Depression: Hard Facts About a Common Struggle

National Suicide Prevention hotline:  800-273-8255

It’s about as prevalent as asthma, but often it’s spoken of far less openly. A 2017 study conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) found that over 17 million American adults had experienced a least one major depressive episode in the past year. Also know as major depression, this condition is characterized by feelings of sadness or loss of interest for at least two weeks, and it can severely impact a person’s ability to function.

Misconceptions about what depression is and how it can impact a person’s mind and body can prevent those who are struggling from seeking help as well as invalidate their suffering. The hard facts to follow are a good starting point for understanding this mental health challenge and coming alongside those who wrestle with it. Continue reading

A Well World: In the Shadow of Illness

Health is on our minds a lot these days. With COVID-19, with the delta variant, with RSV continuing to threaten and to scare, we are all evermore aware of the need to protect ourselves and others the best we can. These ever-looming contagions have taken center stage for 18 months. The warnings are constant; the impact is devastating. In the U.S., nearly 40 million people have had COVID and over 600,000 have died. Yes, we are all looking very seriously at health issues these days.

While COVID, Delta and RSV are very real concerns for members of The Well Community, our participants have many other—and just as deadly—health issues that cast a perpetual shadow. Diabetes, high blood pressure and addictions are just a few conditions that are often co-diagnoses with mental illness. Continue reading

A Well World: Reaching out

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

A Well World: A Suicide Prevented

It was early on a Sunday morning and I was just debating whether I had the energy to make it to church after a late-night event when a text came through that jolted me fully awake. It was from one of the men at Jacob’s House, The Well’s City of Dallas licensed boarding home. Stuart* was letting me know he had plans to end his own life.

I immediately tried to call him back, but there was no answer. I called an emergency service, but they were not able to reach him either. Recognizing the urgency of the situation, I quickly headed over to Jacob’s House. Thankfully, after a being awake all night, Stuart had fallen asleep. I left a note for him to call me when he woke up. Then I went to church. Continue reading

Life-Giving Community in a Time of Isolation

Mauricio and Miguel, who recently met at The Well while picking up their lunches and have been supporting one another ever since.

When the pandemic hit, Tony lost his job in hotel maintenance and, for the first time in his life, found himself homeless. But, he heard about The Well through some friends. “I’ve found support here and resources,” he says.

Each week, as many as five new people show up at The Well. They’re wrestling not only with the stress of continued lockdowns and social distancing, but with severe mental illnesses and poverty—challenges that have been magnified in numerous ways in recent months. Some, like Tony, have lost employment or housing, and many are struggling as services they depended upon have been placed on pause. Continue reading

A WELL WORLD: Lessons Learned in Uncertain Times

During these uncertain times, when all routines are disrupted and we have more questions than answers, I find it helpful to consider the plight of others to keep from focusing only on my own challenges. In a recent conversation with our Board Chairman, Jeff Lane, we talked about social distancing and social isolation. He had some great insights on how these relate to members of The Well, so I’ve asked him to share them with you.

Alice Continue reading

Celebrating Christmas as a Community

Thanks to the selfless efforts of many, members of The Well Community had a terrific Christmas Celebration at our last Thursday Night Life for the year. Our members enjoyed festive decorations, Christmas music, a holiday message and a traditional turkey meal with dessert. Santa arrived to deliver presents and members received a fun photo with him to take home.

We had a full house! Volunteers from Cliff Temple Baptist Church, Kessler Park United Methodist Church and St. Jude Oak Cliff brought and served the delicious meal. Interns from the School of Social Work at UTA and community volunteers helped with the festivities. Backpacks filled with personal care and special items were provided through Body Oak Cliff, the Thompson & Knight law firm and many donors; and $50 Walmart cards were given to members thanks to the successful “Christmas in July” drive sponsored by The Well Auxiliary and additional generous donations. Continue reading

A Well World: Beyond Awareness

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