At age 12, Nick was devastated by the death of his father. Then, five years later, his mother died of pneumonia. As Nick’s grieving transitioned into full-fledged depression, he thought about taking his own life every day.
After his mom died, he lived with family. They were heavy drinkers whose name calling and belittling crushed his self-worth and stability.
With no hope of returning to a normal life, Nick numbed the pain with alcohol and drugs.
“I drank 40 oz. beer daily and smoked a lot of marijuana,” says Nick.
Nick’s problems got worse. By age 22 he had wasted every penny of his father’s $25,000 inheritance on his addictions. He also attempted suicide on several occasions.
To avoid his toxic relatives, Nick left Nunavut for Winnipeg. But he couldn’t escape mentally. Another suicide attempt by pill overdose found him hospitalized for seven months. Group work and individual therapy helped get his depression under control.
In order to transition back to community living, Nick needed direct supports. He lived at The Salvation Army’s Haven, a residential facility in Winnipeg for adult males dealing with mental health challenges.
The Haven recognizes the worth of all clients without exception and partners with individuals to develop a client-centered program that focuses on life skills, development, insight into one’s mental health diagnosis and plans for future success in community living.
“The Salvation Army showed their love and interest in me,” says Nick. “Something I never had after the death of my parents.”
Learning about nutrition and how to cook supports Nick’s mental health. Budget management helps him make wise decisions. And good coping skills have created distance from his past mistakes. He has also regained confidence from completing his Grade 12 education.
“The Salvation Army is like family to me,” says Nick. “They helped me take back my identity. Life looks brighter than it has for many years.”