Column: Don't let the pressure build while job hunting - there is help out there
I usually try to keep things positive and upbeat, however this past month someone from one of my online job hunting groups killed himself because he was unemployed.
He left behind a wife and a young child and people that cared about him. Some of us cared without ever meeting him.
So I decided to write a column about some of the services available to help people over the financial and mental obstacles that can come with being unemployed.
This article concentrates on help available within Washtenaw County, but there's help in all counties. Your local Michigan Works! office will have lists of agencies in your area if you are not from Washtenaw.
Many of the agencies listed here operate at no-cost or low-cost for people who don't have health insurance.
Image CC License: Yew Wei Tan via Flickr
First, we need to start the conversation and recognize that depression is not something you can “catch” nor is it something you can just shrug off.
After my friend's suicide, I heard a comment that he was selfish for killing himself. People who suffer from depression or similar disorders need real medical intervention, whether traditional or holistic — I've seen success with both. People who kill themselves are not selfish; they're responding to brain chemicals that alter their day-to-day life activities.
Second, because I know how it feels to not have a job or insurance, I want to share some of the places you can seek help. Yes, some readers might not like or agree with these groups' politics or religion, but please understand when someone is without insurance or a good source of income, these organizations offer real alternatives that take away some of the pressure of being unemployed.
I've gathered phone numbers and information from a variety of sources, but mostly from the Michigan Unemployment Office guide from a class at Michigan Works! in Ypsilanti titled “How to get a job in a tough economy.” It's a great class, and I highly recommend it.
Counseling and suicide/crisis hot lines
- U of M Psychiatric Hotline, 734-936-5900
- U of M Crisis Hotline, 734-996-4747
- Helpline, 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)
- Helpline, 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
Clothing, financial assistance, food, housing/utilities, transportation
- A variety of offerings Catholic Social Services of Washtenaw County, 734-971-9781
- Utility bills, food, clothing, transportation, Aid in Milan 734-439-8420
- Clothing, Bethel A.M.E., 734-663-3800
- Utilities, rent, burial, tax foreclosure, Department of Human Services, 734-481-2000
- Emergency services, weatherization and more, ETCS, 734-544-6850
- A variety of offerings, United Way of Washtenaw County, dial 211
- Food and financial assistance (Chelsea/Dexter residents only), Faith in Action (just inside Chelsea Hospital entrance on the right), 734-475-3305
- Clothing (men, women’s, children), Faith in Action, 734-475-3305
- Financial assistance, emergency needs, furniture (last resort) Tuesday-Friday, 9:30 to noon, Friends in Deed, 734-484-4357
- Clothing, House by the Side of the Road, 734-971-2550
- Food, utilities, transportation, Manchester Community Resource Center, 734-428-7722
- Food, fuel assistance, clothing, Manchester Family Services, 734-428-8790
- Housing vouchers, MSHDA, go to website for more information
- Food, transportation, Northfield Human Services, 734-449-0110
- Food, clothing, utilities, tax foreclosure, furniture, Salvation Army, 734-668-8353
- Prescriptions, food, transportation, utilities, SOS Community Crisis Center, 734-484-4300
- Clothing, Tuesday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., St. Vincent De Paul, 734-761-1400
- Provides parents with child care referrals to licensed child care providers, may provide some assistance with cost of child care, Child Care Network Washtenaw Regional 4C, 734-975-1840 or 1-800-777-2861
- Career help and services, Michigan Works! 734-544-6799 — I highly recommend their job seminars and classes
- Career help, classes, wide variety of services for those with disabilities. I volunteer here occasionally and love this place — great people, great services, Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living, 734-971-0277
- Employment /education services for disabled individuals, Michigan Rehabilitation Services 734-677-1125
- Legal assistance, Legal Aid, 734-994-0160
GED and education resources
- GED, reading, writing, math, Washtenaw Community College Harriet Center Location, 734-480-9950
- Reading and writing, Washtenaw Literacy, 734-879-1320
- Physicals, immunizations, diagnosis, treatment, stress management, baby care, community resources and mental health, Corner Health Center, 734-484-3600
- Medical, dental, food, laundry, utilities, Hope Clinic, 734-484-2989
- Women and men’s reproductive health, STD testing and other services, Planned Parenthood, 734-973-0710 in Ann Arbor, 810-220-4513 in Brighton, 734-485-0144 in Ypsilanti
- Seniors age 60 and up. Respite care, adult day care, chore services, meals, support groups, Area Agency on Aging, 1-800-852-7795
- Seniors who need prescriptions, home repair, ramps, Neighborhood Senior Services, 734-712-7775
- Veterans who need disability compensation, home loan guaranty, burial, emergency financial assistance, readjustment counseling, tax foreclosure, utilities, prescriptions, Washtenaw County Veteran’s Affairs, 734-973-4540
- Women who need professional apparel and a female network of support, Dress for Success, 734-712-0517
If you know of other resources, I encourage you to make use of the comment section below. If one of the above groups is no longer in business, please comment and I will fix it. I tried to call all of them before publishing this list.
Take advantage of the resources available. Once you find a job, consider donating to the groups that helped support you.
If you are a friend or a relative of an unemployed person, consider donating a grocery gift card or child care, something the person could really use while looking for work.
Lastly, if you are suffering from depression, suicide is not the answer. Call for help.