By the looks of it, you would think there are ample services for those with mental illness in my city. There are many hospitals, day centers, and drop in centers in various spots around the metro area. Many of these places offer case management services and even help with housing. The problem is – most of these places either have years long waiting lists or cater only to the poorest of the poor with mental illness.
Not too long ago, I went to an organization called Places for People. I was searching for housing help as I’m currently living in a situation which is abusive at times. I first found out that I had to be on Medicaid, the state’s insurance for those who are extremely poor and disabled. After filling out what must have been 20 pages of forms, I was told that Places for People wasn’t taking any new clients at the moment! It appears its going to be nearly impossible for me to find a case manager to help me navigate things.
I’m in a very odd position. I function just highly enough to be able to navigate things, but low enough that I really should have someone helping me at times. I have all the intelligence of an adult, but my emotional level is about that of an 8 year old a good portion of the time. If I get upset – I totally don’t understand things that are going on. I also have just enough support from my mom with money to survive…even though it’s very hard on my mom. I’m right on the edge of two different worlds all the time.
The one thing that has helped immensely is a drop in center called Self Help Center. Even though it’s a 45 minute drive away, I couldn’t live without it. Each day it has one or more peer led groups focusing on mental health and recovery. I’ve actually started training to become a group leader there. Also, going there has helped me have real friends for the first time in my life. I’ve always had problems because I’ve never quite fit in with ‘normal’ people. Everyone who attends Self Help Center struggles with some sort of mental illness but most are pretty high functioning. I’ve been to baseball games and concerts with my friends from there. Soon, we have plans to go to Fright Night at Six Flags to celebrate my birthday. For the first time, I have friends who I fit in with. Self Help Center is the one place I’ve found that turns no one away, no matter what their situation.