By Chrystopher Anglin
Part III of Chyrstopher's Journey
Finally, I got a job at MHASF. It has been a journey getting here. I said remember the name Scott Justus didn’t I? Scott has been a ‘good luck’ charm in my life. We have kept in contact over the years. I have written different essays/poems (whichever you may call it) about different subjects I’ve been contemplating in my life, putting photos together and setting them to music. Scott saw one and suggested that I would be good at doing some volunteer work at an organization he works at now: MHASF. He said my position would be to support MHASF’s communications department, helping to increase their presence on various social media sites and getting their services out to more people. And after reading up on the different programs (I had to do my own research on MHASF and found that they provide a variety of services to people with mental health issues) I realized how vital and urgent these programs are for the community.
Here is a list and brief explanation of what the different programs entail.
Also, are the links to the various programs.
- The Institute for Compulsive Hoarding and Clutteringis a local, national, and international thought leader which maintains the centrality of peer perspective in seeking to understand Collecting Behaviors.
- The Peer-Run Warm Line,a non-emergency resource for anyone seeking support, serving our community 6 days-a-week. The Warm Line provides assistance via phone and web chat to people who need to reach out when having a hard time. We offer emotional support and information about mental health resources.
- SOLVE (Sharing Our Lives, Voices, and Experiences) is a mental health stigma-elimination speakers bureau. SOLVE seeks to replace misconceptions and harmful beliefs about mental health challenges with our stories of recovery in free community presentations throughout the City and County of San Francisco.
- PROPELworks to support, train and place individuals, both mental health consumers and family members who are seeking to be employed or volunteer as peer personnel in the Public Mental Health System (PMHS). PROPEL also assist employers in the California PMHS in recruiting and retaining consumer and family member staff through workforce integration.
- The Marin Crisis Continuumaims to reduce the gaps in service for individuals experiencing behavioral crisis in the community. The continuum offers a breadth of response from prevention to crisis intervention services.
- DO SEND A CARD. MHASF delivers greeting cards on our monthly visits to San Francisco General Hospital ‘s psychiatric unit to offer well wishes and caring words to people in our community who may not receive this type of support, encouragement and a belief in their recovery.
Putting together this blog has been an eye-opening experience for me. I have gotten in touch with my creative skills. When I first started and even now, I questioned what I was doing was even right. I find myself asking questions and apologizing for asking them again and again. I feel like I should get things right the first go round but realizing that it takes a while to get the ‘sea legs’ back. My supervisors, Scott and Nico, have been quite helpful and very nice about me continuing to ask questions. But even as I write this, the questions get less and less and I am starting to rely on my instincts and my memory a lot more. I may not be totally comfortable just yet but I am growing in confidence which is important. Overall that is what I lost the most - Confidence. My ability to trust in myself, in what I am doing is good enough. And if it isn’t, constructive criticism is not a bad thing. Making mistakes helps you grow and part of that process is asking questions.
Another personal aspect, I had to ‘retrain’ myself in was discipline. Having a place to go each week is a wonderful thing but you must show up and be present. To me, that means - being on time dressing appropriately and giving 100% of my attention and commitment to what I do. Having been out of the workforce for nearly two and a half decades, I did not have a set schedule. I’d wake up, watch tv and exercise when I wanted. That was what I’ve often called my ‘new normal’. I became comfortable and resigned to anything changing. Now that things have changed, I have customized my daily schedule. I work two days out of the week, designing a schedule that fits me and my life goals.