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Gratitude and what’s essential

If you’re like me, you can’t help but silently add your own words of gratitude as you drive by the highway signs that thank the essential workers in our communities.

It’s been seven months since virus-related lockdowns began and COVID-19 is no longer novel and new. But that hasn’t lessened our gratitude, or the need we feel to share our heart-felt thanks with those who risk their health every day to make others’ lives easier.

While they may not be as visible as grocery employees, ER doctors, or first responders, mental health employees are service workers too and, for many of us, essential to our well-being.

I’ve had the privilege to sit in on a group of professionals from 20 or more organizations who come together on a daily Zoom call to identify stresses and challenges in the community and share information on how to resolve them.

These are the people who have helped get food out to those who need it in pop-up events across the cities. They help those who don’t have homes to socially isolate themselves in, who are in recovery, or who struggle with their mental health, meet their daily needs.

We’ve met some of them through Help and Hope Southcoast’s spotlight on local heroes. People like Matthew Boyd and Brittany Botelho who work with people when they are most in need.

We’ve interviewed others - Brian Fernandes, Damon Chapel and Danielle Brown - in our Wellness Wednesday shows that are streamed live.

Now we’d like your help in identifying local heroes whose work helps strengthen the mental, physical, emotional or spiritual wellness around the Southcoast — whose efforts bring hope and help to all who need it.

Take a moment to think of someone who has made you more hopeful. Perhaps someone who lent a helping hand when you needed it, offered a shoulder to lean on at just the right moment, or said something insightful that lifted your spirits.

It can be a professional mental health worker, or someone who may not work in any medical or social field, but is a natural caregiver. You get to choose.

Then click here and tell us about that person. How they help and what you’d like to say to them to thank them for their gifts.

We’ve said before that it’s time to meet the people who have been doing this work professionally for years. As we continue to explore supporting mental wellness on the Southcoast, it’s also time to meet those whose deep caring for others has been a foundation that the rest of us have stood on.

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