Work and the Social Connectedness it Provides
Karla discusses her job as a nursery worker for her church. She reminds us of the importance of enjoying not only the financial rewards of work but also the social connectedness it provides. Work allows for the opportunity to connect with members of our community. For Karla, that connection is with her church community. Her work in the nursery offers the chance to connect with fellow church members as a caregiver and nurturer to the children there. As you hear Karla talk about her role in the church, consider the ways that you feel connected in your community. For many people, that connection is work.
A PACT Director’s Observations of the Role of Work in Providing Purpose to Life
Tom Ritter is the Director of PACT Services for Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Newark: Mt. Carmel Guild Behavioral Health Services. When asked about his observations of the role of work in recovery for individuals with the lived experience of mental illness, Tom describes a sense of purpose that work provides. He discusses the many changes he has viewed when people return to work–better connections with family and friends, a sense of identity, and overall more optimism about the future. As you hear Tom’s story of the role he has seen work play in providing purpose to one’s life, consider these simple yet insightful words by Mary W. Shelley.
Nothing contributes so much to tranquillize the mind as a steady purpose – a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye.
–Mary W. Shelley
A View of The Role of Work and Recovery from a Provider and Graduate Student
Nathan works as a community support specialist in a supportive housing program and is also a current graduate student. He shares his perspective on the role of work in recovery from his experience as both helper and learner. Nathan touches on the overall health improvements seen in people who have returned to work. It is estimated that people with mental illnesses live 25 years less than the general population. Additionally, Nathan discusses the role that work plays as a defense against “shame and stigma” and in promoting community inclusion. Through his experience, he sees people who are working as having enhanced financial benefits, richer communication, and more exposure to the happenings in one’s community.
The Light Bulb Moment: How a Career Journey Began
George shares his story of recovery and the important role that work has played in his life. He discusses his struggles to complete college and the feelings of envy as he compared his accomplishments to those around him. As George continued his career journey, these feelings of envy gave way to those of pride and success as he continued to achieve the goals he set for himself. George recalls a time when he was receiving services and a peer came to speak about his own recovery and the valued roles he held in his life. This moving story provided George with the informative nudge needed to return to school and embark on a life of career success. He refers to this moment as the “light bulb going off.” This is a good reminder of the influence we can have on one another.
Work & Recovery:A Supported Housing Provider’s View
Anthony Zazzarino is a Clinical Coordinator for Triple C Housing. He shares his view about the role of work and recovery. Anthony discusses the need for staff to believe that work is possible and positive for individuals in recovery. He movingly describes the important role that work has played in the life of a resident he knows, providing us with a compelling story of the value of remaining hopeful and optimistic.