Community & Connection
Belonging, Support and Purpose...
The National Alliance on Mental Illness or NAMI defines community by three aspects; belonging, support, and purpose. Community involves a sense of belonging to support you and your true self. Community can offer support through difficult situations that may feel overwhelming alone. Community can also offer purpose be it for an overall cause or a role that you play in that cause. Purpose helps to derive meaning and provide enrichment to our lives.
Community can also be defined as the feeling of connection, where you as an individual feel supported and authentically you. Finding a sense of community can have a positive impact on mental health but it does not need to rely solely on one entity, one relationship, or even one group of people. Instead it can be viewed as a feeling; an overall feeling of connection to others or a purpose, feeling accepted for who you are, and feeling supported.
The task of finding community may feel daunting, especially during major life transitions. In a world following a pandemic, so much has changed. Where can we start? It’s a difficult task but we can lean on our capabilities to harness resiliency and creativity in the wake of this global pandemic. It is inherent in us. One option is to begin by looking inward. What are our core values, interests, and beliefs?
Here are a few ideas to spark some creativity and community in the Somerville/Medford area. These organizations offer volunteering opportunities, community events, and networking:
Mutual Aid was organized in early 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its anticipated impact on our communities.
The Somerville Arts Council works to make the arts an integral part of the Somerville Community.
Artists can find community through Brick Bottom a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and expanding the arts in Somerville and the greater Boston area.
The Welcome Project builds on the collective power of immigrants to participate in and shape community.
Community Action Agency of Somerville (CAAS) is a federally designated anti-poverty agency serving to help local families and individuals achieve financial security while working to eliminate the root causes of economic injustice.
Groundwork Somerville asks the question: What will future communities need in order to overcome the challenges posed by a changing climate? Answer: diverse young leaders like the members of our Green Team to bring about the sustained regeneration, improvement, and management of the physical environment.
Check out what these groups have to offer for you, or what you can offer to your community through them.
Bethany Kiuru, LMHC, MT-BC Beth received her Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Expressive Arts Therapy from Lesley University. Beth believes that developing a strong therapeutic alliance and holding space for her clients is the most essential foundation to facilitating positive processes in therapy.
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