With Flair: Honoring Ann Tabony

We are so thankful for our volunteers at The Well, and were happy recently to join The Well Auxiliary in honoring Ann Tabony, who has been teaching art classes to our members for a dozen years. Though not trained as an art therapist, Ann’s warm encouragement and patient coaching has not only given our members new outlets to express their thoughts and feelings, but has also uncovered hidden artistic talents in several members. Here’s a glimpse of the event and some older photos of Ann with her “students” and exhibits of their work.

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A Well World: The Unnoticed

June was a sad month in the world of entertainment. The tragic losses of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade left many wondering, again, how could people of such success, wealth and influence take their own lives? The media covered the events well, with compassion and education. They highlighted the difficult truths around depression and suicide in the United States such as:

  • An estimated 16.2 million adults (6.7%) had at least one major depressive episode in 2016.1
  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death.2
  • On average 123 Americans take their lives each day.3
  • Approximately 1.3 million adult males attempt suicide each year.4

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Best Three Hours

Volunteer James Barclay (right) with Well Member, Todd

“It is the best three hours of my week,” says James Barclay, who, after 34 years with the Dallas Police Department, found a different way to serve the Oak Cliff community in his retirement.

James helps with lunches for members of The Well Community every Tuesday. Each week he stands at the door and shakes hands with members who deal with severe mental illnesses. “They always light up when you say their name and smile at them. Some of them have the greatest smiles, but no one knows it because no one takes the time to acknowledge them.” Continue reading

Four Everyday Steps That Fight Anxiety

Four Everyday Steps That Fight AnxietyAccording to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, anxiety disorders (which include conditions such as generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder and phobias) are the most common mental health problems. In addition, anxiety is a common symptom of many other mental illnesses, including bipolar disorder and PTSD. Nearly everyone with a serious mental health challenge experiences anxiety to some degree. Continue reading

Discovering Courage and Compassion

Each semester, The Well Community welcomes interns from local universities to learn, hands-on, how to work with people dealing with severe mental illnesses. It is often during their time at The Well students in social work, counseling, psychology and related fields really become aware of the impact mental illness has on individuals. But even more, through their relationship with our members, interns often first confront their own preconceptions as they encounter people with great courage and compassion. Here’s how our most recent intern, Amber, described her own “awakening.” Continue reading

Five Things That May Surprise You About Mental Health Care in Texas

Five Things That May Surprise You About Mental Health Care in TexasApproximately a million adults in Texas live with serious mental illness, and many of them face numerous obstacles in obtaining the treatment and support they need to manage their conditions. In a 2017 report, the Texas House Select Committee on Mental Health wrote that mental health “is absolutely one of the most critical areas of concern” facing our state. Below are some key points to understand about mental health in Texas, including some major challenges and one big reason to be hopeful. Continue reading

Relating Well Together

When Mary, a long-time member of The Well Community, passed away un-expectedly, several others from The Well took turns caring for her mother until long-term care could be arranged. Brian, the manager at Jacob’s House, takes time each day to listen compassionately as his housemates talk about the worries on their minds. Sue is always available to say a prayer when someone needs comfort.

Caring relationships are one of the least highlighted yet most important components of recovery for those dealing with severe mental illnesses. Isolation and loneliness are crushing companions when other people don’t reach out and connect. Continue reading