Outwardly, Diana appeared to have it all – a successful business, a growing family and a house of her own. After a series of challenging life circumstances, she lost all she had and found herself living on the streets while struggling with severe mental health issues.
Diana first started experiencing depression and manic episodes following the birth of her first child. Her mental health issues were exacerbated by the death of her brother, the end of a long relationship and the challenges of owning a business. All of these things culminated in her closing her business and selling her home.
“I was coping with everything that was going on, but I could feel myself unraveling,” Diana said.
Eventually, she did unravel. Diana ended up living on the streets of Long Beach for several years, struggling with her symptoms and becoming estranged from her family.
During that time, she had heard about Mental Health America of Los Angeles (MHALA), but wasn’t ready to get help. It took several years for her to connect with MHALA — and when she did it changed her life.
A Proper Diagnosis, Services
What Diana didn’t know until she was connected with a physician at MHALA was that she has Bipolar Disorder. With the appropriate diagnosis and medication, Diana was able to stabilize her symptoms and get the mental and physical healthcare she needed to get her life back on track.
Diana received ongoing support through MHALA’s Wellness Center, where she learned resilience skills such as financial management, anger management and day-to-day coping skills.
She participated in MHALA’s employment program, which first placed her in an administrative position at MHALA and then helped her find a more permanent position. She was also able to find her own apartment, which she’s now been in for several years.
“I was overwhelmed and couldn’t do anything for myself because I couldn’t think straight,” Diana said. “Going through all the MHALA programs and all the things that they did for me was a godsend.”
After years of being estranged from her daughters and her family, Diana has reconnected with them and is enjoying time both as a mother and a grandmother.
Appearance on ‘This Is Life with Lisa Ling’
Diana recently appeared on “This Is Life with Lisa Ling,” where she shared her story with Ling and the impact that connecting with MHALA had on her.
“I wish there were more facilities like MHALA,” said Diana. “I wish there was something like that on every corner, because people do need help.”