Mental Illness Awareness Week Spotlight: Daniel Eaddy, Baltimore
Daniel Eaddy, 31, says his childhood was sometimes frightening.
He heard voices. He didn’t know why, and he didn’t know how to stop them.
At age 19, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia.
“It was kind of scary growing up and not knowing where help could come from,” explains Daniel.
Even after his diagnosis, Daniel says he struggled to take control of his life and wound up with a criminal record.
It was not until three years ago that the Baltimore-native learned that there were facilities which could provide a safe haven for him to live, manage his mental illness, and pursue his professional goals.
He decided to join Volunteers of America Chesapeake’s Baltimore Behavioral Health Program following a referral from the state.
“I knew it would be a challenge but I knew I could get through it if I had the right people in my corner helping me out,” he says.
The stability has helped Daniel set goals. He earned his fork lift certification last May, and now he’s on the hunt for a job and an apartment.
Program leaders say it’s rare for a resident to accomplish so much in just three years.
Daniel credits program staff with offering him stability.
“They made me feel independent and it makes me feel like I can go out in the world and do good on my own,” says Daniel. “You have to look inside yourself and see what you want and if you’re ready for help. [If so], there are programs out here that can help you.”
The 24-hour Baltimore Behavioral Health residential program houses 31 participants and works intimately with each one to teach independence, symptom management through medication, and job skills.