My name is Diana I am a Consumer of Mental Health & thank you for listening to me. I will be talking about how Mental Health & Substance abuse programs have helped me get to this point in my life.
Starting at the age of 5, I suffered many traumas in my life starting with abandonment including sexual, incest, emotional and physical abuse along with forced drug use. As a result of those traumas I was afraid of everyone I thought what happened to me that everyone else would do it to me. At 15, I quit school, I was addicted to psychoactive drugs, I was in & out of jail and became homeless most of my life until 1998.
After spending a winter in the snow homeless and being kicked out a apartment the last time on Christmas day I knew that I needed someone to help me. Someone that new the power of addiction and that would help me until I could help myself meaning love myself; get a job & a place to live. That is when I met my extended family Guy & Jeri, and they are here tonight, this family understood the power of addiction and the barriers that one faces with mental health, They worked in the prison ministry and worked with people getting out of jail they opened a janitorial business to help people when they were released. Yet, it was not until much later that I found out all of that information.
Guy encouraged me to get into treatment and in April 1998. I decided that I really needed help because what I was doing was not working. I was homeless feeling suicidal and had no family to turn to for help. So I went to the DSHS office & was eligible for GAU & ADATSA.
Through the GAU & ADATSA funding I went to Cedar Hills Alcohol & Drug treatment center which is no longer available due to budget cuts.
During the time I spent at Cedar Hills I continued to have the nightmares and suicidal thoughts even after the first 28 days of being clean & sober. I spoke to psychiatrist and was diagnosed with Post traumatic stress disorder and major depression and started medication; which worked. But I could not have done it without the encouragement from Guy and Jeri, and the GAU ADATSA funds due to the fact that I was abandon by my parents and had no other family to resort to for money.
After the 128 day stay at Cedar hills treatment center I moved in to a clean & sober housing program through Pioneer Human Services here in Seattle. After 1 yr in clean & sober housing I moved in to King County Housing for disable adults. Through this program I was able to afford my housing with the GAU benefits. I continued Mental Health care & out patient treatment for the Substance abuse and taking medications for the PTSD night terrors at Seattle Indian Health Board and went back to school to get a GED and started working in a Collection Agency.
After 4 yrs of working on Substance Abuse with Wilma and Mental Health with my counselor Laurel I ended up having a set back in my recovery because I no longer could get mental health counseling due to the budget cuts mental health counseling ended at SIHB. I lost everything again and became homeless and unemployed for another two years wondering the streets with no medication or counseling.
In 2005 I started back to mental health counseling at Sound Mental Health with Sarah. Sarah helped to me work on the emotions around death, sexual abuse Domestic Violence and Abandonment issues.
Sarah was very personable she was/is genuine she really cares She took the time to work with me not a paycheck & Sarah helped me to identify my triggers and understand the emotions around them. She introduced me to the dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) skills and training. She worked with me on my legal issues that I needed to work on. That is when I learned of Mental Health Court. In Mental Health Court the judges and the other legal representatives all are educated in Mental health as well as Law therefore they knew what my greater need was when making a sentence recommendation, Sound Mental Health is where I learned to manage my emotions so that I could follow through with staying sober and taking my medication as prescribed for mental health. After Sarah working with me for 3 years One day she kind of smiled and we went to our appointment and she realized that I can be a great Peer Counselor and offered the training information flyer to me. I called and was accepted for the training, took the test and passed.
Through the support & dedication of Guy & Jeri for believing in me, the counselors in Mental Health & Substance Abuse programs that helped me become educated about my disability. I was able over come barriers that prevented me to live a quality of life. Though their support today I am an employed as Certified Peer Counselor, I volunteer for The Warm line, I am in college and I own my own home.
I could not have made it this far without the help from these programs and funding.
So this is why it is important to my self and others that you continue to support the Mental Health, Substance Abuse programs and the funding for Medicaid these programs are evidence based I am living proof.
Remembering that these programs are evidence based and are needed in and out of jails in Washington State.