent blogs, we have highlighted one of those challenges: homelessness. Nearly all of our members have been without safe and dependable shelter many times in their adult lives. In fact, even now, on any given night, more than a third of our members who attend regularly sleep in doorways, under bridges or just along the side of the road. Continue reading →
There have been only few times when I’ve been completely blown away by someone’s courage and honesty. But I have to say that as I’ve been reading the biographical stories of NFL star Charles Haley, I have been incredibly inspired. The Dallas Cowboy Hall of Famer not only had the grit to become a five-time Super Bowl champ but even more remarkable, he has learned to manage bipolar disorder and become a spokesman, an advocate, a champion for mental health.
It was an incredible privilege to be on the Scott Murray radio show recently when Scott first interviewed Charles and then several of us from The Well Community. We had a great visit together that made me all the more eager to hear Scott and Charles continue the conversation at The Well Auxiliary’s April 4 WellSpring Celebration Luncheon at the Belo Mansion. In addition to hearing more of Charles’ story, we’ll be giving him the new Well Community Courage and Advocacy Award. I sure hope you’ll join us.
In my career serving with nonprofits, I have found that one of the most critical elements for success, yet one of the most challenging to lay hold of, is a cadre of volunteers who are both faithful and proactive. At The Well Community we are fortunate to have a host of such people who work alongside us to bring about good for Well Members.
The Well Auxiliary started just a few years ago but has already made a huge difference. Made up of about 50 individuals, the group regularly serves meals, sponsors events and provides support for the activities of The Well. Continue reading →
In these closing days of 2018 I have been thinking about the people who call The Well Community their place to belong. And I’ve been thinking about what their year might have been like if we hadn’t been able to offer this safe, welcoming place and these much-needed services to our members.
It’s a sobering reflection, which leads me to two other thoughts:
First, how real it is that without support of individuals, churches, community groups and foundations, The Well would not exist. That would mean the people who belong to the Well—who struggle with severe and persistent mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or major depression—would continue to be overlooked and un-served.
Like many of you, my Thanksgiving Day tradition includes taking some time to count my blessings. So many are obvious: good health, loving family, ample food, a warm home, faithful friends, a great neighborhood, an uplifting church, meaningful work. I suspect most of those items are on your list, too. In fact, for most of us, if we’re not careful to stop and take inventory from time to time, we’re likely to take those good gifts for granted. Continue reading →
Through the efforts of many advocates, thankfully there is a growing awareness of mental illnesses and the struggles of those who live with them. But, on its own, just knowledge of the hurdles faced by individuals living with mental health conditions doesn’t necessarily provide help.
I talked with our members about what others could do to provide support and encouragement. It turns out, there are many ways to assist that aren’t really complicated or take a lot of effort. I’ve made a little list of some simple ways to move beyond mere awareness and into action. Continue reading →
It was a great day. One hundred nineteen people participated with The Well Community. Some of them were also among the more than 70 gathered to celebrate partnership, generosity and the hope for recovery. By the end of the day, $48, 249 in contributions were made by people who truly care. That total allowed us to also receive a $20,000 matching grant kindly provided by Shirlee and Charles Bealke, Vicki and Paul Cardarella, Kristi and Scott Coleman, Elizabeth and Ryan Schorman, Karen and Bret Schuch, Cindy Carpenter-Smith and Alice Zaccarello. Continue reading →