May is Mental Health Month! Mental Health Month is about raising awareness of mental health, fighting stigma, educating the broader public, and advocating to support people with mental illness and their families. This year’s message is “Together for Mental Health,” highlighting how we can bring our voices together to advocate for mental health and access to care.
Humanim’s programs serve individuals with mental illness through supported living and housing support, rehabilitation programs, supported employment, and community support services. Like all of Humanim’s programs and services, our focus is on individualized care and self-empowerment.
Follow along on social media or our blog as we share stories to recognize the month.
Read more about our Behavioral Health Department here: https://humanim.org/what-we-do/human-services/behavioral-health/
Meet Robert! After spending 22 years in the state hospital system, Robert began attending Humanim’s day program in 2021, successfully moving into his first apartment in over two decades! Robert spent his early years battling mental health and substance use issues, finding himself in and out of hospitals in Maryland and Florida, searching for a course of treatment that worked. He also had several brushes with the legal system. With Robert’s drive to improve, he finally found himself on a positive path to recovery in 2019, assisted by hospital staff.
Moving into his own apartment was like entering a new world. Things had changed dramatically since he entered the hospital – cell phones were rare and looked like walkie-talkies, computers had floppy discs and the internet had a dial-up tone. Humanim staff assisted Robert in accessing a free cell phone and learning how it worked. Staff also helped Robert open his first bank account and access Social Security payments.
At the day program, Robert developed meaningful relationships with staff and peers, which he maintained even throughout the COVID lockdowns. As lockdowns lifted, Robert signed up for every Humanim event that interested him. He particularly loved beach trips, out-swimming people half his age. Robert wrote an essay for a scholarship to cover the cost of an Ocean City outing, and won with his description of why he loved the beach so much: “Over the course of the last 23 years, I would close my eyes and return to those days on South Beach. For you see, I have been incarcerated for the past 23 years and could not get to any beach.”
Robert is grateful for Humanim and all the opportunities he has been able to take advantage of. And we’re grateful to be part of Robert’s story and witness to his recovery.