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“I COULD SEE RIGHT AWAY THAT THE CARE WAS THERE”

Dealing with depression and anxiety but not knowing how to manage it on his own, Maciej says, led to the lowest point in his life. He turned to drugs, which led to prison and near homelessness. During a stay at a psych ward, the hospital referred him to Metropolitan Family Services Southwest Center – to Social Worker Katie Reyes.

“She really saved me, honestly,” Maciej shares. “I could see right away that the care was there, like nothing I had experienced before. This person actually knows about mental health and actually cares.” Katie immediately connected him with a doctor and got him on the right medications. She got to know Maciej – “really talking, instead of just getting information from me,” he says – and his story.

“I’ve been to places I never imagined I’d be, nowhere I should ever have been,” Maciej says. “All I was dealing with was mental health. I feel like I am not the only person that this has happened to. I think mental health needs to be taken more seriously in the legal system.”

He had bounced around different facilities, paying for services out of pocket, and because he was only spending about five minutes with his care providers and wasn’t feeling heard, he was relying mostly on medication. Incarceration and stigmas around getting help further complicated his struggle with mental health; “I shouldn’t have been where I was,” he says. “A lot of people don’t need to be there, but they don’t know where to turn to get help.”

Katie showed him the steps he needed to take to improve his life, but she emphasizes Maciej took charge. “A lot of it has to do with his desire to want to change his life and want to make it better,” she says.

Maciej shares an example of wanting to go back to school after about 10 years. “I’d say, I want to go back to school, I just don’t think I can because of my anxiety,” he shares. Katie helped him lay the foundation, equipped him with the skills to cope with that anxiety. “I made the decision in 2021 to go back to school,” Maciej says. “I’m scared, but I’m going back.” He’s studying to be a counselor, like Katie.

In therapy, Maciej says, he learned how to talk to people better. “It’s about empathy, it’s about care,” he says. “My problems are sometimes so huge, [Katie] makes it seem like they’re so tiny. I’m learning from her, this is what I want to do! I want to save someone’s life.”

“I really truly feel like Maciej is a testament to what we do at Metro,” Katie says.

Now in school and regularly attending both therapy with Katie and meetings to maintain his sobriety, Maciej says his mental health is at an all-time high. “Two years ago, I could have died; the help they provide here is incredible. I’m alive, I’m healthy, I’m getting therapy. I never thought I would be at this point in my life.”

Maciej’s advice to anyone looking for mental health support? “Do not give up,” he says. “There is good help out there, and it’s life-saving. You don’t have to go through this alone”

ABOUT BEHAVIORAL HEALTH SERVICES

We offer supportive counseling to adults, children, and families in any phase of life to better handle their challenges.

Our holistic approach helps clients build on individual strengths and capacity for change, and live productively and independently in the community. When needed, we provide psychiatric evaluation and medication monitoring to keep care on track.

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