Van Gogh, Hemingway, Frank Lloyd Wright, Edgar Allen Poe, James Taylor, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Michaelangelo, and Brian Wilson all struggled with their mental health. It is important to recognize that mental health issues and illness are common, and it is important to be more empathetic, interested, and knowledgeable about how to support those who may be struggling. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought even more attention to the importance of mental health, as isolation and uncertainty about the future have led to increased rates of depression and anxiety.
Gateway House is a mental health non-profit organization that provides housing, education, and transitional employment for people with severe and recurring mental illness. Both Fred Carpenter and Caroline Stewart have seen the positive impact of this type of supportive environment on their own lives and the lives of others. Stewart’s son, Elliott, found relief from his depression and anxiety through the intensive support and treatment provided at Gateway’s "clubhouse" community. Elliott was able to find friends, a sense of purpose, and employment through his involvement at Gateway. Stewart now serves as vice chair of Gateway’s board, and both she and Carpenter agree that while there is no one thing that can cure mental illness, a supportive environment like Gateway’s clubhouse can provide a sense of belonging and purpose that is essential for managing mental health issues.