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
Jacob’s House is situated on a tree-lined street in Oak Cliff. From the outside it looks like the other older homes in the neighborhood, with a large porch and a fenced front yard. On pleasant days, several men gather outside to “shoot the breeze,” play card games or wave at passersby. There is a comfortableness among them—a sense that they are at home. And they are.
However, for most of the seven who live at The Well Community’s boarding home for men, Jacob’s house has become home only after years of living on the street or in a series of substandard boarding houses. 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
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
About a decade ago, Anthony was a young man working for FedEx, loading and unloading boxes from trucks in North Dallas. But when he suddenly lost his job, something inside of him fell apart, he says.
“I just couldn’t deal,” says Anthony. “I just fell into nothing.” Continue reading
Mental illness and poverty are often deeply intertwined. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), not only can living with a mental illness increase the risk of living below the poverty line, poverty can increase the likelihood that an individual will began experiencing mental health challenges and intensify the experience of mental illness. 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
“Mental illness … is like being caught up in a tornado, a tornado you don’t really see,” says Well member PT. “You see the debris that is floating in the air … but you don’t really see the tornado.”
PT has lived with the storm of mental illness for over 35 years. He experienced his first episode related to bipolar schizoaffective disorder in 1980, while in Israel with a discipleship group. “I didn’t sleep for three days straight,” he recalls. “My thoughts were racing.” Continue reading