Yesterday The Well was given a gift that prompted not only gratitude but a deep sense of sadness: 600 pairs of shoes, each representing a life lost to suicide in the Greater Dallas area in 2018. This is The Well Community’s sixth year to be the recipient of these shoes, which are donated for the Greater Dallas Suicide Prevention Coalition’s Suicide Awareness Day, and each year we receive them with heavy hearts. Continue reading →
Participating in a church leaders panel discussion on mental health several years ago, I was asked what Bible verse summed up my philosophy on serving those living with mental health conditions. I suppose some might have gone first to Jesus’ teaching about “caring for the least of these.” But I have always been uncomfortable with the application of that passage to this topic. It feels a little patronizing. Continue reading →
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.
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 →