Sam's Story

Although he always felt he was different somehow, Sam was a promising student with a bright future. In high school he was a national spelling bee champion, talented pianist, and physics whiz. It was in his second year at a prestigious northeastern college that his life began to unravel.

Over the years he would be treated for a number of illnesses before he was finally diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. His parents were concerned but not completely surprised—a grandparent and two cousins also battled severe mental illness.

Lured to Austin in hopes of joining a rhythm and blues band, Sam quickly began to decompensate. He slept on friend’s couches, self-medicating with beer from the nearby convenience store. When his behavior grew bizarre, a neighbor called 911. Integral Care's Mobile Outreach Team (MCOT), found Sam sitting on a park bench, shaking and delusional. They convinced him to come to Psychiatric Emergency Services (PES), where he was assessed and admitted to the INN for residential treatment.

Realizing he needed help to resume his life, a week later Sam agreed to enter Integral Care's Crisis Respite facility, an intensive, short-term program that helped him make choices to support his recovery . Within two weeks he had filed for benefits, learned to navigate the public transit system and, with help from his family, rented a room in a boarding house.

Today Sam receives medication and case management through Integral Care's Behavioral Health Services, regularly attends AA meetings, and recently found a part-time job at a local restaurant. “My life has improved one hundred fold,” he says. “If I could get better, I believe that anyone else can too.”