In the Company of Others

Who among us has not heard the echoes of isolation? Often a sense of loneliness can overwhelm us. During these times it’s easy for anxiety to rule and fear to hold tight. Those who deal with chronic and severe mental illnesses experience this even more deeply. Stigma, rejection and misunderstanding often force them into a never-easing aloneness. Except at The Well Community.

Here members find the company of others who understand, care and accept. Here those living with debilitating mental health difficulties can be themselves and still belong. Here, through the generosity of donors and the kindness of volunteers, those marginalized by society are encircled by help and hope.

In our 2019 Annual Report we share stories of ways our members find encouragement through community. We tell how they are able to give as well as receive and find opportunities to grow as well as heal. We also provide some facts and figures, in addition to lists of special thanks. Together that information demonstrates how members, donors, volunteers, interns and staff make up the community that is The Well. Continue reading

Talking About Stigma With Michelle Staubach Grimes

Last year on World Mental Health Day, when Michelle Staubach Grimes, daughter of Dallas Cowboys legend Roger Staubach and author of two popular children’s books, saw several people speaking out online about the difficulty of dealing with mental illness, she decided to do the same. It was an easy decision, she says, because she had little to lose, and she wanted to help normalize mental illness for the sake of those who are often stigmatized for it. While Michelle has struggled with mental health challenges since childhood—particularly acute anxiety and depression—until then she’d kept her struggles private. Continue reading

Speaking Differently and Speaking Up: Progress in the Fight Against Stigma

Our society has come a long way in the fight against stigma in recent years! An American Psychological Association poll revealed that 87% of American adults agreed that having a mental health disorder is nothing to be ashamed of. This is something to celebrate as acceptance of mental illness plays a big role in helping those who live with these conditions obtain the support they need to pursue mental health stability.

But, there’s still much progress to be made. A 2019 CBS News Poll found that while nearly eight in 10 people believe that mental illnesses are real medical conditions and over two thirds say that anyone can struggle with these conditions, negative attitudes about mental illness are far from being extinguished. An overwhelming majority of respondents—nearly nine in 10 people—think there is at least some stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness in society today. Continue reading

Overpowering Stigma With Community

For those who live with serious mental health conditions, stigma is constant companion. It follows them like a shadow they can’t escape, defining them by their illnesses in the minds of others and coloring the way they are seen in their communities with misconceptions. It causes them to be avoided or ignored at best, and often leads to discrimination and mistreatment. Continue reading

Six Ways to Help Others Become Aware of Mental Illness

Awareness of the truth about mental illnesses is a first step in learning to come alongside those whose lives are impacted by them. Although understanding and acceptance of these conditions are growing, much progress is required before those dealing with serious mental health challenges are met with support and friendship rather than fear. Below are six ways you can become an advocate for those living with mental illnesses by being able to help others gain awareness. Continue reading

Friendship Rather Than Fear

Rita, second from the left, spending time with some of her friends from The Well at the spring spiritual retreat.

Rita’s struggles with her mental health began nearly four decades ago. “It started when I had a baby,” she says. Her suffering from postpartum depression eventually led to a diagnosis of bipolar disorder—and a long and difficult path of dealing with a serious mental illness. It is with pain that Rita recalls being hospitalized and strapped to a bed due to the condition she’s dealt with for so long. Continue reading

Volunteering at The Well: Overcoming Stigma through Friendship

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Oscar Brown is in the kitchen of Cliff Temple Baptist Church in Oak Cliff, passing out paper plates filled with salad and pizza. He’s there to serve at Thursday Night Life, a weekly gathering when members of The Well Community are invited to worship and enjoy a hot meal together. Volunteers like Brown prepare the meal, then serve it to the members after a time of music and Bible teaching. Continue reading

Fighting Stigma: The Power of Little Things

Lydia

Lydia at the 2017 Well Community Spring Retreat

Seven years ago, Lydia was introduced to The Well Community by the man who would become her husband. She met Bill on the bus, and he shared with her about Jesus and invited her to join him at The Well. Two years later, he presented her with a ring, and the couple was married there, Lydia in a royal blue dress and Bill in a navy suit.

To Lydia, The Well is far more than the place where she got to know her husband. It’s a place of support in a world that often views those dealing with mental illness through the lens of stigma, treating them with prejudice or even cruelty. Continue reading

Four Barriers to Minority Mental Health

Four Barriers to Minority Mental HealthMental 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