“Breaking down barriers has been my life's work," says Sukie Thindal, Program Manager of the Transitional Living Program (TLP). "I want people to realize that individuals living with a mental illness are not different from the rest of us. It is a very fine line between what eccentric behaviours are and what mental illness is. Let's treat people living with mental illness, as we would treat anyone else. Their wants, needs, and desires are not different than for you or I."
"Brad" is a good example.
All he wants is to be happily married, have a decent home and a meaningful job. Brad (name has been changed to protect his privacy), was an exceptional athlete, did well in school and had a typical family upbringing. Things began to change in his late teens after a stressful event occurred. He believes that stress brought on his first psychotic break, which he described as being delivered ten concussions in a row.
He tried everything he could to numb his symptoms; he drank, gambled, he tried drugs and all the other typical teenage stuff. But he never sought the professional help he now claims he needed. Brad came to the TLP in his late 30's after a lengthy stay in a psychiatric ward. "We had the pleasure of working with Brad when he was ready and willing to accept his illness and work toward recovery," says Thindal.
Brad claims the program helped by supporting him with his own personal goals and by just being there and being accessible. "Brad has done all the hard work himself, and our staff have just supported and encouraged him to pursue his goals." While in the program Brad has improved his health, quit smoking, stayed free from gambling, gained insight into his illness, managed his symptoms and reintegrate into the community while becoming more and more independent.
Who does TLP help?
The TLP supports individuals living with severe and persistent mental illnesses such as Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, and Severe Depression. These illnesses can affect an individual's daily functioning and ability to cope with some of the most routine and basic life skills that you and I take for granted.