Client Story – John

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Johnwas referred to PLAN of PA by his mother in the late fall of 2012. He is a young man in his late twenties, who has suffered with bipolar disease since his late teenage years. Unfortunately, John’s mental illness has led to multiple inpatient psychiatric hospitalizations and incarcerations, when his symptoms were not under adequate psychiatric control.

Despite his upbringing in an affluent Delaware County family, John had trouble finishing school and maintaining employment, and he held multiple labor jobs for brief periods of time. John eventually achieved stability with medications used to control his bipolar disease, and he has remained stable for the past year.

The initial goals that were created by John, his mother, and his PLAN of PA Care Manager were as follows:

  1. Maintain current psychiatric stability
  2. Obtain appropriate employment
  3. Obtain permanent housing
  4. Identify and apply for all appropriate resources and benefits

The major obstacles to employment faced by John were his criminal record, which occurred due to his mental illness, and an unstable housing situation.

John and his PLAN Care Manager met weekly, to ensure that John is maintaining a proper diet, sleep regimen, taking his medications as prescribed, and meeting all of his psychiatrist appointments.

Together, John and his PLAN Care Manager created a professional resume that highlighted his strengths and his achievements, such as his physical abilities, his computer skills, and his hardworking nature.

John and PLAN Care Manager practiced interview skills and how to explain his gaps in his resume and his disability, and how best to sell himself and his unique strengths to potential employers.

John and his PLAN Care Manager mapped out potential employers in various neighborhoods that would be offender-friendly, such as smaller retailers, pizzerias, delis, markets, dollar stores, and diners. After months of “pounding the pavements” together, handing out his resume and filling out applications, John was finally successful. He was offered a full time position as a dishwasher at the Llanerch Diner, which was most recently featured in the movie, The Silver Linings Playbook, a film about bipolar disease.

John’s PLAN Care Manager connected him back to his county case manager at Northwestern Human Services, who enrolled him in a subsidized housing program.

John and PLAN Care Manager also successfully applied for services through the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, to assist him with any job coaching or job development he may require in the future.

Having experienced such positive results so far, John, his mother and his PLAN Care Manager   have set new goals. John’s current goals are working on his budget, saving up for a new car by the end of the summer and moving into his new apartment. To that end, he has opened his first ever bank account and saved over 75% of his paychecks so far. Once he has three months of pay stubs, he will be able to move into his new county-funded apartment, which will cost only 10% of his monthly income.  John’s PLAN Care Manager will coordinate, assist and guide him with the independent living skills necessary for this move.

After two months of hard work as a dishwasher, his team at PLAN of PA has recently learned that John has started cross-training for a promotion to prep cook.

John is very happy with the success he has achieved so far, as is his mother, and can’t wait for the next steps he has yet to take.

John’s name was changed for this story to protect his privacy.