What makes life worth living? Every Brilliant Thing answers that question with humor, joy, and compassion. We see how one person dealt with a loved one’s attempted suicide and battle with mental illness by creating a list of those things that make life worth living. At Courage to Caregivers, we would put “family” high on that list. Formed in 2017 to provide hope, support, and courage to anyone who cares for someone living with mental illness, Courage to Caregivers is building a community of caregivers, professionals, peers, and other supporters in Northeast Ohio. In the process, we’ve become a very close but ever-growing “family” – if you will – dedicated to the principle that self-care is essential, even for the most selfless of individuals. We know when you take better care of yourself, you are able to provide better care to those you love. If caregiver burnout is the problem, we believe self-care is the solution. This is because caregivers, who unselfishly dedicate much of their lives to caring for others, often neglect their own emotional and physical health needs. Yet a focus on self-care is absolutely essential for a caregiver to remain strong, avoid burnout, and continue providing the best support possible for their loved one.
The idea for Courage to Caregivers can be traced back to the day in June 2010 when founder Kristi Horner got a call from her brother who was feeling suicidal. For the next four years, Kristi and other family members became his mental and emotional caregivers, until he eventually lost the battle to suicide. Reflecting on this experience – an emotionally draining roller-coaster ride full of feelings of uncertainty, confusion, loneliness, and helpless among many others – Kristi decided to form a nonprofit focused solely on the needs of caregivers who are supporting a loved one with mental illness. Courage to Caregivers was born.
One of the organization’s first acts was to survey more than 150 caregivers throughout the region to identify their needs. Based on the results of this survey, Courage to Caregivers currently offers three programs:
The goals for our support groups include reinforcing a variety of skills that seek to empower the mental illness caregiver as well as establish a caring community. Through these programs and its growing “family” of volunteers, participants, and supporters, Courage to Caregivers is educating, supporting, and empowering caregivers to make self-care a priority – and to better appreciate all of the things that make life worth living.
For more information, contact Kristi Horner at Kristi@CourageToCaregivers.org, or call (216) 536-7699.
- Jon Barnes
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