He was born in jail…

Story of Hope

He was born in jail, lived in group homes throughout his youth, and faced abuse from many people
in his life. Though he middle-aged now, currently enrolled in school, ran a group home for youth, and
had three children of his own, none of these were reasons enough to him to keep living in the face of
his traumatic memories and the loss of a significant romantic relationship.

During our initial follow-up contacts, the man expressed a lot of anger at the injustices he has
suffered and his belief that no one could understand the pain he feels in a daily basis. He felt alone
and abandoned, and though he did not have an imminent plan to kill himself, saw little reason to
continue to struggle through every day. Our main focus early on was to continue building rapport and
to let him know that he wasn’t alone, that there were people who cared that care about him and what
he was going through. We also pointed out the strength it must have taken to survive all of the trauma
of his youth. Due to having been forced into therapy until age 18, he had little regard for mental
health services and their ability to help him, and little hope in general. He did mention that therapy
would be vital to his safety nevertheless, however, so we encouraged him to make use of the services
available to him, and discussed potential ways he could make these services more productive and
more beneficial.

Despite his initial anger and distrust, in subsequent calls he was much calmer and more optimistic.
He explained that he was moving toward accepting his circumstances, and felt that because he made
it through the previous few days he could handle anything. He began to see the positive aspect of
having ended a toxic relationship, and that having gone through this previous crisis made him realize
that he deserved something better. We encouraged this new outlook and discussed whether future
situations would trigger similar incidents or thoughts of suicide. We wanted to make sure that his
new optimism wasn’t just temporary, and that he had a plan for the long-term. He assured us that he
would stay busy with his job and with school, and focus on the positives rather than ruminating on his
history. He was grateful for our services and the support we gave him during this time, and agreed to
call us if a future crisis arose.