Mental illness affects 45% of people experiencing homelessness, and those without diagnosed mental illnesses may experience situational depression or anxiety simply from the stress of homelessness. Community is incredibly important to supporting people experiencing mental health struggles.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) notes that, “Community is critical for us to thrive, especially for someone with mental illness who is already experiencing the common symptoms of loneliness and isolation.” The most beneficial aspects of community for people living with mental illness are a feeling of belonging, having supportive people around to talk to, and having a sense of purpose.
At Our Daily Bread, we provide more than a hot meal and a cup of coffee- we’re a place where community can blossom in ways we might not think about. Not everyone has family to rely on for support, and many people experiencing homelessness have lost everything, including relationships that support their mental health. Having a place to go for consistency and stability, where people know your name, your quirks, your smile- that’s community, and that’s important to everyone’s mental health.
What does community look like for you? Do you find it in your home, your church, or somewhere else? Let’s honor Mental Health month by reflecting on the communities we’re part of and how we can nurture both our communities and our minds through the support, belonging and purpose provided by simply being together.