It took a long time for the social services system in DC to take notice of Vincent. Quiet, easy-going, and always chuckling at his own jokes, Vincent was a master at hiding his mental illness and other health concerns. Born and raised in DC, he was written off by most after being labeled as a special needs student in school. By 25, without a formal diagnosis or insight into his illness, Vincent found himself living on the streets of downtown DC. He remained there for more than three years.
Elizabeth, an outreach staff member, first met Vincent in a city park just a few blocks from the White House. Though Vincent was agreeable to working with Elizabeth to get off the streets, he often missed his appointments and would disappear for months at a time. But Elizabeth didn’t give up and eventually Vincent’s trust in Elizabeth began to grow. He slowly began to open up about the voices that tortured him, filling his head with negative thoughts and telling him to do bad things.
Together, Elizabeth and Vincent visited his primary care doctor and scheduled an appointment to see Dr. Abby, one of the Pathways DC psychiatrists. Dr. Abby diagnosed Vincent with paranoid schizophrenia and began meeting with him regularly to educate him about the ways in which he could quiet the voices in his head. As his relationship with Elizabeth and Dr. Abby continued to grow, Vincent soon became open to the idea of housing.
Last month, with the support of his new Pathways DC mental health team, Vincent moved into his own apartment in Southeast DC. With a roof over his head, Vincent is now able to focus on his recovery. He is getting accustomed to life in his new home, cooking meals for himself, sharing jokes with his support team, and enjoying a quieter life free of voices and the pressures of the street.