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Gina’s Story

Gina was happy to have a great job working with children after finishing her child development certificate. She had an apartment by Lake Harriet and was able to be independent, even though she had limited mobility.

Gina was born with cerebral palsy, so she knew how to work with her physical limitations, but she had no idea how to handle the negative thoughts and feelings she experienced.  Her symptoms affected her ability to connect with others and manage her daily life. Gina says, “I was out of touch with reality. My neighbors heard awful sounds from my apartment and called the police.  I don’t remember destroying my apartment and belongings.” Police brought her to the hospital for mental health care.

Sadly, Gina lost her apartment, job and most friends. “The toughest part was starting over. I was confused and depressed. It was so overwhelming,” she said. Gina heard about Touchstone while in day treatment, and was excited to learn about the community, group activities and peer support offered through the Intentional Communities (IC) program.

Touchstone IC staff helped her find an apartment, provided skills training and mental health support. Gina has done well in the program but struggles at times with depression. She’s had some serious falls because of balance and mobility issues, as her physical health has declined in recent years. Gina also developed memory problems and often forgot to take her medications, which made her mental health symptoms and mobility worse. “Touchstone staff helped me get a machine that releases my medications in a packaged cup and tells me to take them. They also coordinate metro mobility rides and set up Life Line in case I fall,” she said.

The Intentional Communities program helped Gina get back on her feet, connect with others, and build a new life. “Gina has grown so much in the last year. She takes a leadership role in her community, helps plan activities, cooks for group meals, and supports peers in the program,” said Sarah, staff member.

Gina is close to her family, and with seven siblings and their families, she goes to a birthday party or anniversary at least once a month. “I love my apartment and my community. Touchstone helped me get my life back,” says Gina.

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