Six Must-Know Facts about Suicide Causes and Prevention

six-must-know-facts-about-suicide-causes-and-preventionSuicide is often considered a taboo topic. But, the facts about it are too important to keep quiet. According the the American Foundation for Suicide prevention, 3,891 Texans lost their lives to suicide in 2019.[1]

Each life that’s cut short is one too many. But, knowing the facts about suicide is one of the first steps in breaking the stigma that surrounds it, and in helping those at risk for ending their own lives. Continue reading

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

Help Wanted: Resource Center Coordinator

Jessy Watford, Community Relations Coordinator from Superior HealthPlan, with Alice Zaccarello, Executive Director of The Well

At The Well Community the interdependency between mental health and physical health is obvious every day. This connection can’t be overstated (see An Interconnected Challenge: Physical Health in the Shadow of Mental Illness). That’s why The Well offers holistic care for its members.

In addition to addressing emotional needs such as isolation, depression or loneliness, The Well serves its members’ spiritual, cognitive and physical well-being.

In order to address hygiene, nutrition and clothing/bedding concerns, a new Well Resource Center has been created. Water bottles, toothbrushes, hand sanitizers, healthy snack food, masks, body wash, shoes and lightly used jackets are just some of the items available to members as needed. Continue reading

An Interconnected Challenge: Physical Health in the Shadow of Mental Illness

Mental health challenges impact far more than the brain. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), individuals living with a serious mental illness have an increased risk for chronic disease—in some cases, a greatly elevated risk. For example, they are nearly twice as likely to develop cardiovascular and metabolic conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes. And, adding to this struggle are the numerous ways that dealing with a mental illness makes it more challenging to pursue good overall heath.

This interconnected challenge leads not only to lower quality of life, but shorter length of life. NAMI reports that the life expectancy of people diagnosed with serious mental illness is 11-30 years shorter than that of the general population. Continue reading

A Well World: Family Needs

I’m guessing at least five times a week I get a call from a parent, sibling, spouse or friend who is looking for help for someone in a mental health crisis. The calls are panicked. The questions are desperate. They are looking for housing, for medical intervention, for compassion and understanding.

Some of the time I have answers handy. Most of the time I can refer them to local services. All the time I invite them to bring their loved ones to visit The Well once the crisis is over and the ongoing need for a caring environment begins.

In her prayer guide for families dealing with mental illnesses, Catherine P. Downing expresses 31 needs that are always on the minds of caregivers. Several of the concerns are ones The Well Community can address directly. Continue reading

Supporting Families

Families with loved ones dealing with mental health issues often find housing to be one of the greatest challenges. Jacob’s House, The Well’s City of Dallas licensed boarding home for men, is one way The Well supports families. By providing affordable, safe housing within an understanding and accepting community, The Well gives families peace of mind knowing their loved one is off the streets and being cared for with compassion. In this brief video, mom Shelley shares how Jacob’s House has made a difference for son Matthew.

Seven Ways to Support Family Caregivers

When someone has cancer or is experiencing another health issue, friends and extended family members often surround that person and his or her household with support in the form of everything from meal delivery to assistance with rides to cards of encouragement. However, when the challenge at hand is a mental health struggle, the response is often quite the opposite, and many times family caregivers are left feeling alone and overwhelmed.

Families impacted by mental illness desperately need the support and assistance of a caring community! Thankfully, there are many ways friends and extended family can help, providing a lifeline to caregivers. 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

When Work Doesn’t Work

Well Community member Nathan* used to work. He liked to work. He wants to work again. But the challenges of living with bipolar disorder make steady work impossible. Coping with mental illness often occupies a great deal of his focus and energy and keeps him from being able to concentrate on the job. “My mind won’t stop. Even though I’m treated [with medication], my mind still races a lot, and it’s to the point where it keeps me awake at nighttime.”

As a result, Nathan has struggled to multitask in jobs, and recalls how he often wasn’t able to keep up with production while working at a factory. “I can’t have a whole bunch [of directions] in my head because I get things mixed up. In the work environment, sometimes they would just pile things on top of me. It just becomes overwhelming.” Continue reading