A Second Chance at Life

Halfway through 2019, a single and unemployed mom living with her parents and sibling attempted suicide. Gabby found herself hospitalized and unable to address what had occurred. After a few months, she was referred to El Centro de Amistad through the Cal WORKs GAIN Program when she was seeking therapy to address the suicide attempt.

An initial intake pointed to providing additional services besides mental health, which Gabby declined. Out of an abundance of caution, ECDA tailored Gabby’s treatment team to consist of an associate marriage and family therapist along with a case manager, employment specialist, and peer partner who were available, as needed.

Gabby’s goals were to continue earning a college degree and returning to work. First, Gabby would need to understand the automatic recurring conversations that led to negative thoughts. She received ongoing mental health services with Ruchika Puri, an associate marriage and family therapist, attending weekly individual therapy sessions. Given her financial, employment, and household stressors, Ruchika assisted Gabby with better managing her daily functions in the home and community. Identifying realistic expectations and thoughts and increasing coping mechanisms were daily practices for Gabby to get closer to her goals. Observing role modeling and role-playing assertive communication skills were effective techniques to engage Gabby in positive interactions. Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation enabled Gabby to better cope with life’s daily stressors.

While maintaining her weekly sessions, Gabby has successfully resumed attending college classes, completing a semester, and starting a new year despite transitioning to remote learning during the pandemic. Simultaneously, Gabby is tending to her daughter’s needs and assisting her with distance learning. In addition, Gabby obtained and maintained temporary employment working as a receptionist and scheduler at a doctor’s office during her summer break in between semesters.

Gabby is a testament to how ECDA empowers the lives of individuals for a better tomorrow. Having regained her self-confidence and desire to return to school to earn her bachelor’s degree, Gabby’s second chance in life is clear.