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 →
“Almost all poverty is fundamentally the result of a lack of options. It is not that the poor are lazier, less intelligent, or unwilling make efforts to change their condition. Rather it is that they are trapped by circumstances beyond their power to change.” When I came across this quote from Richard Stearns, President of World Vision U.S., I have to say I was stunned at how succinctly he captured the realities of the daily lives of many members of The Well Community. Continue reading →
KIDOGO, KIDOGO HUJAZA KIBABA. It’s a proverb from East Africa and it means, “Little by little fills the measure.” I like it because it reminds me that multiple small actions, done with consistency and purpose, can have just as important of an impact as one big act. Continue reading →
June was a sad month in the world of entertainment. The tragic losses of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade left many wondering, again, how could people of such success, wealth and influence take their own lives? The media covered the events well, with compassion and education. They highlighted the difficult truths around depression and suicide in the United States such as:
An estimated 16.2 million adults (6.7%) had at least one major depressive episode in 2016.1
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death.2
On average 123 Americans take their lives each day.3
Approximately 1.3 million adult males attempt suicide each year.4
May is Mental Health Awareness month. It’s a time when those of us in the mental health field try to bring attention to the challenges faced by others who, not just for a month a year but every day of their lives, are constantly aware of the devastating toll mental illnesses extract from them. Continue reading →