Last Friday, Trilogy hosted an Open House Extravaganza for nursing home residents who are considering moving out into the community as a Williams or Colbert Class Member. Many of the people Trilogy serves have been living in nursing facilities for years and some have never lived on their own. For these individuals, the thought of taking steps toward a more independent living situation can be overwhelming. The Open House gave people an opportunity to learn about the services we provide and to speak with peers who have already made the transition and are living independently. Attendees also got a sneak peak of our newly remodeled Beacon space, where they had the chance to get a free haircut, a free manicure, win raffle prizes, and socialize with each other.
Earlier this month, it was announced that Trilogy was a $10,000 winner in the Guaranteed Rate Ultimate Neighborhood Giveback Challenge. The award is being used to partially fund our Beacon revitalization project, which we began at the end of July. The goal of the Beacon revitalization project is to expand Trilogy’s capacity to serve individuals in Rogers Park and the surrounding community who self-identify as having a mental illness by offering them a safe space to work on their recovery. Jesse P. has been participating in the Trilogy Beacon for almost three years and he credits the services he receives in the Beacon, and other Trilogy programs, for helping him turn his life around.
This July, Trilogy is proud to celebrate our second year as a smoke-free campus! Tobacco use kills 10 people per minute, which is nearly six million people per year. About 45% of annual tobacco-related deaths in the U.S. occur among patients with mental illness and/or substance use disorders. Individuals who live below the poverty line are over 40% more likely to smoke than those above the poverty line and addiction is most likely to affect those with the least amount of information about the health risks and the least access to cessation services.
We are halfway through May, which means we are halfway through Mental Health Month! Mental health advocates across the country have been busy advocating and working hard to raise awareness and reduce the stigma associated with mental illness.
For much of my life I did not feel like I was headed in a good direction and it was largely due to not getting medication or treatment for my mental illness. In 2004, I tried getting my life on track by taking classes in automotives at several community colleges across Chicago. I was able to pick up a few college credits here and there, but each time I got involved with school I became symptomatic, I would stop taking classes, and things would get worse. Eventually, I wound up in the hands of law enforcement and was court ordered into the forensic ward of a State of Illinois mental health center. I received treatment there for several years until January of 2013.
A lot of kids say, “My dad is crazy!”, but they don't mean it the way I meant it. My dad was bipolar, but we didn’t know it at the time. At the time we blamed his alcoholism. He drank all day and used to yell at my twin sister and me incoherently. He frequently became violent, hitting us with a razor strap or a belt. We would find our favorite toys in the trash. Sometimes he accused us of doing things we had not done, but by the time I was 12 I would not let him get away with false accusations. I stood up to him, saying we had not done what he was accusing us of because to me it was worth the beating just to stand up for myself. I was in high school when I realized my father was bipolar, a disease that ran in his family.
This week, much of the United States was hit by record breaking, dangerously cold winter temperatures due to a polar vortex that swept across the country. In Chicago, temperatures dropped to a record low of -16 degrees, with gusting winds creating a windchill index of -42 degrees on Monday, January 6th. These drastic drops in temperature can have an immediate negative impact on one's physical health. A person can start to develop the first signs of frostbite within just a few minutes of exposure to extreme, cold temperatures and can develop hypothermia if subjected to these temperatures for prolonged periods, as well.