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Ropes and Challenge


Patient Case Studys

Mike’s Story

Mike was born with a severe developmental disability – microcephaly, small head size, which limited his intellectual development and caused the near loss of ambulation.  Mike’s parents, poor and lacking the necessary skills to care for him, reluctantly gave him up for placement in a state institution when he was three.  Mike would spend the next 18 years of his life there, separated from family, community interaction and the social supports we all take for granted.

Fortunately, for Mike, the state decided to close the institution and folks from Valley visited Mike and thought he would do well in one of their community programs in Morgantown.  In the last ten years, he has done exceedingly well.  Mike lives in a group home with three other gentlemen and attends a day habilitation program five days a week.  He has developed fast friendships with his housemates and staff.  Institutional behaviors such as periodic screaming and repetitive self-destructive behavior have gone away.  Mike has learned to participate in household chores such as cleaning and helping to do laundry and he thoroughly enjoys the household outings to the mall and various restaurants.

Mike is very active in Valley’s day hab program, as well.  He participates in living skill classes, goes on outings and interacts positively with all his friends.  He is even beginning pre-vocational classes with the hopes of getting a job one day, something that nobody in the institution would have ever dreamed possible for Mike.  But probably the most important thing that has happened in the decade since his discharge from the institution is that the tragedy of his separation from his parents has been resolved.  Mike visits his folks at least one weekend a month and they visit Mike at his home regularly.  Truly, Valley has helped to enrich Mike and his parents’ lives.

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Debbie’s Story

Debbie first encountered Valley when she called Valley’s Suicide Hotline.  The story she told to the crisis counselor and then repeated in Valley’s Crisis Stabilization Unit was profoundly chilling.

Debbie had been sexually abused by a relative as a teenager.  The abuse went on unabated for three years before Debbie got the courage to report the incidents to a school social worker.  The damage had been done, however.  Debbie’s self-esteem was shattered.  Her schoolwork suffered and although she was able to graduate from high school, her attempts to attend college classes were interrupted by episodes of severe depression.  Her dreams of becoming a veterinarian were gradually slipping away.  Her attempts to develop close relationships with men always ended with her fears of intimacy.

Debbie hit the breaking point after a screaming match with her mother about the hours that she was spending in bed each day.  The argument ended with Debbie’s mother ordering her out of the house.  After several days of sleeping in a shelter, Debbie became consumed by thoughts of suicide.  After using her last few dollars to purchase a bottle of over-the-counter sleeping aids and a pint of vodka, she contemplated how and when she would end her life.  

Before leaving the shelter to wander to the river, however, Debbie saw a brochure about Valley’s Suicide Hotline.  After much angst, Debbie decided to call.

Upon hearing Debbie’s story, Valley sent out an outreach worker to meet with her.  The worker urged Debbie to come to Valley’s Crisis Stabilization Unit.  Debbie’s life renaissance began there.

After discharge from the Crisis Unit where she was provided with helpful antidepressants, Debbie was scheduled for ongoing therapy and medication monitoring.

One year after Debbie’s call for help, Debbie’s life is dramatically different.  Although, she is still on a light dose of antidepressants, her outlook on life is sunny.  Because of Valley’s intervention, her mother allowed her to come back home after her stay at the Crisis Unit.  Her therapy has significantly lifted the guilt, shame and trauma of the abuse she suffered.  She eventually gained employment as a veterinarian assistant and has moved into her own apartment.  She has re-enrolled in school and is determined to become a veterinarian.  She would like to enter practice with her boyfriend of six months, Bill, who she met in a biology lab.

From the bleakness of suicidal ideation to the brightness of a happy life because of a phone call to Valley HealthCare System.

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Hank's Story

Hank is a 40-year-old black male who is employed at a major hotel chain as a maintenance worker. He has held several jobs of this type since obtaining his GED after his return from military service.

Hank first learned about Valley through a friend who had been through Valley’s DUI Program and felt that “it changed his life.”  After several times saying he was going to call, Hank finally stopped by Valley after work one day and met with a substance abuse therapist who just happened to have an opening because of a client cancellation that afternoon.

Hank has been divorced twice, claiming that both marriages ended because "we both drank too much and fought all of the time." He is currently in an on-again/off-again relationship with a younger woman who also works at the hotel with him. Currently, Hank is drinking four to five times per week, mostly in the evenings and on weekends. His alcohol consumption has steadily increased, and he is finding himself drinking more and more on days when he has no plans to do so. He feels he is easily influenced by his friends, especially the ones he plays cards with weekly and associates with on the weekends. He has considered AA because one of his oldest friends is in early recovery and offered to take him.

After the initial meeting with the therapist, he met several more times and actually began to look forward to his “meetings.”  He realized though that he was still using and still had strong urges and needed more immediate relief.  That is when the therapist suggested that Hank consider residential treatment at Valley’s residential addiction program, the ACT Unit.  This more intense level of treatment would allow Hank to get a stronger hold on the early issues facing him in his recovery from addiction.

Hank struggled with this but finally met with his boss and they agreed he needed and could enter the program and his job would be secure.  He completed the program and is still currently involved in an evening intensive outpatient program at Valley which meets several days a week in the evening.  Hank attends AA each day and recognizes that he has to move slowly and work the treatment plan and program that he and his therapist developed.

Hank has been clean and sober for about 12 weeks and still has along way to go. Now, however, he has hope and more importantly he has a plan.  Hank admits that it was more than just coincidence that led him to Valley that day after work.  Hank believes that his “higher power” in conjunction with the quality therapy services he receives at Valley has helped him on his road to recovery.  For Hank, he knows that “Recovery Works.”

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OUR MISSION: Valley HealthCare System shall improve our community’s health by delivering the highest quality behavioral health care guided by our consumers’ needs.