Well Community members have long been anticipating the return of spiritual retreats, and we’re excited that on November 9-10, we’ll head back to Mt. Lebanon Camp for a time of rest, fun and renewal. Vacations and other getaways are a luxury that’s typically out of reach for individuals living with serious mental illnesses, and this overnight trip provides a rare opportunity for our members to leave the city behind, reflect and be renewed in their faith, as well as to enjoy one another’s company.
“Faith and rest are keys to good mental health,” explains Alice Zaccarello, Executive Director of The Well Community. “For our members dealing with severe mental illnesses, these retreats are oases in their pursuit of stability.” Below are four ways a retreat is a blessing to Well Community members as well as one way you can be a part of that blessing.
A Break From Everyday Stresses
Time away from the stresses of everyday life can benefit anyone, but for those dealing with serious mental health conditions, a break from daily challenges can have an especially great impact. Well Community members typically don’t have the resources to obtain healthy food, often eating just one meal a day, and many lack secure housing. But a retreat offers a reprieve when they don’t have to worry about where they’ll find their next meal or where they’ll sleep at night.
Time in Nature
The physical and mental health benefits of spending time outdoors are numerous, and a spiritual retreat is a rare opportunity for members to escape the hustle and bustle of Dallas and enjoy the countryside. Members can take walks in the woods, savor the sunset and listen to the birds in the trees, helping them take a breath, reflect and be renewed.
“I like hiking and being out in the woods,” shares Monica,* who’s been a member of the Well since its founding 20 years ago. “It brings you closer to God. … It’s a place where you can experience God’s love.”
For many Well Community members, faith is a lifeline that helps them deal with the relentless challenges of their conditions. Retreats provide them with focused time that strengthens them spiritually. Through devotionals and time for prayer, members are reminded of God’s care for them.
Fun and Fellowship
Retreats are also packed with fun and laughter! Members play games, work on craft projects and go on a hayride as well as fellowship around the bonfire. They have time to read, talk and just soak up the sun. A spirit of belonging permeates the camp, and members are reminded that they’re part of a community that accepts and loves them.
How You Can Help
You can be part of the multifaceted blessing that a Well Community member receives through a spiritual retreat! A gift of $175 sponsors one member, allowing him or her to reap the many benefits of time away, in the company of others who care.
*Name has been changed.