In Courtyards, News
Dwayne, right, with his dog Zoe, in front of their apartment with the resident services coordinator, Daryl, left.

Dwayne, right, with his dog Zoe, in front of their apartment with the resident services coordinator, Daryl, left.

 

Dwayne’s road to mental health through a permanent home

May is Mental Health Month

One in five Americans experiences a mental health condition, and all Americans are touched through family or friends. Clifford Beers Housing is participating in the Mental Health Month to fight the stigma of mental illness. And CBH is making a difference by providing permanent supportive housing for people who, like Dwayne, face homelessness and mental illness.

Dwayne beams as he plays with his dog Zoe in their apartment. He has lived in CBH’s The Courtyards apartments for four years. Dwayne was in foster care and faced a severe mental health condition from childhood. He became homeless at the age of 18, cycling from apartments to psychiatric hospitals, hotels, and sleeping on the streets. “I went into a psych hospital, and when I got out my rent wasn’t paid, so I had to leave with only a backpack,” Dwayne states. “The lowest I went was being on the street. I ended up riding the Blue Line back and forth just to stay warm. My mental health got so bad when I was on the street, taking care of myself went out the door.”

Dwayne came across CBH’s social services partner at The Courtyards, the MHA Village, due to a psychiatric episode. Caseworkers at the Village put him up in a motel first before helping him move into The Courtyards. Dwayne says that having a permanent place to live helps with his mental and physical health. Dwayne graduated from the Village’s recovery program and now lives independently. The Courtyards staff support Dwayne in taking his medication and providing other services to maintain his new lifestyle.

“I’m on another level,” Dwayne says. “I want to move on to a new stage in my life. I’m truly grateful to be given my own home. I still have a long way to go, but if I can share my story on my road to recovery – that’s one of my greatest hopes, to be able to help somebody else by sharing where I came from and where I am today.”

Mental illness is a leading cause of homelessness in the United States. And as Dwayne experienced, being homeless causes more illness. But safe and affordable housing, in combination with health and social services, is effective to break the cycle of homelessness. It helps people become more active, valued and productive members of their communities.

How can you be involved? Donate, volunteer and communicate! Use #MentalHealthMonth to share your story and be the solution. And comment below! Your information will not be made public.

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2015 mental health facts infographic from the National Alliance on Mental Illness
2015 mental health facts infographic from the National Alliance on Mental Illness - click to expand.

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Clifford Beers Housing 2015 revenue chartCBH's advocacy team with Assemblymember Burke in Sacramento, April 2016.