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AWARE Ink Newsletter

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Woman overcomes mental health challenge

Karen is a driven, goal-oriented person who has overcome significant challenges in life. She recently experienced a devastating setback and is now just getting back on her feet.

With a little bit of help from AWARE’s PACT services, Karen says she’s now more focused than ever.


Karen was originally born and raised in California. She moved to Montana after falling in love with a guy she met online. It didn’t take her long to acclimate to the new scenery.

She landed a job as manager at a local pottery business. It was her dream job. She has always been drawn to art in its many forms – she’s an avid painter and has an affection for sculpture.


Needless to say, she was enjoying life and doing great. She’d become a successful woman in Montana’s thriving Capitol City.


Then one day, it hit her like a tidal wave and sent her into a downward spiral. She experienced the crushing reality of mental illness and depression. She didn’t know where to look for help, and she lost control of her life.


She lost her house, her belongings, and relationships she had worked hard to establish. She had trouble keeping track of medications and would either miss them entirely or take more than she needed. Without help, her symptoms amplified.


She desperately needed support but didn’t know what to do. This was something she had never imagined could happen to her. What had she done wrong?


She’d soon come to realize that she hadn’t done anything wrong. Mental illness can affect anyone at any time. Unaware of the warning signs and untreated, it can wreak havoc.

Luckily, Karen did find the help she needed, and she’s well on her way to getting back to where she used to be.


She now has her own apartment, has rescued a pet cat, and is close to finding a job. Karen said she’d love to get back into a retail environment (preferably art) and has volunteered at a nursing center in town.


She’s, once again, looking forward to the upcoming holiday season and spending quality time with her boyfriend (the same guy she met online), his daughter and her boyfriend, and their two pets (a dog and cat).


In the meantime, she keeps herself busy participating in groups at the local YMCA, painting, and surpassing her goals.


Karen said she’s grateful to be headed in the right direction, attributing her success to AWARE’s PACT team members. She speaks highly of them, looking to them as peers and advisors but also as friends who were there pointing her in the right direction when she needed it most.

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