Stories: Marvin learned to accept help for his mental illness & received a second chance at life

This story was provided courtesy of June Winston, Executive Director of Lowenstein House, a partner agency in United Way’s network of care. Names and images have been changed to protect client privacy.

Marvin got a second chance in battling his mental illness.

At the age of 20, college student Marvin knew something was wrong, but didn’t know what was causing his problems. He went to counselors, and explained that he didn’t know what was happening to him.

After a series of tests, Marvin was diagnosed with a mental illness.

Marvin did not respond to the diagnosis well. He rejected the notion of being labeled “mentally ill” – so much so, he refused to take his medications. His behavior grew worse and he became so irrational that his family was no longer capable of taking care of him. His illness caused family relationships and friendships to deteriorate, and eventually Marvin ended up homeless with nowhere to go.

Marvin lived on the streets for several months until he was connected with a nonprofit case manager who helped get him into a transitional housing facility. The case manager worked with Marvin and helped convince him to take his medication. In time, Marvin became more stable and he was referred to one of United Way’s partner agencies, Lowenstein House.

Your Support Impacts LivesMarvin’s connection with the agency was sporadic at first, but over time his attendance became more regular. Programs at the agency helped Marvin learn vocational skills and provided social, recreational and educational activities to help people with mental illness achieve greater self-sufficiency.

“Marvin started participating in one of our support groups. He learned how to accept and deal with his illness,” an agency counselor said. “After a few years in the program, he expressed an interest in going to work.”

With the help of the agency’s job coach, Marvin found a job with a construction facility as a clean-up person. After a year of working with the company, he was considered as a possible candidate for salesperson position. After five years with the same company, Marvin continues to do his job well and one day he hopes to move into management.

Thanks to your support of United Way’s network of care, programs were available to help Marvin accept his need for medical treatment and gain the confidence needed to find and keep employment. Your support helps many other people with challenges obtain the help they need to move toward greater self-sufficiency every day.

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