Client-Centered, Team-Guided: How Clozaril Transformed Will’s Life.

As providers within the SMI community, we distinctly understand how each person’s life is a journey that encompasses both positive and negative experiences. At Help in the Home, our objective is to support individuals living with a severe mental illness in living a joy filled life, while developing the tools and network to overcome obstacles. Whether it’s by connecting them with vetted providers for the essential treatment they need or ensuring they receive the support required on their path towards their well-being – we strive to be that answer. In a previous “Client-Centered, Team-Guided” edition, we introduced you to Will, one of our community members. Since that initial update, Will has experienced the positive impact of Clozaril, the gold standard medication for schizophrenia and one that is underutilized despite its proven effectiveness. Continue reading to catch up with what’s been going on in Will’s life!

Will’s Journey

Will’s mental health journey traces back to 2010 when signs of depression and suicidal ideation began. From medications to doctors and treatment centers – Will was formally diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. Over the years, Will’s treatment has ranged from residential mental health facilities, medication, and establishing routines that brought stability into his life. 

When the pandemic hit in 2020, like the rest of the world, routines and normalcy were disrupted overnight. For the last 3.5 years, HITH has supported Will and his mother, Amanda, through a combination of services ranging from referral to The Lindner Center of Hope for stabilization, connecting to 1:1 support services through mental health companion agency, connecting to expert treatment providers, residence at our Supported Living Community, and supporting his success with transitioning to living in an apartment in the winter of 2022 and working full time through our ISS Services.

Will is no stranger to our blog and you can read a previous spotlight, here. We’re excited for you to read through this insightful Q&A that gives a deeper understanding of the profound impact this medication has had on his life.

Q: Will, what inspired you to open up and share your personal journey with others regarding your experience with Clozaril?

A:I really want to help promote Clozaril and be an advocate for the medication. I strongly believe that many people dealing with similar mental health issues could greatly improve their well-being with this medication. Reflecting on my own mental health journey, I am certain that starting Clozaril earlier would have helped me reach my goals sooner. It is disappointing to see that Clozaril is not widely used in the United States, and I sincerely hope this changes soon.”

Q: That’s so powerful! Have you had any other medications prior to Clozaril? Could you share a timeline with us?

A: “My journey with mental health has been quite lengthy, starting back in 2010 and continuing up to the present day. Throughout this time, I’ve tried various medications, but I think it’s most beneficial to focus on the antipsychotic drugs I’ve used, particularly since Clozaril falls into that category. I began taking antipsychotics in 2017 due to struggles with delusions, false connections, and severe sleep disturbances. Initially, I was prescribed Haldol, an older antipsychotic, which didn’t provide much relief. Later on, I was also given Depakote, another outdated medication, with similar disappointing results. 

Frustrated with the side effects, I stopped all medications for a while. My psychotic episodes persisted, leading to multiple hospitalizations until 2019. Clozaril, often considered a last resort, was suggested by a doctor during one of my hospital stays. Since starting Clozaril in 2019, I’ve been able to enjoy a happy, healthy, and stable life. Despite some side effects, I’ve been fortunate that they haven’t been too severe due to my genetics. After leaving the hospital, I participated in a comprehensive mental health program, held a job for nearly a year, and successfully completed the program. Unfortunately, I made the decision to stop taking my medications in 2020, which resulted in another hospitalization.

Nevertheless, I managed to resume my Clozaril treatment at the new hospital and enroll in the Help in the Home Supported Living Community. With the unwavering support from Help in the Home and the realization that adhering to my medication regimen was crucial for my well-being, I successfully secured a job that I have been dedicated to for almost four years. Additionally, Help in the Home introduced me to a roommate, enabling me to live independently in my own apartment and fulfill all the necessary aspects of a gratifying and liberated life.”

Q: Wow! Thank you for sharing. If you had to sum up how Clozaril has positively impacted your life, what would you say?

A: Clozaril has truly been a miracle drug for me. It effectively manages my schizoaffective diagnosis, keeping delusions at bay and reducing anxiety. What’s more, it regulates my sleep pattern, which is crucial for my overall well-being. With Clozaril, I can count on a good night’s rest, thanks to its drowsiness side effect. This medication also helps with anxiety, making me feel more at ease and improving my cognitive function. But above all, the most significant benefit is that it allows me to lead a normal life by treating my mental health condition. Thanks to Clozaril, I can focus on daily tasks and pursue a fulfilling life without being held back by my schizoaffective disorder symptoms.”

