I distinctly remember hearing a prediction throughout my elementary and high school years in the 1960s and 1970s that the world would be different when I grew up. I would live in an idyllic world – specifically, that the daily time we spent on leisure would be significantly greater than the daily time spent on work; that life would be “easier”; that our social safety nets would protect us; that we’d be bored because we wouldn’t know what to do with all of our spare time. Alas, “prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future” (Neils Bohr).
My observation in 2019 is that the world is very different today than 50 years ago, but it didn’t evolve in quite the way imagined. My further observation is that we have a wealth of social resources, unimagined 50 years ago, yet at the same time a social support system that can be very difficult to navigate for many, if not all, of us. And a difficult system to navigate soon becomes an inaccessible system.
With those observations in mind, the efforts of our staff in our Community Mental Health Programs (CMHP) become enormously important and vital for our neighbours. We have neighbours who are so focused on survival that they have little spare time. Our health care, housing, and social support systems are especially complex for them and require a tremendous amount of their emotional, intellectual and physical resources and stamina. All too often they stumble when they are alone.
So our CMHP staff keep doing what they have done for a very long time: developing and building relationships by being available; helping to navigate the various support systems; encouraging perseverance; assisting when requested; and sometimes, just being there. Sometimes, being an active neighbour means not doing anything but just being there. No more, no less.
Mission Services of London, Community Mental Health Programs – just being there – loving God and loving others.
Written by Peter Rozeluk, Executive Director