Providing Peace of Mind: How the MHANJ Helped a Family Cope with Mental Illness

Matthew, now in his mid-50s, was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia at 18 and currently lives with his elderly mother, Dorothy, in their family home. As Dorothy’s eyesight and mobility have diminished, Matthew helps with basic chores such as simple meals and washing dishes. However, Dorothy increasingly worried about Matthew’s ability to manage the house alone and afford its upkeep if she needed institutional care or passed away. With no other relatives nearby, there was no plan in place to provide for Matthew’s future.

The program director of the Intensive Family Support Services at the Mental Health Association in New Jersey offered solutions to Dorothy and Matthew, including setting up a special needs trust to protect Matthew’s SSI and Medicaid benefits and providing resources for elder care attorneys, case management, and alternate housing. Matthew’s case manager visits the home weekly.

Dorothy was also given resources to support her own well-being. Due to her age and poor eyesight, the worker made herself available to assist with applications and transportation to appointments.

With the program’s ongoing support, Dorothy has peace of mind, and Matthew has a plan in place for his future.

Thanks to generous donations to the Greater Newark Holiday Fund, the Intensive Family Support Services Program at the Mental Health Association in New Jersey can expand ongoing support, education, and advocacy for individuals and families coping with mental illness.

Original story taken from

Leave a Reply 0 comments

Leave a Reply: