♪ ♪ MAN: So after getting out of the hospital, um, I would go into the hospital for two weeks, go back to school then it would be back in the hospital for another three weeks, because of all the makeup work.
I was triggered by all the stress.
You know, like having to do all that make up work then I would be back into the hospital and I would be back to school then back in the hospital and finally on the third time when I was in there for a month straight and I remembered thinking, "what can I do to get out of here?
Like, how do I get out of here?
How do I get out of here?
I'm fine there is nothing wrong with me.
I told you I'm fine."
But I wasn't.
I was anything but fine.
At age 15, I was diagnosed with bipolar 1 disorder with psychotic features.
WOMAN: My experience with mental illness is rooted in a nightmare and I do not use that word lightly.
If you can envision living in a terrible dream, one from which you can never wake up.
That's what it was like to live with psychosis for me.
I hope to inspire and encourage you to continue to learn more and support the initiatives that NAMI supports like providing care to loved ones in crisis.
KATHRYN FARINHOLT: Please get involved um, if nothing else, say something to your legislator that this matters.
We need fully funded appropriate full array of services for people.
(Mysterious electronic music).
♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ (cars passing).
KATHRYN FARINHOLT: The entire system is fragmented.
Housing is an issue in rural areas as well as in urban areas.
Transportation is a huge issue in rural areas.
There are few psychiatrists, um, in rural areas.
There are still not enough services.
ADRIAN LUNDRY: First time, I ever met John was two years ago.
And the shoes that he was wearing were very poor, and you know, not poor, but like, the, it's a very well worn shoe and there's holes in it.
BRIANNA LOWE: John has had a lot of traumatizing things happen to him in his life.
Um, he comes out every day with a positive attitude and you would never have thought anything bad happened to him.
BECKY BARTON: People had asked me if I've heard of him, if I knew him and I never had.
Then he just comes walking in here one day and I knew who John was.
John is an amazing person; he's a giving person.
Um, I mean you can obviously tell he has mental illness and I'm not one to judge.
JOHN SMITH: I have schizophrenia, mild retardation, speech impediment, behavioral problems.
And in school they made fun of me.
They called me stupid, [deleted], you dumb...
I came from an abusive childhood when I was little; so people from North Carolina took me with them to live with them until I grew up.
I think what happened, my speech impediment and my schizophrenia and my behavioral problems was happened, I think was when I was in school I was a little kid, my uncle John Grouse, he slept with me when I was a little kid and um, I was bounced from institutions to group homes and hospital institutions and foster homes.
KATHRYN: There's, um, a clear array of services that are necessary to make sure that people who have behavioral health issues get the help they need depending on what their symptoms are uh, and their needs are.
EMILIE DAVIS: I have some of our residents who have the schizophrenia, it's just a sad thing when you see them suffering with um, the voices.
JOHN: To hear voices, it's very difficult to explain, 'cause people hear what they want to hear and then the voices tell me from God when danger is coming through the birds in the air and also the insects also.
And it's like mother nature is talking to me through different elements.
When you have something like this, it's easy to have.
I am telling you, it's hard.
ROBERT MACKNIGHT: Welcome to church.
We want to acknowledge that John is a special gift to us and to this community.
And we're just thrilled to have you here to acknowledge the blessing that we know that John Smith is, because he is a blessing to us for sure and John, I am watching you today.
JOHN: I know you are buddy, I know you are.
ROBERT: Hi, my name is Robert Macknight I'm co-pastor at United Redeem Church where John attends.
John has been part of our family now for a number of years.
Uh, he comes to our church pretty much every Sunday.
He shares whatever is on his heart and he is free to do that, but John is also able to be um, disciplined, for lack of better word, I would say disciplined, so he doesn't take over the services, he doesn't take over what we are doing.
He shares what he thinks he needs to share then he steps back.
JOHN: I never gave up when I was homeless, oh man, I had to go through hell and back but guess what?
I did it for y'all.
I didn't do it for the world I did it for y'all and God... And if I get in trouble for saying this, you know, I hate the devil.
I wish I could kill him, but I can't because God already did that.
So I want to say never give up.
Y'all seen the future in me.
Y'all seen a survivor.
Y'all see somebody who went through hell and back and I never gave up and I'm still here, so remember that.
ANNMARIE HAMILTON: I've been with the Arts Council for ten years and John has volunteered here since day one.
There's four non-profits in this building and John has volunteered for all four of them.
DANIELLE TRIBBLE: I'm the first one here and I am protector of all and there was an actual lady with a newborn baby and that prompted me when he started to get loud, knowing what could happen when he gets loud to ask him to lower his voice because of the newborn baby and that certain times things prompt him to get upset.
JOHN: I went to apologize to Ms. Danielle for what happened a while back.
But I told her the medicine that the doctor put me on was Depakote which was 500 milligrams.
