Crisis Success Story
I came from Tallahassee, FL and moved to Des Moines to get away from crack cocaine in 2014. I had been clean off and on for about 10 years but couldn’t avoid drugs there. I was staying at the shelter (Central Iowa Shelter Services), but was kicked out from there due to a misunderstanding over a box cutter, so I went to the Crisis Observation Center. From there I went to the Crisis Stabilization Center where I was able to get on the right medication and establish a healthy daily routine. I also received counseling about how to stay focused, establish boundaries, and take care of myself. I learned that there are consequences for everybody’s actions and how to avoid negative consequences.
Now I have my sanity back and peace of mind. I started a full-time job at Red Lobster so I’ve been able to save some money and am getting ready to move into an apartment at Mainstream Living. I also created a WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) with reminders about how to stay well, information about my medications and contact information for all the people who support me in staying well. I am now able to maintain my physical and mental health.
This Services is a Godsend!
Kelli is a woman in her mid-50’s who had worked hard, raised three children as a single mom, and had a career as a Certified Nursing Assistant. In her own words, she “always knew that (she) wasn’t right”, but didn’t know what her problem was. She pushed on and did what she needed to do, until the spring of 2015 when she became completely overwhelmed with her feelings of depression and anxiety while staying with her son and his family. Feeling that she was at the end of her rope, she walked 2 miles to the offices of a mental health professional that she found in the phone book. He was unable to meet with her that day, but assisted in directing her toward the help she needed. She eventually came to the Crisis Observation Center and from there to the Crisis Stabilization Center where she spent the next two months.
In her evaluation written at her discharge, she wrote “This service is a godsend! I couldn’t have gotten well without the help of the wonderful staff! Eyerly Ball helped me to get new glasses and dentures, and they found the doctors that I needed and a case manager. They educated me on my mental illness, taught me med(ication) management and coping skills... It’s just a wonderful place for anyone with a mental illness who is willing to get the help they offer.”
As Kelli implied in her closing phrase, the Crisis Stabilization Center is not a housing program or shelter, but a place where clients must be engaged in their treatment. Participation in individual and group therapy, appointments with case managers and medication compliance are strong expectations. Our staff works with each client to set reasonable goals for physical and mental health stabilization and provides support and resources for meeting them. There were days that Kelli got frustrated and wanted to give up, but she continued with the encouragement of staff and other clients. Some choose to leave rather than meet the expectations, but with hard work and determination, most leave the center for stabilized living in a variety of settings in the community.
My Son - the Gentle Giant
At the age of 27 my son, a gentle giant, began a nightmare which ended at the age of 34 when he left this world. Always a happy young man, Kevin changed overnight and became a paranoid and delusional schizophrenic.
One day Kevin called me from California and told me that he loved me and not to worry. I became concerned because this call did not sound like the Kevin I knew and loved. After several phone calls and fears piling up, Kevin finally came home.
The home that had been his refuge was now frightening as he did not remember me, his grandmother, or his family. The nightmare continued as we went from hospital to hospital trying to find help. The treatments were short and ineffective so we turned to the courts, but it was always the same... “Yes,” the judge would say, “He can go out into society. He seems fine.” My son was not fine.
The anger, the fears, the emotions, the storming out of the house, the frightening times he had with us and with his grandmother continued until we could find a program that knew what to do and would listen to us instead of shut us out. This battle for Kevin's rights continued until we found Eyerly Ball.
Eyerly Ball has many outstanding services, but the Program for Assertive Community Treatment (PACT) brought our son back to us. The individuals who worked in the program became our son’s friends, social workers, confidants and family until the end. They helped Kevin through the constant turmoil in his mind, the fears he would have and allowed him to express those fears and angers without judgment. Every day they would check on him and let him know he had someone who cared. They brought him back to us and helped us understand.
People who have not experienced this scenario have no idea the nights we cried as we battled to find help for our son. My husband is a physician and I am a community volunteer, politician and educator, and together we fought the system until we were able to find PACT and its sensitivity toward all of us. It is PACT who saved my son, and saved our family as well.
Kevin developed diabetes and left us in the fall of 2012. The pain in our hearts when our Kevin left us will never go away. Knowing that he is safe, and the pain of his illness is gone from him, helps us to wake each morning. Every day I tell my son, “We will never stop. We must help those with mental illness. We must advocate for the voiceless to those who make the laws to ensure that programs and agencies like PACT and Eyerly Ball are fully funded." This is my message to all the Kevins in the world.
If you have a personal story of how Eyerly Ball has impacted your life, or the life of someone you know, that you would like to share, please contact Eyerly Ball at firstname.lastname@example.org.