Tim Wiesner and his case manager Kris Thorpe, RN
“The week before, I relapsed on alcohol, lost my job and my living situation,” says the 32-year-old Wichitan. “I was hopeless and struggling to cope.”
In desperation, he called a friend, who encouraged him to seek help, which led him to go to the Ascension Via Christi St. Joseph Emergency Department.
He was assessed and then admitted to the hospital’s Psychiatric Observation Unit, where over the next three days he was given medication to stabilize his mood and address his sleep deprivation. He also was seen by mental health providers, who encouraged him to take part in the hospital’s six-hour, Monday-through-Friday Partial Day Program.
“They suggested it as a way to bridge the gap between inpatient and outpatient care,” says Tim, who had been diagnosed with depression 11 years earlier. “I wasn’t thrilled at the idea because I have tried other outpatient programs, so I saw this as another box to check.”
Tim began the program that Monday, working closely with his case manager, Kris Thorp, RN.
“This program is great for people like Tim who don’t need inpatient care, want to get immersive, concentrated help, but also retain a recognizable routine similar to their everyday lives,” says Thorp, who brings more than two decades of behavioral health experience to her role. “It focuses on equipping patients with coping skills, resources available to them and insight from conversations with providers and others in group therapy sessions.”
Tim was pleasantly surprised by his experience.
“Seeing the wide range of mental health professionals and the entire team in action, it seemed like everyone had a specialization and wanted to help you,” says Tim, noting that it was much more than just six hours of group therapy. “I related with others in the program and I gained a fresh perspective on what therapy could do for me.”
Tim completed the program after spending eight days attending sessions, then began seeing his own therapist and working to maintain his sobriety.
“I was told for years that addiction was my only problem, which made sobriety feel incomplete by itself,” he says. “It felt like these other professionals only had a hammer, so my problem had to be a nail. The Partial Day Program has an entire toolbox to address the different problems you may have.”
As a result, he says, “It makes your mental health feel like a manageable part of your holistic health.”
His advice: “Don't wait until you are in a crisis to seek help like I did.”
One week of attendance changed his entire outlook and life as he is now employed, sober and making plans to move from his parents’ home to an apartment of his own and go back to school.
“I’m grateful for the people who cared enough about me to help me get better and I’m glad there was help available for me when I needed it,” says Tim. “I have hope and a general feeling that I’m doing what I’m supposed to, things can get better and the world no longer seems so black and white to me.”
Learn more about behavioral health services at Ascension Via Christi by visiting: https://healthcare.ascension.org/specialty-care/behavioral-mental-health/ascension-via-christi-behavioral-health-services