Housing is Critical to Mental Health

Dec 20, 2023


Focusing on your mental health, while homeless, is like trying to ride a bicycle through a swimming pool. You may make some progress forward, but you are still drowning. Angela’s client (we’ll call Mary) was trying to raise three small children, two with disabilities, while coping with her own depression and anxiety. Add homelessness to the mix and it is a recipe for crisis.  

Several years ago, Mary came to LifeWorks NW’s Adult Mental Health Program, because the children’s disabilities caused her guilt and anxiety over the future. While she’d made a great deal of progress while at LifeWorks NW, Mary and her partner decided to move to the East Coast for special programs for her children. They moved in with his mother, but then lost their housing when he relapsed from addiction recovery. 

“Mary drove the three children back across the country and called for an Intake appointment the day she arrived back in Oregon,” says Angela. “Navigating the ups and downs of her partner’s addiction and her children’s health issues had been exacerbating her mental health symptoms for some time.”   

Mary asked to work again with Angela, who also connected her with Case Manager Wendy. Together, they began working immediately on finding Mary and her children housing. Initially, Wendy was able to get them into a hotel, while Mary sought and found a job. After a few months, they were able to help Mary find long-term housing. 

“With Wendy’s help, Mary moved into her own apartment for the first time ever this autumn,” says Angela. “Her mental health symptoms are now at a manageable level, she’s working, and her children are in school and their special programs. She has such a drive for change, attending appointments, using the skills she’s learned in therapy, and collaborating with Wendy and me to move forward on housing.” 

Mary has thanked her entire team at LifeWorks NW for supporting her at a time of much uncertainty and stress.  

“She told me she has learned so much from working together in therapy, and that she uses what we discuss to work through any worries, fears, concerns or negative thoughts,” says Angela. “She’s also told me in the past that my guidance has helped her learn to choose what she focuses on, practice breathing, moving and laughing.” 

“It’s good for people to know when there are successes like this,” says Mary. “And you guys have helped my three children and I so very much!”