Shalem Mental Health-Reflection on WrapAround Hamilton Lessons

Submitted by Elskedve on June 9, 2013 - 7:57am
Exciting times

Reflecting on our work in Hamilton, I had to express what I was feeling. In the people business, we have been given a gift to share with others, our education, our "profession" and the time to use our craft to make a difference in the lives of the people we serve. Whether we are a volunteer, a teacher, an O.W. staff member, a libriarian, the person at the reception desk... we must ask ourselves how we can use our gifts to serve others. Time and time again I hear from those who are working with those experiencing an overwhelming amount of change that the demands of working in such an environment with little supports often seems unmanageable. However, those with "the gift" ensure that people receive the help, rather than send them off without a number or an address of someone who can help them.

As we build communities, those able to come to events and add their voice will be there. Those who live in the neighbourhood who are experiencing financial issues, child care demands, lack of food security or trauma, fear judgement or need support to share their gifts. A neighbour, doctor, minister, family member, friend might know of their need. All it takes is one person willing to help and then another volunteer willing to be matched and trained in the wraparound process and another voice and family start their wraparound journey.

Let's build capacity by also building on the strengths of those more invisible but want to be heard and need our gifts and help. After a three year process with one individual, the 4 team members said they had been given more through the process than they had given. We all deserve to be gifted by others.


Empowering others to give their gifts

Thanks for sharing, Elskedve!

I agree- I think it's great to create space (especially) for those who are disadvantaged or marginalized in any way, to recognize the gifts they have to offer. My husband and brother-in-law were chatting about this last night. My brother-in-law works for a shelter and we were discussing how the offering free services has created a sense of entitlement and more dangerously, a lack of dignity in these marginalized folks. They aren't expected to give anything in return, and so they do not. But, this harms them... does not allow them to realize all that they have to offer... their gifts.

Removing barriers

Hi Elske, I agree it is all about gifts.  I think so often we focus on our own gifts and how we can use them to help others.  This is good but sometimes in doing this we forget to see the gifts of those we are trying to help and through this we continue to disempower them.  In international development it is often reffered to as the "saviour complex."  We are the saviour coming to help someone who needs saving.  This though well intentioned is often misguided. 

I like how you talked about helping people relaize their own gifts.  I think if we can recognize and remove the barriers that stop people from recognizing or actualizing their gifts, they will naturally flourish with just a little encouragment.

What are the barriers in our communties, our perceptions and in how we do things.

Also I am intrigued by this wrap around approach that you mentioned.  i like the idea of building communities of support around people.  Could you explain what it is all about?