*All videos are Closed Captioned on Youtube*
"Clara* was referred to Peer Services by her SAI and she has been attending peer groups daily for the past year. She came to group to learn coping skills for her schizophrenia and to socialize with her fellow group members. When I met Clara she was having schizophrenic episodes daily and she was very depressed. Clara was also self-medicating with drugs and alcohol to manage her schizophrenic symptoms. She was very good at interviewing for and getting hired at many different companies, however had difficulty keeping a job. Clara felt very lonely and was close with her family but didn’t have many friends.
Clara used to have difficulty staying in group for the whole time but something inside of her shifted. She began staying for the duration of group and she started listening and applying the skills that she learned. She developed a self-care practice which included meditation, exercise, eating healthier, and making gratitude lists. Clara also learned about positive affirmations which helped boost her confidence and defined her values, boundaries and healthy ways to communicate with her friends and family members. Clara started having less schizophrenic episodes and she soon became a leader in group by sharing her story and how she overcame adversity.
Clara has gone through a transformation in the past year and she decided that she wanted to use her story to inspire others. She recently began a new job, has gotten sober, and she is moving out of her family’s house, which has been of her goals. Clara is very happy today and has many new friends to spend time with. Clara shared recently that she is very grateful for Peer Services for helping her succeed on her recovery journey."
Mental Health Peer Specialist, Southwest Clinic
*The client's real name has been changed to protect the client's privacy."
Recovery: one word with countless possibilities. Because there is not one definition of recovery, everyone has their own meaning and their own story.
“The Agency slogan is Transforming Lives, and so, when we think of that and we think of recovery, it means to help someone progress in finding meaning in their life. They are not merely progressing towards eliminating symptoms, but to be able to live a meaningful life past the mental health challenges that they face,” said Ana Oyarvide, Recovery Manager for the Mental Health Outpatient Services Division of The Harris Center.
While the recovery journey is unique for each individual, it is a tie that binds. Those who have lived experience in recovery from mental illness, commonly referred to as peers, offer an insight that is invaluable to those who are either just starting their process or those who find it beneficial to talk to others who understand what it is like to live with a mental illness.
What does recovery look like? When you fracture a bone, you get a cast to help it heal. Once the cast is off and you are able to return to normal activities, it is assumed that you are recovered from the fracture. For those living with mental illness, though, recovery is not as simple to define because each person’s journey is unique. The children and adolescents who visit our Southwest Family Resource Center are illustrating their individual stories of recovery in a colorful and visible way by creating recovery posters.
Carla* came to The Harris Center's Peer Re-entry Program in 2019 while she was at the Harris County Jail. She struggled with substance use and felt overwhelmed not knowing how to begin her journey to recovery. She was eager and willing to make the necessary changes, but needed help.
The blue skies and shiny green leaves dancing to the rhythm of the friendly summer breeze were the perfect background for the many smiling faces at Bayland Park.
"I have been working at the Hospital to Home program at Open Door Mission. One day I was walking around in the court yard, and a resident approached me. He had been at our Southmore program a couple of times, and he remembered me.
Debra* began receiving services from the Southwest Adult Clinic earlier this year. She had faced numerous adversities including trauma, stress, betrayal and fear. Debra shared she decided she owed it to herself to make some changes regarding her mental health. The end of 2020 had been especially difficult for her, and she was ready to take a stand for herself.
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The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD strives to provide high quality, efficient, and cost effective services so that persons with mental disabilities may live with dignity as fully functioning, participating, and contributing members of our community, regardless of their ability to pay based on a sliding scale rate schedule.
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