Chris had been in and out of numerous group homes and hospitals for several years and was on multiple medications before arriving as a teenager at WesCare. He had various mental health and behavior challenges and found it difficult to concentrate and process information. Due to this, and the teasing from peers in class about his academic struggles— reading in particular—he refused to attend school. “I would fight to stay home,” Chris says.
He also defied authority, and expressed “explosive rages,” as his mother, Sharon, describes. He frequently lost his temper and lashed out with extreme physical violence, posing a threat to himself and others, including his two younger sisters. At his most troubling points, he bruised and broke his mother’s ribs; and, had a meltdown that led to admittance into one of the state’s mental health facilities.
Chris needed an environment where professional, well-trained, and caring staff, in a highly structured environment, could and would be willing to go above and beyond to help him stay in school, and control his anger.
Chris stood 6’3” tall and weighed 230 pounds. Because of his size and level of aggression, many providers in his past were intimidated by him. At WesCare he was placed in an environment that was highly structured and surrounded by staff that were experienced and willing to establish themselves as authority figures. “When he showed us the same behaviors he had shown other providers, we didn’t call mom or the police,” says Eric Page, WesCare Operations Manager. “We dealt with the behaviors ourselves using approved NCI techniques. This allowed Chris to feel safe in this new environment knowing that his new staff wouldn’t allow him to hurt himself or anyone else.”
WesCare provided Chris with a support staff that gave one-on-one specialized attention catered to meet his unique needs. “A behavior contract was set up so that he could earn a little money or activities based on a set of goals,” says Eric. “He could not receive anything beyond the bare necessities without earning it.” With patience and kindness, Chris was supported in developing day-to-day living skills, like showering, dressing, and picking up after himself. He was also given volunteer “jobs” and responsibilities around the group home to help foster self-worth and ownership.
Throughout his two-year stay, it was mandatory that Chris attended school daily. A plan for success was created and the staff partnered with his school to ensure he had the resources and support needed to stay on track. The staff worked with Chris on his reading skills and supported him in completing his homework.
Anger Management Techniques
WesCare provided Chris with ample opportunities to channel his anger into positive outlets. As a fan of football, he was encouraged to play the game to relieve stress. When he shared his love for horses and asked to volunteer at a local horse farm, his request was granted. He spent hours outdoors ensuring their care.
Chris went on to graduate from high school. He was able to read with confidence in front of his peers and managed to control his anger and focus enough to complete assignments.
Today, he lives with his parents in Wake County. He helps care for his father who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. He also volunteers in the neighborhood, cutting trees, mowing lawns, and clearing debris. He still tends to horses, helping a cousin care for those of her own.
He’s also medication-free. Instead of taking up to six different pills a day, he takes an herbal supplement, valerian root, but only “once every blue moon, when I really need it.” He continues to handle his anger in constructive ways, by working with his hands, caring for animals, and being outside. When he does have “his moments,” what used to be an all-day ordeal at times now lasts between 30 to 60 minutes at the most.
Sharon says she will be forever thankful for the persistence and care WesCare took in supporting her son in this massive transformation.
“I could never sing enough praises for what they had done. They started a process that would allow him to succeed and allow us to bring him back home.”
WesCare keeps in touch with Chris, even years after he’s left the program.
“They still come and see him on his birthday. That shows how much they care about their clients,“ Sharon says.
Chris calls at least a few times each month to share his progress. He thanks the WesCare team for helping him to turn his life around. “I had a whole lot of staff helping me do what was right instead of what was wrong.” If it weren’t for the attention and direction he received, “I don’t think I would’ve seen my 26th birthday.”
To learn how we can help someone in your life better manage their mental health and behavioral challenges, contact us.