Dear Temple members,
Last year after the High Holidays, Rabbi Jaech proposed that those of us living with a family member dealing with mental illness might benefit by forming a support group where we could meet to share our stories and offer compassion and encouragement to one another. We thereby began our journey as a group in October and completed our first year together this past June. We want to share with you the benefits we have derived from these monthly Sunday meetings at our Temple.
We have learned from each other by listening. We have gained insight into our own family dynamics by offering non-judgmental thoughts about the stories we have shared. We have imparted whatever knowledge we have personally sought to help our own families cope. We have developed a real bond of friendship that comes from truly understanding what we have each experienced on our families’ journeys. We know we can speak about any problems we are currently facing in a secure environment where nothing said leaves the room. Next year we hope to broaden our outlook by exploring other areas of our lives that impact our own mental health and well-being, as well as continuing with our loved one’s progress. In fact, for October we decided to veer off course and talk about “how the current political environment is affecting our own mental health.” We welcome anyone who would like to participate in this discussion. Our next meeting is October 16th at 12 noon in the Temple’s Burdick Community Room.
Our goal is to expand our group to include other Temple members who have been reluctant to open up about their own family’s travails in dealing with mental illness. Mental illness affects one in every five people throughout the world. There is a plaque that reads: “I am not my illness.” That sentiment applies to the families, as well. Our Temple has served us in so many vital ways. We are grateful that this group has become a loving and safe place within our synagogue to deal with some of life’s greatest challenges. Feel free to join us for support and to share a laugh or a tear. If you have a family member struggling with a mental health issue (depression, anxiety, bi-polar, autism, etc), please know that you are not alone. Our group welcomes you with open arms and wishes you a New Year filled with blessings and true Shalom.
Members of Mental Health Support Group