Helping “Jason” Transition from Despair to Hope
For many young adults, crossing the bridge to independence is an exciting journey. For those in the foster care system, “aging out” of the system brings anxiety and fear, as statistics show youth in foster care are more likely to become homeless or incarcerated than graduate from a college or trade school.
For 21-year-old Jason, who has clinical anxiety and depression, the uncertainty of his future caused him to contemplate suicide. Through a friend, Jason heard about the AFS Transitional Housing Program. He applied and was accepted which allowed him to move out of his grandmother’s house and into a THP+ apartment.
Jason started out strong in the program and was able to get a job. Soon, things began to fall apart. Jason was staying out late drinking with friends and then wouldn’t wake up in time to get to work. He lost one job after another due to his repetitive and destructive behavior. Jason’s AFS caseworker continued to provide him with emotional and behavioral support which led him to realize he had a problem with depression and was drinking and partying to self medicate.
Jason checked into a rehabilitation program and did well. Once out, things went ok for a bit, but Jason was still depressed and talked of being suicidal. AFS made a safety plan and Jason stabilized. Presently, Jason hasn’t worked for four months due to his depression. When the stay at home order came, Jason decided to go spend time with his on and off girlfriend in another state. He stayed with his girlfriend for six weeks and realized he really wanted to get better and work towards a path of independence. Jason came back to the Bay Area when he learned he was able to rejoin the THP program. The AFS staff does a video check-in with Jason several times per week to make sure he stays stable and safe.
Ultimately, it’s up to Jason to choose his life path but along the way he knows that AFS staff will be there to support him towards independence and help him transition from despair to hope.
Note: The identifying details of this story have been changed to protect client confidentiality.