Sometimes living with mental illness can not only be taxing on a patient, but it can also be taxing on their families. That’s why a Tulsa Psychiatric Hospital is working to do more for patients than just help with their mental health.
Parkside Psychiatric Hospital and Clinic has several different resources for patients like a food pantry, a clothing store and even offers transportation to and from appointments.
They say they do this because it helps take the stress off the patient while dealing with their mental illness.
"I’ve had many dark times but I’ve been getting better,” said Parkside Patient Tallulah Smith. “But it’s just something you have to struggle with for the rest of your life."
Tallulah Smith has been using Parkside's services since she was hospitalized in 2011. She says she was bullied in middle school and has been dealing with mental illness ever since.
“It’s hard when you feel like no one understands and also you're alone and it just compounds it and everything," said Smith.
Smith utilizes outpatient services like art therapy and the By Your Side Program. The program provides food, personal hygiene items, clothing, transportation, and school supplies to patients and their families.
“When you’re low income or you're on disability, you can't work and it’s just hard to get through every month," said Smith.
The program serves about 130 families a month and most of their patients have an income of less than $10,000 a year.
“I’ve had patients say that by the end of the month by the time they pay for their living expenses and medication and transportation, they don’t have a dollar left,” said By Your Side Program Coordinator, Willie Roundtree.
Roundtree says this means necessities like food are hard to come by.
“I’ve had parents tell me that they would go to bed early so they wouldn’t have to feed their children because their children were hungry and they wouldn’t want to hear them cry,” said Roundtree.
Roundtree says employees at Parkside go out and restock the pantry often, so patients don't have to stress about where their next meal is coming from.
“It just helps eliminate any of the problems they have getting here or just surviving everyday life," said Smith.
Helping people like Tallulah navigate her mental illness, one step at a time.
“It’s such a positive place and the people are so friendly and they're just on your side,” said Smith.
Parkside has a 5k coming up this Saturday, April 27th to raise money for the By Your Side Program in order to help keep the pantry stocked.