*All videos are Closed Captioned on Youtube*
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.
One of the peers worked closely with Carla to help her identify barriers that kept her from moving forward. When Carla was released from jail, she was connected with one of The Harris Center’s outpatient clinics to begin her mental health services within the community. Part of her service plans included substance abuse treatment.
Carla's journey hasn't been easy. She relapsed and went in and out of several programs exhausting her resources and leaving her homeless. However, Carla was resilient and continued meeting with her peer, case manager and psychiatrist. Eventually, Carla was connected to Section 8 Housing through the clinic and was approved for housing.
Now, Carla is no longer homeless or in and out of rehab centers and shelters. Thanks to her determination to improve, and the support she has received in the Peer Re-entry program, she is now employed and attending a financial stability class. Although Carla's recovery journey is far from complete, she is taking it one day at a time, working closely with her sponsor to remain sober. Currently, Carla is preparing to continue her higher education at a local university.
*The name of the client has been altered 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.
Javier* was referred to the Respite, Rehabilitation and Re-Entry center by the Coalition of the Homeless. He had experienced chronic homelessness for over 20 years, and also faced substance abuse challenges and bipolar disorder.
Jail Re-Entry Program: Mr. Simon* is an Iraq War veteran who was referred to us by Brothers in Arms, a program assisting veterans at the Harris County jail. Shortly before Mr. Simon was released, we offered him a bed at our new Jail Re-Entry program during the time Veterans Affairs coordinated permanent housing for him. Mr. Simon was admitted to our program on Jan. 11 this year.
"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.
"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.
We recently welcomed Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner to the Respite, Rehabilitation and Re-Entry Center.
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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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