Calvin, a 24-year-old, African American male, was referred by the Alameda County Public Defender’s Office while in custody for a carjacking while under the influence. He was incarcerated for a year prior to entering treatment at a local treatment center and then Bonita House Residential Treatment and was mandated to a year of treatment to satisfy legal system requirements. He has ongoing case management support from the Alameda County Sheriff Office’s Youth and Family Services Bureau. Despite self-reported memory loss of incident leading to incarceration client presented with fair insight around poor judgment, impulse control, secondary to lack of sober coping skills and subsequent meth abuse. A client referred with a diagnosis of major depressive disorder and stimulant abuse.
Initially, Calvin did not believe that his substance abuse impacted his mental health negatively, shared that substances “makes me think about and question my sense of reality” and that “drugs make me feel better.” Due to past trauma and mental health struggle, Calvin identified himself as “not having feelings” when he first entered treatment and focused successfully on re-connecting with emotions and as a result of his empathy and ability to connect with others. Calvin also struggled with hopelessness, loss of interest, and poor judgment related to major depressive disorder leading to his use of methamphetamines. Subsequently, this resulted in poor impulse control which has led him to be incarcerated.
He was able to actively learn and practice new coping skills to increase his mood stability and reduce thoughts of self-harm and hopelessness while increasing his motivation. Calvin was able to identify and practice positive coping skills, build healthy relationships, and made progress towards recovering from past trauma and identifying ways to balance self-care with fulfilling his responsibilities to self and community. Calvin also took the initiative to develop a positive support network outside of treatment by attending recovery meetings and arranging a stable living situation with his grandmother and a job as a mover.
His significant improvement while in treatment led to his graduating from treatment after just 4 months, with approval from the court. Case Managers from Berkeley Mental Health who knew Calvin well from his time spent actively using on the streets of Berkeley and interactions with Mobile Crisis shared with 1410 staff that he was almost unrecognizable from how they had known him. (It, in fact, brought the BMH supervisor to tears to see how well he was doing).
Calvin exemplifies BHI’s success in promoting wellness among our African American clientele with mental health, substance abuse, housing, health, social and vocational challenges.