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Two years ago, my wife of 26 years passed away. I didn’t really grieve it because she had been sick for a long long time. I just tried to push through it and go on with my life.

I was self-employed at the time, delivering goods for a company that made me a lot of promises and never followed through. This went on for about a year and a half – I couldn’t make ends meet. Bills piled up, I couldn’t afford groceries, couldn’t keep my vehicle in good repair, and ultimately I applied for bankruptcy. That was July 2016.

I thought the bankruptcy would spell an end to my troubles – it didn’t … things got worse and worse. The straw that broke the camel’s back was that my cat became ill and I couldn’t afford to take her to the vet and she passed away. That brought out every emotion in me that had been suppressed. Two days later, the truck broke again – I had no money to fix it. I just quit my job on the spot – and quit on life. And I went to bed for six days, hoping that it would just all go away.

On the sixth day, there was a knock on the door and it was the police and paramedics. My employer had called them as no one could get a hold of me. I was then hospitalized for 16 days to manage my suicidal depression. On the final day I met DMHS’ Hospital-to-Home worker, who connected me with DMHS’ Community Support. Over Christmas, I was all by myself, I was due to be evicted on January 4 from an apartment that I had lived in for 28 years. I made it through the Christmas season and finally met with my DMHS Community Support Worker.

The first thing that happened was contacting the Durham Community Legal Clinic and getting a two-month stay on my eviction. We connected with Ontario Works also which provided some financial
relief. We connected with my bankruptcy trustee to find out where the arrears were on my CPP Survivor Benefits, and I ended up receiving an overdue payment. I connected with an employment agency put together a resume, and – despite my anxiety about work – applied to some delivery jobs.

All of this triggered painful childhood memories, which led to me going further downhill. I lost my desire to do anything. I was abusing alcohol, drinking at least 8 tall-boys a day. I was just a shell of myself. My worker, having built up trust, persuaded me to willingly go back to the hospital, with the difference this time that I had close and fully committed support in place. It was the genuine personal relationship he had established that sustained me.

I stayed in the hospital this time for 9 days. During this time I lost my apartment, but I had willingly made a decision to let that go. I was ready to move on with my life and put the past behind me. While I was in the hospital, I got a call from a company to schedule a job interview for a delivery job.

Upon discharge, I was brought to the Crisis Beds and I received nothing but the utmost respect and care from total professionals, including my Community Support worker who visited me every day. OW continued to work with me and provide financial support. I had my job interview and was successful in getting the job – 25-hours of work a week in my preferred field without the financial burdens that went with my previous delivery job.

Next, I needed a roof over my head, and my DMHS Community Support Worker helped me find a safe, decent, affordable place. The first day I went to work and got my time card, it was the best feeling I had had in probably 25 years, just knowing I was contributing to society again. It gave me a sense of purpose and something to get up for.

One of the first things I did was buy myself some jeans. And then running shoes and other clothes. I felt like a new man. I’m back on my feet and I feel good about where I am right now. I couldn’t have got to this point without the help of DMHS Community Support – not just the referrals and the help with problem solving, but the human relationship he established through his dedicated support.

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