How to Find Help and be a Helper
The goal of the Untold project is to allow people who feel unheard to share their stories in moments of human connection, and tell stories that nobody else can tell.
You have a unique story that nobody else can tell, too. You are the only you, and your humanity is imperfect and flawed and important. You are worthy of being heard, and of connecting with other humans and with yourself.
In this season of life, you may find yourself needing help or wanting to help others. Whether you want to share your untold story with someone else or listen to someone else share theirs, there are resources specifically for you that can make your life better.
Life goes on, as it does. We all need human connection, and some need it more in these times than ever. As you shift your lifestyle and priorities to fit into the new reality of daily living that COVID-19 has created, it is important that you have human connection, too. It is important that you are seen, that you are heard.
Resources for you:
Ways to Be a Helper
With your money:
- Financially support homeless organizations, like the Texas Homeless Network and People Assisting The Homeless (PATH).
- Donate personal grooming supplies, socks, and hats (like baseball caps – or really any type of hat) to a local homeless shelter. These items are usually in low supply and are always greatly appreciated.
- If you donate canned goods to a food pantry, try to find ones that have a pop top, because they don’t require a can opener.
With your time:
- Volunteer your time, if safe and possible, to a local program helping homeless people.
- Keep a few water bottles in your car, if you have one, and offer them to somebody who looks like they could use it. Even better if you put the water bottle in an empty bag (a grocery bag is fine) – somebody without a place to rest will appreciate any kind of bag so that they can carry their stuff around.
- Check in with your loved ones, even if it’s simply with a text saying “I appreciate you”.
- Be nice to homeless people you see on the street. So many people avoid eye contact or smiling at the homeless – even if you don’t wish to have an interaction, a smile and acknowledgement can help someone feel human.
- Even a small “hello” or head nod can be a small mitzvah and make someone feel seen.
- Wear a face mask when in public – COVID affects us all, but it is especially dangerous for people living on the street, who can’t socially distance or quarantine themselves.
Ways to Help Yourself
If you’re experiencing homelessness or financial hardship:
- Type your ZIP code into https://www.findhelp.org/, which will connect you with resources for food, housing assistance, medical assistance, jobs, and more.
- If you live in Dallas, here are some homeless shelters and other resources with a tool to sort by gender, age, familial status, and more. If not in Dallas go to https://www.shelterlist.com/.
If you are struggling with mental health issues or addiction during COVID:
- Seek therapy. Your insurance provider may cover it, but if not, there are several free ways to access therapy. Look online to find more specific details for your city.
- Find resources to help with addiction and mental illness: https://www.samhsa.gov/find-treatment from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Or call them at 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
- Go to the Suicide Prevention Hotline Website or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
If you just want someone to talk to:
- https://www.7cups.com/: free online volunteer listeners and optional paid therapy
- https://www.crisistextline.org/: free text message therapy system with 24/7 crisis support. Text “HOME” to 741741.
- If you are a student or employee of The University of Texas at Dallas, call 972-UTD-TALK (972-883-8255) to access a trained mental health professional 24/7. You don’t need to be suicidal: you can call even if you are stressed out and just want someone to talk to.
- If you’re a UTD student or employee, you can see a therapist for free.