One of the bravest things a person could ever do is ask for help. When we do this, we admit that we are struggling, that we can’t keep going our own. Though we often think that asking for help is a sign of weakness and that we should be able to ‘keep it together’; the fact is that none of us can live life alone, and we all need help at some stage of our story.
If you can’t see the light today, I want you to know that it does exist. Sometimes we just need the help of a friend who can see the light for us. When we ask one another for help, we allow someone to believe in hope for us, and eventually their belief in the light becomes our own belief, and we start to see it too.
When the team and I started Hope Movement, we knew there were hundreds, thousands of services, organizations and groups throughout Australia and the world who were willing to believe in this light and hope for you and me. We would list them and tick off the services they provided.
There were some obvious ones that we knew from popular culture; crisis lines like the Suicide Prevention Lifeline in America and the Kids Help Line and Lifeline in Australia. There were counsellors we knew of doing fantastic work in their communities. We knew of organisations like To Write Love On Her Arms and The Butterfly Foundation who provide resources and encouragement for people walking through issues embedded with stigma; and there were active and vibrant church communities all over the world longing to extend a welcome arm and support to people in their cities.
As we researched these, we were shocked by the prevalence- and sometimes lack of- these resources in different cities. In Australia, we are blessed to have many of these services at hand, yet in other countries this hope and help is harder to come by. The HM team knew that our community was often unaware of the services available to them; and if Australians were ignorant of these resources, we could hardly fathom how people in other circumstances and locations might find the more remote and stigmatised services that they so desperately needed.
It was in this discovery that Hope Movement decided it was worthless to ‘reinvent the wheel’. We were convinced there were some valuable and credible resources tackling nearly every topic and issue under the sun, and we would be doing little by trying to fulfill the mission of a service that already existed. Instead, Hope Movement decided to become a bridge to these resources so that Australians and people everywhere would have a safe place to come and find the help they needed for long term support in their communities.
Where does asking for help come into all of this? Sometimes we are brave enough to ask for support, and our friends don’t know what to do. Other times, we are asked to support someone and we have no idea where to point them. Hope Movement exists to mend this barrier, so that when you ask for help, you can come to our website, find your city, and locate a community service that can be directly contacted for professional support. As family and friends we are only able to carry so much, it is because of this that Hope Movement wants to link people to the professional services in their area. By connecting with these resources, those of us who are struggling can access the help and long term support we need, while our loved ones can encourage and love us in this journey.
Veronica Roth finishes her Divergent series with the beautiful quote, “we mend each other”. I firmly believe that while we cannot ‘fix’ the past or erase the damage that has been done, we are able to take the hand of our friend, drive them to the counsellors office, sit with them for that phone call or give them a shoulder to cry on. We can’t fix each other’s problems, but professional help can enable us to work through them and move on. We are broken people, but it is the support that comes from community that can mend our hearts. Our bodies, our emotions, our hearts are fragile, but our souls are strong. By listening to our friends when they ask for help and then referring them to professionals, we are playing our part in their story; the part that tells them that even though they are broken, we will believe in the light until they are able to do so.
This week Hope Movement launched our database of local, regional and national services in Australia. It is the beginning of our vision to provide you with resources to services all over Australia, and perhaps one day other nations. If you are struggling, I want you to know that the light exists and help is out there. Talk to a friend, and have them sit with you while you visit our HELP page. Find a resource or community service you may need, and go ahead and contact them. If you are that friend who so desperately wants to help others, share our HELP page on your Facebook wall or give our info card to a friend and let them know that you still see the light and the hope for their future.
We cannot fix each other, but by bridging those we love to the professional support they need and then walking through recovery with them, we can do something even greater- we can mend each other.