Fraser Street opens new doors for Barb

Barb was a practicing lawyer until 1999. Then she began to suffer from severe depression and turned to alcohol as a means of self-medication.
Over the next eight years, Barb was debilitated by her illness and addiction. She was hospitalized eight times for extended periods, twice for as long as five months.

Between hospital stays Barb had to find a place to live. Because she could no longer work she could not afford to live on her own, so relied on shared accommodation. Things would be fine in the beginning, but her mental illness and addiction issues would inevitably disrupt the harmony in the household, resulting in Barb being asked to leave.

This would deepen her downward spiral and she would end up back in the hospital. Each episode of mental illness worsened her condition, to the point where she began experiencing episodes of psychosis.

The continued instability in housing and lack of programs to help her manage her mental illness and addiction further deteriorated Barb’s situation. Fortunately Barb had many personal supports around her and she was always able to find a temporary place to stay between homes. She even had two years in transitional housing but she was unable to attain stability for either her addiction or mental illness.

Barb’s life turned around when she found out about the Fraser Street facility. Fraser Street specializes in housing for people who live with mental illness and addictions and want to live substance-free. Barb was one of the original tenants and has been sober and managing her mental illness since June 2007. Barb feels that being at Fraser Street and among a community of support – including staff, residents, pets, her counselor at the Centre for Concurrent Disorders, and the local community – has been instrumental in her road to recovery.

Today Barb is taking courses at BCIT in Human Resources Management. Barb now sees her future from a happy perspective. She looks forward to working in non-profit as her way of giving back to the community.