Taurus is an intelligent, well-dressed, and soft-spoken young man. A client of Places for People for over two years now, he always speaks in glowing terms of his experiences here.
"I love it. You're with people who have the same symptoms I have and are dealing with it in a way like I am. It's a really great environment," said Taurus.
Taurus said he knows that he was very fortunate to have come to PfP when he did, for many reasons—not the least of which was his health.
By the time Taurus joined PfP, a chronic ear infection that had troubled him since childhood had become far worse than he'd ever experienced before. He was in a great deal of pain, and the antibiotics he received at a community health center when he was homeless did not seem to be working.
By the time he reached PfP, he needed surgery, which the ACTION Team quickly coordinated. Surgeons removed the bacteria in the ear and inserted tubes, which, Taurus is happy to report, are working quite well.
"My hearing is much, much better," he said. "I can hear out of both ears—the stereo effect!"
His medical concerns were only one of the challenges that eventually led Taurus to PfP.
Originally from Connecticut, Taurus was visiting a friend in St. Louis when the symptoms of a psychiatric illness worsened. His illness eventually caused him to lose touch with his family back home and to rely on homeless shelters for housing.
He spent two years moving between homeless shelters—"three months' maximum" at any one place, he had learned—which, combined with his lack of medical benefits, limited access to health care.
While living in the shelters, he worked intermittently, but the combination of the poor management of his illness, the stress of work, and the lack of a support system was too much to handle.
A friend at a shelter told Taurus about PfP and encouraged him to seek help.
"Thank God for Places for People," said Taurus. "They ushered me right into a hotel, then into an apartment and independent living."
Taurus entered PfP through the ACTION Team, which specializes in serving people who have a history of homelessness and who frequently do not have Medicaid benefits established. In addition to helping Taurus remedy his ear infection and find housing immediately, the ACTION Team also connected Taurus with the agency psychiatrist, Dr. Jaron Asher, whose adjustment of Taurus' psychiatric medications reulted in quick, pronounced improvement.
Today, Taurus advocates for himself and for his peers as a member of PfP's Consumer Advisory Panel, which serves as a liaison between consumers and PfP's Board of Directors. He is also looking forward to next fall, when he hopes to return to college to pursue a degree in Computer Sciences.
There is not one thing that has made his experience at PfP a success; rather, it is a combination of several things.
"Security of finances through a Social Security check. Security of housing through the independent housing program. And security of health," he said.
It's a winning combination for a young man with a bright future.
Places for People's web video series, "Changing Perspectives: Stories of Hope, Health and Recovery," provides a look into the lives of people living with mental illness and the people who have dedicated their careers to help.
Philipo's Path to Recovery
Places for People, Inc. 4130 Lindell BoulevardSt. Louis, MO 63108 Tel: 314.535.5600Get directions to our Recovery Center Campus