How Lincoln Park nonprofit organization helps people battling mental illness

Brittany Pugh shares her story

LINCOLN PARK, Mich. – A woman who tried to commit suicide as a teenager is sharing her story after getting help from a Lincoln Park nonprofit organization.

“I have bi-polar disorder and I have schizophrenia,” Brittany Pugh said. “I was about 19 years old when I tried to commit suicide."

Pugh is living with and being treated for mental illness.

"I had a nervous breakdown, anxiety attacks and it led to me trying to commit suicide because I couldn't deal with it,” she said. “I had nowhere to go. I had no one to talk to."

That was 11 years ago. Her unsuccessful suicide attempt led doctors to prescribe her medication and therapy. But then, about a year ago, she was led to Turning Point Clubhouse, a nonprofit in Lincoln Park.

“I told my therapist I needed more treatment than what I was getting,” Pugh said. “Me seeing my therapist once a month -- it wasn’t helping because I felt like I was still alone.”

“Turning Point Clubhouse is a psycho-social rehabilitation program,” clubhouse coordinator Keon Sims said. “We help people who have mental illness. We offer services such as transitional employment, supportive employment, independent employment.”

Statistics show one in five people experience mental illness, diagnosed or undiagnosed. Turning Point Clubhouse provides free membership to people who have a mental health diagnosis. They must receive Medicaid, live in Wayne County and be registered with a Wayne County community mental health program. Then, they can become a part of a community of people who are also navigating their way through life and managing their mental illness without feeling judged.

“When you come somewhere where it’s numbers of people with different types of people, where I feel like this today or this is my disability, you feel a little more comfortable because you don’t feel alone,” Pugh said.

A special part of Turning Point Clubhouse is educational support. Beyond that, members are given support when it comes to finding employment.

“We help with applications,” Keon said. “We help with speaking directly to the employer. We go out and job carve. We job coach, so there’s a lot of support involved.”

For Pugh, Turning Point Clubhouse has made all the difference in managing life with a mental illness. She’s unemployed now but believes she has a bright future ahead of her and hopes to land a job soon.

“I may have bipolar disorder. I may have schizophrenia. I may have this and I may have that, but I’m still somebody,” Pugh said.

For more information go to comcareserv.org.

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