Suicide is an issue the church cannot afford to ignore. In a LifeWay Research study nearly a third of churchgoers said they’d lost a close family member or acquaintance to suicide. Of those, over a third said their loved one attended a church at least once a month prior to his or her death.
Those wrestling with suicidal thoughts and those who love them are in the pews of our congregations. Churches have a great responsibility and opportunity to reach out in compassion to those who are struggling. Continue reading
“Almost all poverty is fundamentally the result of a lack of options. It is not that the poor are lazier, less intelligent, or unwilling make efforts to change their condition. Rather it is that they are trapped by circumstances beyond their power to change.” When I came across this quote from Richard Stearns, President of World Vision U.S., I have to say I was stunned at how succinctly he captured the realities of the daily lives of many members of The Well Community. Continue reading
Rita, Viola and Sharon always sit together. Viola is Sharon’s mother, and Rita is Sharon’s best friend. The Well Community is their meeting place. “Rita was my neighbor at the apartment building I lived in and invited me to come to The Well with her one day. She has been coming for years, but I joined about six years ago. We come here most days and talk to everybody,” Sharon says. Continue reading
For many of the 43.8 million people in America who struggle with mental health difficulties each year, the challenges of life just pile up. Mental illnesses, along with the tragic overlay of stigma, can contribute to other issues that make everyday living a grueling existence. At The Well Community we regularly assist members in confronting addictions and addressing concerns such as medical conditions, homelessness and poverty, any of which, without help, multiplies the sense of confusion and hopelessness.
Amid the poverty and through the challenges, The Well Community offers a place where adults with severe mental health conditions can find support. “We provide a community of hope and healing to these individuals. We give them an opportunity to gain dignity and self-worth, and encourage them to not give up on a system that makes hope seem scarce,” says Executive Director Alice Zaccarello.
Without care from family and friends, or without support from groups like The Well, many with severe mental health issues experience the compounding effects of poverty. They know how poverty cuts a deep gorge into possibilities for recovery. Those who have fallen under the weight of poverty have done so under a complex social system that has limited success in addressing basic needs. Continue reading
Almost half of the 60 million people living with mental health conditions in the United States go without any treatment according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). While many factors prevent those suffering from mental health challenges from seeking care, disparities in access to quality, affordable care play a major role. Continue reading
KIDOGO, KIDOGO HUJAZA KIBABA. It’s a proverb from East Africa and it means, “Little by little fills the measure.” I like it because it reminds me that multiple small actions, done with consistency and purpose, can have just as important of an impact as one big act. Continue reading
Well Community Members Charles and Connie
Donna grew up going to church. It is the place she finds companionship when she is lonely and the place where she can be with friends on the weekends. But mostly Donna loves going to Sunday school because there she is reminded of God’s love and keeps learning about Jesus. However, finding a church where she feels comfortable has sometimes been a challenge. Because she deals with mental health difficulties, it has been hard to “fit in.” But at Cliff Temple Baptist Church she’s found just the right class, one specially tailored for members of The Well Community. Continue reading
The Well Community opens its doors every Thursday night for dinner, worship and fellowship. For members of The Well, who live daily with the challenges of severe mental illnesses, Thursday Night Life is the highlight of their week. Continue reading
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.
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