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Ms. T. sits on her couch with Donald.

2020 was a difficult year for many of us mentally. But one shelter guest told us it was the year she was finally able to manage her mental health challenges and succeed.

Ms. T. began experiencing symptoms of depression in 2009. At the time, she was an IT professional, enjoying her life in Arlington. She was diagnosed with depression and began taking medication that made her sick. So she stopped taking it.

In 2013, she began to suffer delusions. One day in the midst of a delusional episode, she felt that a police officer was threatening her so she spit at him. Ms. T. was arrested and charged with assault and battery. She was released on probation, but things got worse. Ms. T. soon lost her job and apartment, becoming homeless in 2015. She began cycling through shelter, jail, and hospitals for the next 5 years.

Ms. T. arrived at RPC shelter in February 2020 right after New Hope Housing took over. She felt ready to make a change. She was surprised to find the staff was very welcoming and friendly. Her case manager, Ryan, took a genuine interest in helping her. He took time to learn about her mental health history. They made plans to inform and prepare staff should Ms. T. experience any delusions while she was at the shelter. Ryan also helped her monitor her medication as her doctor varied the dosage.

She committed to seeing her doctors, and taking her medications. She went to all appointments and when she began to feel stable, chose to work with the housing case manager. Ms. T. moved to an apartment on January 14, 2021!

Ms. T. is taking online courses to add to her IT skills to help get a job as soon as possible. She misses coffee shops and seeing friends. She looks forward to returning to normalcy.

Ms. T. wants to thank everyone at RPC, especially Ryan, Donald (seen in the photo above), Blue, and Chaunice, and every volunteer who gave furniture and supplies to decorate her new home. She knows she still has a long journey ahead of her, but the support she has received has made all the difference.