Program Participant

“I was doing various things to ruin my life”

Havier doesn’t mince words when he describes how his mental health took a downturn after his adoptive father died nearly five years ago.

“I was doing various things to ruin my life—drugs, smoking, alcohol,” he said. “I’m talking about heavy drinking—a lot of hard liquor.”

Havier, who uses CHD’s Adult Mental Health-Springfield services, credits our agency with “helping me get back on my feet.” At present, he lives in a CHD group home in Springfield’s Forest Park neighborhood. “CHD is helping me get job training and helping me get my own apartment,” he said, adding that his journey toward stability has been “a gradual process.”

At times, life hasn’t been easy for 25-year-old Havier, who was born with fetal alcohol syndrome. After he was adopted into a new family when he was four, he dealt with bullying and anger management issues while growing up. He was also diagnosed with autism. Before he sought treatment for his anxiety and depression, “people stopped me from attempting,” he said, not finishing his sentence. He was asked if he meant suicide. “Yes,” he answered.

The substances he had been using to try to cope with his problems were causing even more problems—taking a toll on his mental state.

Now things are looking up for him. “My friends say I’ve been doing a lot better,” he said. “I don’t drink that much alcohol any more, and I don’t do drugs.”

What would he say to someone who is struggling with their mental health to the point of despair, but still may be reluctant to get professional help? “I would say call the CHD helpline [1-844-CHD-HELP], or if it gets really bad, the suicide hotline [988 or 1-800-273 TALK (8255)],” he said.