After a stay of 524 days, Richard walked out of Nashville Rescue Mission, arm-in-arm, with his sister, who he had no seen or spoken to in 34 years.
“I was shocked when I got the call from the Mission telling me my brother Richard was there,” shared Richard’s sister, Patti. “We thought he was dead. The last time I heard from him was in 1988. I can’t wait to take him home and introduce him to his great-grandchild.”
AN INCREDIBLE REUNION
It was an incredible reunion of a family long separated by Richard’s mental illness and an early battle with alcohol.
“The day Richard reconnected with his family was only possible because a dedicated group of people made a concerted effort to help someone, many might consider unreachable,” said Mark Templeton, supervisor of Mental Health Cooperative’s (MHC) PATH (Project for Assistance in Transitioning from Homelessness) program.
“I appreciate the collaboration between our staff at MHC and those at Nashville Rescue Mission. Because of this relationship, Richard and others like him can get the help they need to overcome their battle with mental illness.”
“The key to helping someone like Richard is to manage and understand the connection between homelessness, addiction, and mental illness,” said Glenn Cranfield, president and CEO of the Mission. “By providing MHC with office space at the Mission, case managers can refer those staying at the Mission and experiencing mental health issues to MHC’s PATH Program to receive comprehensive treatment for their psychosocial and psychiatric needs.”
Once Richard was comfortable speaking to a doctor from MHC and receiving the proper medication for his condition, it was only a matter of time before he began to recall names and telephone numbers that resulted in this reconnection.
“I was shocked when I got the call from Nashville Rescue Mission telling me Richard was there,” said his sister Patti. “I hadn’t seen him in 34 years, and the last time we spoke was in 1988.”
“There are many faces of homelessness, addiction, and mental illness,” said Cranfield. “Connecting a person with the services they need and developing an individual treatment plan is crucial in getting them the help they need. But before you can offer treatment, you need to start with meeting their most basic needs, such as food and shelter. A person needs to feel safe before they may be willing to trust someone trying to help them. In this case, the Mission provided Richard with a safe place to sleep and nutritious meals to eat. With patience and persistence, we were able to help Richard. It took time, but it was worth it to reconnect him with his family after so many years apart.”
MENTAL HEALTH MONTH
May is Mental Health Month. According to Psychology Today, an estimated 20 to 25 percent of the U.S. homeless population suffers from severe mental illness.
“Left untreated, mental illness can rob people of decades of health and life,” said Cranfield. “These losses are tragic because there is evidence that early intervention can prevent mentally ill people from deteriorating, halting what once seemed like an inevitable decline. At Nashville Rescue Mission, we believe every single person matters to God. Regardless of their situation, circumstance, diagnosis, or addiction, God loves them, and that’s what we are all about–showing each person who is hungry, homeless, or hurting, God loves them. No one is too far gone to be beyond His reach. There is always hope!”
Your gifts radically changed Richard’s life. And in the process, you have touched the lives of his family, the Mission staff, and everyone who has heard his story. Thank you for giving. Because of you, lives are transformed, and families are restored.
You can give others like Richard a second chance.