It’s okay to have a mental health condition. It does not define me. I am not defined by my past.
Hope Johnson had a full life: a home, steady employment, and a family who loved her. But after experiencing job loss, she faced very difficult and painful circumstances which ultimately led to a mental health crisis. This is the story of her journey.
In 2010, Hope had been married to her husband for three years and was workings towards “The American Dream.” She had a family and a job at Target, where she worked hard for 12 years and earned enough money to buy a home she was proud of. Then began a downward spiral.
Hope lost her job suddenly and struggled to keep up with mortgage payments. Then, over a period of time, her home was foreclosed on, her family was broken up, and several close family members passed away. Hope was overwhelmed by depression and felt like she could no longer function. Routine daily tasks seemed overwhelming. Eventually, Hope became unhoused and lived on the street for five years.
“My life was in shambles,” Johnson said.
Deep down, she never stopped believing life could get better. She held on to information about various local service programs and community resources, and one day in 2015, she received a brochure about Places for People. Hope placed a phone call and made an appointment, and slowly, her life started to change. This is when she was diagnosed with depression — a common mental health condition which causes physical and emotional complications and can decrease a person’s ability to function in their everyday life.
The IMPACT team at Places for People began working with Hope after her diagnosis. This is a multidisciplinary team of mental health professionals who specialize in helping people living with a chronic mental health condition who have become unhoused, using an evidence-based approach called Assertive Community Treatment (ACT).
Hope received the support she needed to make a plan to put her life back together, and she did just that. It has been a long road, and nothing happened overnight.
Today, Hope is healthy and stable. She has health insurance and a place to live. She is also enjoying life and making plans for the future. Hope is looking forward to getting her GED, and her ultimate goal is to become a public speaker to advocate for others who have a mental health condition. She also enjoys writing poems about her journey and experiences.
“It’s okay to have a mental illness,” Johnson says. “It does not define me. I am not defined by my past.”
Through the Integrated Health Team, Hope receives medication, counseling, and case management services at Places for People, which help her stay on track when obstacles come her way.
Her advice to others? “Take the tools and use them. What I have learned is self-love. Love for myself.”
Read more of our Journey to Healing stories. If you are interested in sharing your story with the team at Places for People, click here.
What I have learned is self-love. Love for myself.
My Life Was In Shambles
I was struggling through the dark and couldn’t see my way through.
that’s how I became homeless hoping to find a rescue.
I couldn’t understand what life was all about so I went into a shelter to see what it had to offer.
The first week of pain, I couldn’t understand why, but as I got closer to people my problems began to solve.
I thought I was alone fighting a battle against the world but realized that struggling through the dark there’s always a light at the end of every journey.
By: Hope Johnson