Q: For people who may not have heard of Clozaril, how much time did it take for you to experience the complete advantages of Clozaril?

A: When I first started taking Clozaril, my mental state was far from ideal. I had been in and out of hospitals for a significant amount of time, which left me feeling frustrated and disheartened. It may sound strange, but as far as I can recall, the effects of Clozaril were immediate. It managed to alleviate the acute symptoms of my schizoaffective disorder, but I knew I still had a long road ahead. It made me realize that those without mental health disorders often take their strong and healthy foundation for granted, as it is essential to even begin feeling normal. 

Moreover, it takes a considerable amount of time to establish a stable life with all its ordinary aspects. This includes maintaining a consistent medication routine, holding down a job, having a social life, and other everyday experiences that may seem unattainable when dealing with an untreated mental health disorder. I share all of this because, from a long-term perspective, Clozaril has truly transformed my life. Each passing day brings forth clearer benefits, and I am immensely grateful to have discovered this medication.”

Q: You mentioned that social support plays a crucial role in managing Clozaril. How has HITH helped you stay on track with your Clozaril treatment?

A: The social support is closely intertwined with Clozaril. This medication is undeniably effective on its own, swiftly aiding in various mental health disorders. However, maintaining a solid social foundation is equally important. Since joining the Help in the Home community, I have discovered that the staff and program foster social growth. Initially, there were numerous checks and balances at Help in the Home, which I believe is crucial not only for ensuring the client’s well-being and medication adherence, but also for fostering accountability.

Over time, I was able to demonstrate to the staff that I not only consistently took my medication, but also became increasingly independent as trust was established. The Help in the Home staff are truly compassionate and supportive individuals, making them an invaluable resource for clients to pursue their aspirations, but only if that aligns with the client’s desires. Not only do the Help in the Home staff excel in providing assistance and warmth, but they are also open-minded and genuinely want the best for their community members. On a more specific and personal level, the program has provided me with social support by helping me build a team.

In my unique situation, I had the freedom to choose the members of my mental health team, including my case manager, therapist, and other key roles. The social aspect of the program also plays a significant role through the social community. Sharing meals with fellow community members is crucial as it can be challenging to connect with those who don’t understand your struggles. I am grateful to have friends from the Help in the Home community in my life, which reminds me that I am not alone. Witnessing others taking their medications motivates me to prioritize my health. Additionally, the staff ensures I take my medications on time and accompany me to important appointments.”

Q: Will, what amazing achievements would you say you have made while using Clozaril paired with the unwavering social support you described?

A:When I reflect on the impact of Clozaril on my life, the first thing that stands out is how it has prevented me from being hospitalized in mental health facilities. While I am grateful for the care provided in those places, being in a psychiatric ward can be quite disheartening. Moreover, dealing with a mental health diagnosis can take a toll on your loved ones. Thanks to Clozaril, I now enjoy a healthy lifestyle, get enough sleep, and think rationally. Help in the Home has played a crucial role in establishing and maintaining my social support system. Simply taking medication is not sufficient; having a strong support network is essential for personal growth. With Clozaril and social support, I have been able to lead a fulfilling life similar to those without mental health challenges.

Currently, I have progressed in my recovery journey and am now connected with Help in the Home on a more limited level. I reside in my own apartment, have a job that I’ve held for nearly four years, and can manage all the essential aspects of daily life. However, the assistance provided by Help in the Home remains vital at this stage, as I still require some additional support, particularly for fundamental psychiatric needs like timely medication administration and lab tests.”

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add or feel is important for us to know?

A: Looking at my life from an outsider’s perspective, it might seem like a success story. While that may be partially true, I am fully aware of the countless individuals who lack the resources that my family and I are fortunate to have. One way I believe we can make a positive impact is by advocating for the increased usage of Clozaril, a medication that is currently underprescribed.

Furthermore, I want to express my deep gratitude towards Help in the Home for the incredible support they have provided to me and my family. Since the very beginning, this organization has empowered me to live a life filled with freedom and understanding. Their genuine concern for their clients’ well-being is truly remarkable, and I cannot thank them enough for everything they have done.


Related Articles to Check Out:

Breaking Through with Clozapine & Community

Client-Centered, Team-Guided Spotlight: Will & Amanda

We hope you found this Q&A with Will impactful and inspiring!

If you or your loved one is seeking support through a SMI, schedule a free consultation by calling 866-967-9994 to speak with the intake specialist.  Please be prepared to provide general information about current circumstances.  More onboarding information can be found here.


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