Mental Illness Awareness Week Spotlight: Cesan Mack
While homeless on the streets of Baltimore, Cesan Mack, 28, learned about a residential behavioral health program. It changed his life.
Two years later, Cesan now has a job at a home improvement store and he’s preparing to go back to school.
He lives with 30 other residents in Volunteer of America Chesapeake’s Baltimore Behavioral Health Program.
“It’s good to be around my peers. That way if I ever need any help, I can talk to someone that’s kind of close to me that understands what I’m going through,” he explains.
The 28-year-old North Carolina native came to Baltimore three years ago to get closer to family.
“But I was experiencing symptoms of my mental illness and I was out of control,” he recollects. “I couldn’t manage my money or do simple tasks correctly so I ended up getting thrown out of my apartment and everything went downhill.”
Cesan says he didn’t know what to expect from the VOAC program, which helps chronically mental-ill adults learn independence, symptom management through medication, and job skills. However, program director Mona Magruder encouraged him to give it a try, and according to Cesan, he’s “been doing pretty good” ever since.
His next goal is start an electrician training program.
Mental illness he says, should be on everyone’s radar.
“More people need to know about mental illness and how to deal with it,” he said. “There’s not a lot of information out there, and it’s good to start dabbling into the mental health field…The more people that know about it, the more help people like me can get.”
Coming soon: Ceasn’s video interview!