Resident Success Stories
We asked residents to share how their lives changed because of moving into permanent supportive housing. Following are some of their stories. To respect the privacy of the resident, we have not used real names.
This is the success story of John, a resident of Myers Place, who happily agreed to share his story. This man had been living with his mother since college, when he was first diagnosed with Schizophrenia. As his mother aged, she needed to move into a nursing home and this man was able to move into Myers Place. He has been living independently for about a year and a half. He pays rent on time, gets along with his neighbors, and is getting adjusted to his new community. He makes and keeps all if his medical appointments and follows his doctor’s recommendations. He feels his successes are paying down a credit card debt of $1000 after receiving budget training, making friends through social groups and outings offered at Myers, and attending other kinds of independent living groups such as cooking group. “The groups help me understand myself and others better.” He is working towards becoming a peer support specialist so he can mentor others with a mental illness and hopes to get some direction on this through using the drop in center.
Edwin is a resident of Myers Place. He had been receiving vocational services and psychosocial rehabilitation services at the Kenneth Young Center for about 4 years. Due to symptoms of Bipolar Disorder, such as difficulty managing feelings of anger and impulsive actions, he was not able to keep a job for very long. When he became angry or frustrated, he would quit his job, avoid or verbally lash out at others. During this time, he has been working with counselors to learn how to manage his feelings and practice coping skills. Since moving to Myers Place he been able to get and keep his job part-time at a grocery store for over 2 years! His goal is to get a full-time job and get off disability. This individual feels he has built a healthy support system including friends at Myers Place and at work, family, and his church. He has also become a source of support and encouragement for others.
Moving to Myers Place for Sally was initially a big change. She had not lived on her own and she initially did not know many independent living skills. Sally can now do their own laundry and cook in her own apartment. She has been able to develop several meaningful relationships, both with residents at Myers Place and with community members she has gotten to know from exploring nearby Myers Place. Additionally, Sally had one main goal for herself when moving in to Myers Place: get a job. This resident was able to work very hard on developing various job readiness skills, such as time management, maintaining hygiene, working on following directions, etc. She was able to learn how to apply and practice these skills in a volunteer setting, and due to his/her hard work, he/she was offered a part-time paid seasonal position! A direct quote from this resident about Myers Place: "I went to my mom's last spring and she didn't believe I could do my own laundry, so I did hers! She was so surprised, I was happy to see her surprised."
Since moving into Myers Place, Jen has been able to accomplish a number of goals for herself. This resident came to a brand new community, not knowing the Mount Prospect area at all, and learned the public transportation system all on her own. Since learning the public transportation system, this resident has been able to get around in the community in order to grocery shop, visit family/friends, attend doctor appointments, as well as a number of other activities. Additionally, she has taken it upon her self to reach out to the library across the street from Myers Place to take computer classes and to learn Spanish. Both of these skills are skills this resident has been wanting to learn to help her better herself, as well as use toward obtaining a future career. More so, this resident came to Myers Place looking to "start fresh", and was able to find a part-time job on her own. This resident has been able to keep this job for about a year now! A quote directly from this resident about how she feels towards Myers Place: "I'm so grateful and thankful. This place has allowed me and other people to be independent."
This resident we will call “Jane” initially came to Myers Place hoping to maintain her sobriety, build a healthier support system and to develop a closer relationship with her children. Since moving into Myers Place in July 2013, she has agreed to participate in a variety of services in order to help her achieve her goals focused on maintaining her sobriety, learning her new community, getting a job, and going back to school. Jane decided to begin working with a mentor in August to focus on becoming a student at the local community college. With learning her new community and practicing using resources available to her, she was able to enroll in courses for the spring semester beginning in January. She continued with mentoring while enrolled in school and worked diligently to improve computer, time management, and organization skills needed to be successful in her classes. During this time, Jane was able to build her support network both at Myers and with a few individuals from the community. One of these individuals recommended her for a part-time job and she was hired in March. Since moving into Myers Place, Jane has officially completed two semesters of coursework and is currently enrolled in a third semester. Jane was able to increase her work hours to 18 hours a week and recently received promotion. In addition, Jane has successfully maintained her sobriety and has developed a stronger relationship with her children. She believes reaching these goals has had a positive impact on not only her mental health but her physical health as well. Jane says: "I really feel proud of my place and want to show it off to others. I invite my children and a few friends over for dinner on occasion and that makes me feel good.”
This is the success of story of a resident of Myers Place whom I’ll call “Jerry.” He has been living independently there for over a year now. Jerry likes to play basketball and frequently goes to the gym nearby. He also attends a midweek bible study and church on Sunday. Jerry is currently looking for a job; he was not able to do any of these things just a year ago.
Jerry had been hospitalized for one month after experiencing acute symptoms of Schizophrenia and was a danger to himself. He was given strong medication, which helped with the symptoms, but affected his memory and ability to care of himself. Jerry didn’t know what medications he was supposed to take, when, or how to get refills. He wasn’t even able to drive his car.
With the support of the Kenneth Young Center counselors on-site at Myers Place, he was reminded to take his medication and taught how to fill his pill case and call the pharmacy for refills. Mentors from KYC showed him how to clean his apartment and worked with him before inspections so that he could continue to live there. Now staff is helping him update his resumé and apply for jobs. Last week he had a job interview! I expect that he will be employed soon, which is his number one goal.
Jerry is a good example of someone who is perfectly capable of living independently with specialized support. He still needs someone to check every once in a while that he hasn’t forgotten to take his medication, and he asks for help filling out paperwork related to his benefits, and communicating with his doctors.
|fact vs. fiction on living with mental illness|