Finding Significance at The Well

2017-05-11 - Finding Significance at The Well“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

A Well World: Why We Use “Community”

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REFLECTIONS FROM ALICE ZACCARELLO, Executive Director

As you know, the name of our organization is The Well Community. We don’t call it The Well Club House or The Well Agency or The Well Ministry, though those names could be appropriate. The name is The Well Community.

The main reason for the word “Community” is that community, family, belonging, is the best therapeutic resource we provide. Being a part of the lives of others, and having caring friends who listen, pray and encourage is a foundational aspect of mental health recovery. People at The Well are members of a supportive and inclusive community.

However, there is a second reason we use the word “Community.” Continue reading

Blessings Upon Blessings

Blessings Upon Blessings

Volunteer Jennifer Snow checks on dinner for Thursday Night Life

It’s impossible to fully communicate the value of our volunteers through facts and figures alone. But as we look at the numbers that sum up the many ways individuals and groups gave of their time and talents last year, we can’t help but be encouraged.

Last year, The Well Community was blessed by 260 volunteers who put in nearly 3,000 hours of service. According to the Corporation for National Community Service, each volunteer hour provides a value of $23.56 to a nonprofit organization. By that measure, those who volunteered in 2016 contributed the equivalent of over $67,000!

Continue reading

Volunteer Spotlight: Ann Tabony

On any given Tuesday, you can find Ann Tabony at The Well Community serving as a volunteer art teacher, helping Well members who deal with mental illnesses learn how to paint, draw and explore other forms of creativity.

The art program is one of many opportunities for people in the Metroplex to help make a lasting difference in the lives of those who come to the Well to find a safe place to escape stigma and isolation. Not only do volunteers like Tabony make a tremendous impact on Well members, most who serve say they leave feeling transformed. “We get much more than we give,” is a common refrain. Continue reading

A Well World: What can be done?

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REFLECTIONS FROM ALICE ZACCARELLO, Executive Director

Our two featured blogs in March (Homelessness: A Roadblock to Recovery and At Home at Jacob’s House) have highlighted the relationship between mental illness and homelessness. The statistics are alarming, but the situation is even more desperate than the numbers indicate—because we are talking about PEOPLE. People who, through no choice nor fault of their own, are beset by brain disorders that prohibit them from basic human opportunities like work, security and dignity.

For members of The Well Community, safe, affordable and decent housing is an ongoing challenge. For some of them, because there is so little available, the streets are their only option. What can be done? Continue reading

At Home at Jacob’s House

Matthew and his mother, Shelley. Photo by Christena Dowsett

More than anything, Matthew wanted to feel independent. But mental illness made it difficult for him to live on his own.

He’d tried staying in a supported housing program, and for a while, he’d been homeless; but after every attempt to gain independence he eventually wound up back at his mother’s home. He was in his mid-40s, and it was hard for him to live with her—just as it was hard for her to care for him.

That’s when his mother, Shelley, learned about Jacob’s House. A friend of hers who also had a son dealing with a mental illness recommended it to them. Desperate for a more fulfilling living situation for her son, she decided to give it a try. Continue reading

Four Ways That Stigma Spreads

four-ways-that-stigma-spreadsStigma makes living with a mental health difficulty even more challenging. It reinforces negative attitudes about mental illnesses and encourages prejudice against those who struggle with them. The National Alliance for Mental Illness puts it this way: “Stigma reflects prejudice, dehumanizes people with mental illness, trivializes their legitimate concerns, and is a significant barrier to effective delivery of mental health services.”[i]

But, what causes this stigma to thrive and spread? Several factors perpetuate stigma, both in casual conversation and in the media.     Continue reading

A Well World: Great Love

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REFLECTIONS FROM ALICE ZACCARELLO, Executive Director

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

As I looked across the theatre at the nearly 80 people gathered to learn how to address the stigma of mental illness, these words of Mother Teresa came to my mind.

The speaker and panelists who came to participate in The Secrets We Keep: De-stigmatizing Mental Illness* are people who have done great things for the cause of mental health. But also with us were those who suffer with mental illnesses and others who care for loved ones. Their days are filled with small things of great love—all done under the cloud of stigma. Continue reading