Outreach Coordinator Mary Benton shares some benchmarks of success she’s seen over the first few months of the Outreach Program.
Mary and worker from the Stewpot
In today’s society, we are often driven by benchmarks or goals in our places of work. Benchmarks signify raises, promotions, title changes, etc. Benchmarks feel to many like signs of worth. In the corporate world, these milestones look like significant increases in productivity or meeting a new sales goal. These hefty standards drive the workforce. But in the nonprofit world, and especially at The Well Community, we measure success a little differently.
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
It’s a bit shocking when you think about it. In a 2021 research project* about individuals living in homelessness, 33 percent of all respondents self-identified as having mental health issues.
That means about one out of three homeless people are living each day not only with the challenges of poverty and insecure housing, but also with mental illnesses. What incredible obstacles they face! It can be nearly impossible to know where to turn for help and how to access that help. We want to change that. Continue reading
Living with a mental illness presents serious challenges when a person has stable housing. But, when an individual living with a mental health condition is without a safe, stable place to live, their struggles are multiplied. Mental illness and homelessness are compounding issues that can contribute to one another and create a cycle that makes it incredibly difficult for those caught in it to pursue stability.
The myths that surround these two issues can create a host of misconceptions that only add to the weight of struggle carried by those experiencing both mental illness and homelessness. The statements below represent several of the most common—and most harmful—myths about people living with these challenges. Continue reading
After suddenly losing his job over a decade ago, Anthony felt something inside him break. He soon found himself homeless, sleeping in a park or abandoned building. He recalls the street as a place where everyone wants to be somewhere else, but no one knows how to move away from their present situation. Continue reading
So often, the challenges of housing insecurity and the struggles of living with mental illness compound one another. The daily issues faced by those without stable housing situations make it difficult for them to pursue mental health stability; likewise, dealing with a mental health condition can impede their ability to take steps toward more stable living conditions. Housing is truly a foundational issue in addressing the difficulties faced by those living with serious mental illnesses. 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
Approximately one in four individuals who are homeless also deal with a serious mental illness, compared to one in 25 among the general population. In the 2019 Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance point-in-time homeless count, 55 percent of the homeless in North Texas self-reported living with a mental illness. While struggling with a mental health condition increases the likelihood that a person will become homeless, the connection works both ways: Being homeless or in insecure housing also makes it more difficult for those who live with these challenges to both pursue recovery and acquire stable housing. Below are five ways homelessness magnifies mental health struggles. Continue reading
A stable, affordable place to live can make a big difference in a person’s ability to pursue recovery while dealing with metal heath challenges. As Mental Health America of Greater Dallas states, “Safe, decent, clean housing is a key factor in recovery for individuals with mental illness.” But, for many, this housing is elusive. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), individuals dealing with mental and/or substance use disorders are often particularly vulnerable to becoming homeless or being precariously housed (they either have no shelter or they live in crowded apartments with friends or acquaintances in untenable situations and move often). Continue reading
Mental illnesses impact people of all ethnicities and backgrounds. While treatment can make these conditions more manageable, many minority populations face challenges that make it more difficult for them to get the care they need. When left untreated, mental health issues can become more severe and can make life with them increasingly difficult to navigate. Continue reading