By Nina Monsour
“I didn’t see my daughter for years at a time,” said Kathleen. “Mental illness and drug abuse had stolen my love and my life.”
Today Kathleen has rebuilt her world and attained strength she never knew she had. “If you’ve been a drug user, or homeless, or a mother who has lost her child, you know all about stigmas,” said Kathleen. “I was all of these people, and I fight these stigmas.”
Kathleen found her way to Packard Health after a long battle with mental illness. Her physical health had long been neglected. The unique community health care center provided every service she needed in one place: a doctor, psychiatrist, therapist, and patient advocate.
“We began to find the right regimen of meds, and I began to take my mask off and talk,” she said. “I don’t know what I would do without Packard Health.”
Founded in 1973, Packard Health provides health care to all, including those whose economic, social or cultural conditions might otherwise prevent them from accessing health care. It is a pioneer in integrating primary AND mental health care under one roof. Strong relationships are the cornerstone – patient, provider and therapist are a team, and communication and collaboration are key. The team model is a proven winner for patients. For those with complex medical needs and complicated lives, it is often life-changing.
Kathleen is one of those patients. “With my therapist, Amy Rendon, I make plans, set goals such as going to Alanon meetings, and work on managing my illness,” said Kathleen. “My allies are here, people who understand and respect me, people who do not judge me. In my past I lost jobs. I dropped out of school. I was homeless for years and without a friend in the world. I was so ill.”
Today Kathleen is celebrating 3 years of substance sobriety. “I can’t say enough about how my life has changed.”
Lisa is another patient who has benefitted from Packard Health after she suffered a traumatic brain injury during a hiking accident.
“In one moment, my life changed forever,” she said. “While my service dog, Sammy, has made my life more independent, I still have to deal with multiple health issues making it difficult to access proper health care.”
Things turned around for Lisa as soon as she met her patient advocate, Katie Marquez, who showed her resources available to her within the community and specifically within Packard Health.
“I do not drive so having most of my needs under one roof is a godsend!” said Lisa. “I now have transportation through A-Ride services, a great primary care physician who has connected me to the specialists I need, and access to mental and social services within Packard Health as well. Packard Health has helped me to be more independent from my disabilities.”
This is the first year Packard Health is participating in the Probility Ann Arbor Marathon, March 24, as one of the four featured charities. Participants can designate a portion of their registration fee to Packard Health by selecting the charity during the sign-up process.
The charity with the most designated registrants will win an additional $1,000 gift from the event sponsor, Probility Physical Therapy.
“Packard Health has been a tremendous partner from our first phone conversation,” said Epic Races CEO Eva Solomon. “I have enjoyed learning more about this essential resource we have in our community and am thrilled to have them participating in the event — both as volunteers and participants.”
More than a dozen Packard Health staff as well as board members are participating in the event, including Dr. Kaila Queen, who took it upon herself to recruit others to join in the cause.
“I’m looking forward to participating, investing, and supporting this event,” said Dr. Queen. “I’m not a fast runner, but I’m all in on this community event.”
Register for the Probility Ann Arbor Marathon on behalf of Packard Health by visiting annarbormarathon.com.