Griselda's Story, TRANSCRIPT . . .
My name is Griselda… In January Im gonna have six years living here in this program, you know in my apartment. Now I’m a different person. Before I was ferocious, I was depressed, I was an alcoholic. I grew up in a lot of violence and I grew up angry, you know, I almost died of drinking.
First, I went to Utah cause I was in a nursing home I had no place to live so they put me in a nursing home. Then, I decided to stop, you know, I stopped drinking for about a year then I went back to drink again.
If it wouldn’t be because of this program I don’t know where i would be right now I have a roof its my place my life has changed a lot. I prayed for many years asking for forgiveness for the abuse that i also gave my kids. I have the answer you still have them you can still give them love and then I say “wow!” you know I never thought I was gonna have the answer and I change with my kids. I have one son that doesn’t talk to me because of that you know but one day he will talk to me you know I pray for it and we’ll see what happens. this program has helped me a lot to change. My temper begin to change now I’m at peace. The help that I have from my clinician which is great, Fallon is a wonderful person very patient. you know anything I need they’re there for me. Fallon is always here for me I work in downtown Evanston I work for gap, Im very happy there. what else can i have or what else can I ask for me I’m happy the way I am. I only want what i need to live every day because tomorrow I don’t know if I’m going to be here but today I have everything I need and I’m grateful for that thanks to Impact.
Jason emigrated from Ethiopia to the U.S. at the age of 7. Jason experienced significant trauma at an early age. His father was executed for war crimes several years after Ethiopia’s civil war ended in 1991. Jason was placed in an orphanage for two years when his mother also died. He was adopted by a couple from Evanston at the age of 7.
Jason had some struggles during his adolescence but demonstrated great resiliency by graduating from New Trier High School in 2010 as a National Merit Scholar. He attended Indiana University the following fall but left school after 2 semesters and returned home. This is when Jason’s mental illness came to the forefront. He found himself unable to concentrate, became suspicious of friends and family and eventually withdrew from activities he enjoyed as well as friends and family. Jason found himself a job at a local sandwich chain but his job left him feeling unfulfilled.
Jason came to Impact in 2014 with the goal of working in a hospital because he “could relate to how people in the hospital felt” based on his own experiences with hospitalization. With the assistance of the Employment Services team, Jason applied for a position as a Patient Transporter with Aramark at Evanston Hospital. He was selected for an interview and worked hard with his employment specialist to prepare himself as a professional job candidate. After a successful interview, Jason was offered a full-time position, earning $11.75 an hour, as a Patient Transporter where his role is to safely and efficiently transport patients to and from various departments at Evanston Hospital. Jason prides himself on the quality of work he produces and makes every effort to learn patient’s names and put them at ease as he enters their rooms and takes them their next stop. Jason is genuinely excited at the prospect becoming more independent, eventually moving out on his own and the opportunity to enjoy a career with Aramark. He continues to receive support from the Employment Services team to help him manage his symptoms and succeed at work and he reports a great relationship with his supervisor, Chris, at Aramark.
Michelle sat down with Impact to talk about her favorite things about her apartment, her time at Impact and the people that she works with.
Jane has been a participant with Impact for over 10 years. She came to Impact to get support with being more independent in her living environment and daily activities. Prior to living at Impact, Jane was residing with her family and wanted to learn how to live on her own. After moving in to one of Impact’s permanent supportive housing units, Jane was able to make significant progress towards her goal of becoming more independent. She was able to engage in services with her clinician, the nurse, the psychiatrist, along with taking advantage of the Supported Employment Program.
Jane was able to obtain part-time employment, enroll in college classes, maintain and improve her family relationships, get connected with medical providers, and learn how to cook, clean and shop for herself. Jane was also able to learn how to utilize public transport to increase her independence
Like many individuals with a chronic mental illness, Jane recently struggled with coping with a number of stressors and life events that occurred at once. Jane’s mental health symptoms increased, which led her to be confused and disorganized and resulted in her not going to work or school. She also stopped taking her medications due to disorganized thoughts.
Through an integrated team approach, the Impact’s staff were able to provide the necessary supports to assist Jane with getting the appropriate treatment to bring her back to her baseline or her functioning level prior to her decline. While a brief hospitalization was required, the clinician, nurse, psychiatrist and employment specialist were all able to work together in order to help Jane return back to her apartment following the hospitalization, rather than being transferred to an institution or nursing home. Jane was able to receive therapy and support services, such as medication training and case management to get back on track with medications, benefits, and even employment. Jane has been able to return to her previous employer and is enjoying her job and spending time on her hobbies and out in the community with family and friends.
Stacy has been working with Impact's employment program for about a year. She recently sat down with her employment specialist to talk about how mental illness has affected her relationships, employment and life.