Over the summer Bernadette and I led a two lunch hour workshops at Hallmark, based in our area, which targeted employees who were dealing with depression in a loved one. Ten to twelve people attended each session, many of whom shared some of the difficulties and the loneliness they faced as a result of a family member’s illness. We made connections with several of the employees as a result of this workshop, and discovered that there was interest in developing an ongoing support group.
The first support group gathering took place last week over the lunch hour, with seven people, Bern and I included, attending. We shared frustrations, anger, hurt, and tears as we talked and listened to each other. One woman brought up specific actions she’d taken as a result of the workshop we’d led; what a joy it was to hear that our work truly was reaching people in the ways we’ve always hoped.
Thanks to a culture of support and responsiveness, a large corporation is making it possible for their employees to reach out to each other and help each other through an extremely painful time. Hallmark advertises the group, provides a comfortable and inviting space, and allows it to happen in the middle of the work day, when their employees are able to attend without eating into family obligations. We hope other businesses will follow this model, for the sake of the health and productiveness of more hurting people in our community.