He put 250 extra to it and that interacted with the other two medicines that I had... And that kinda made me more agitated and irritable.
ANNMARIE: In an effort to help John, we understand that schizophrenia is a progressive disease and as John ages and things change, we expect to have an occasional um, speed bump with his behavior.
JOHN: This anger is like it's eating me up and its like I'm Jekyll and Hyde, but I am not like that.
I'm a good person.
I am the best person you can meet, but this anger I wish I never had it.
ANNMARIE: Our belief, for many of us in the building, is once he left the day program that was structured and monitored and medications were handed to him, that's when things started to change, is when John was taking care of himself.
JOHN: Here is all the medication I am taking and it is messing me up and I just hate it.
I tried to tell the stupid people about it on the Act Team, but they don't even listen to me.
KATHRYN: NAMI is The National Alliance on Mental Illness and we are a national alliance uh, working on providing uh, community education, um, education and support for families and for individuals with mental health issues.
So NAMI has really advocated for more services, an array of services from prevention all the way to crises in rural areas.
We also need to make sure that our decision makers understand that this is something that we, as taxpayers and voters, care about; instead of having it be the most poorly funded system in our state.
WOMAN: I personally have depression and I was on a bus one day and I was suicidal and I happened to see a sign, we were near a church at that time at metro Baltimore and I happened to see a sign that said NAMI and I got off the bus at the sign, and I went in and I met a wonderful lady.
She just pushed all this paper, you know, paper that we have all over our desk.
She pushed it aside and she said "how may I help you?"
I said "what do you people do?"
KATHRYN: I guess I would say that NAMI people in general are great crisis managers.
We have learned from personal experience.
WOMAN: So instead of committing suicide that night, I went to a NAMI support group on Saturday and I've been there ever since.
(Sounds of footsteps).
DAN MARTIN: What we do at the Mental Association Of Maryland, um, with our behavioral health coalition partners, we share a coalition of organizations from around the state: all mental health, substance use disorder advocacy organizations, provider organizations, consumer organizations, family organizations, all working to improve access to mental health and substance use disorder services.
And we do that through a variety of ways.
Um, one of the big ways we do that is through legislation and through bills.
Um, we introduce um, and advocate for bills to, um, increase funding for community mental health services.
DR. LAWSON: If you went down the hallways of Saint Elizabeth you would see a great difference between the 60's and what happened in the 70's.
One of the first psychiatric facilities that provided services to African Americans.
Later on, its population bloomed so that we had tens of thousands of people.
I had a great uncle who was kept in this building that you had to, couldn't go directly into it.
They kept him down in like a basement where you had to look down into a window, they have communal showers.
They just stayed there continuously and he was there for a number of years.
Saint Elizabeth began the effort to reduce people being in hospital beds and going into the community.
DAN: In 1963, President Kennedy signed into law, um, the Community Mental Health, um, Act of 1963.
PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY: And Third hearings begin in the Senate this week on our bills to combat mental illness and mental retardation.
Almost every American family at some stage will experience or has experienced a case of mental affliction and we have to offer something more than crowded custodial care in our state institutions.
Our task is to prevent these conditions, our next is to treat them more effectively and sympathetically in the patient's own community.
DAN: And so the Community Mental Health Act of 1963 was intended to start moving those individuals out of those settings into more appropriate community treatment, closer to their home, closer to their communities.
Unfortunately, the funding didn't follow.
Um, we shut down those, um, those institutions and the idea was to use that funding to support people in their communities.
DR. LAWSON: Rather than simply release them in the community, where they've had very limited experience, where they did not have the skills to be able to, um, take care of their basic needs, and where they often end up in jail for things such as stealing food.
One of the consequences of the institutionalization is that right now, the, um, criminal justice system is the largest provider of mental health services in the United States.
ROBERT TAYLOR: I've known John off and on since 2002.
Um, we've had our ups and downs, because we both suffer from mental illness.
Since I've known John, he's been like the most exciting friend I know.
You know, I mean I'll video camera him, you know, doing this doing that, um, but basically we've been in and out of mental facilities together since 2002.
ROBERT: I know, um, I have to go to the bank later... JOHN: I'll go with you.
I got to put these back then put the silk pants on this.
You know I am going to look good.
ROBERT: Yeah, that's for sure.
KATHRYN: Maryland is actually a much higher resourced state than many other states in this United States.
Despite that, uh, it has a very fragmented behavioral health system.
(Slow, pensive music).
PATRICK KENNEDY: Not a family in America that doesn't have a child with autism, a parent with Alzheimer's, a brother or sister with addiction or depression.
Um, you know, these are all illnesses that affect our behavior and then we can't reject our family members because they act strange and of course we do, because we call them crazy, nuts, psycho.
These are all the pejorative terms that we use to describe people who are suffering from a mental illness.
And who would want to be acknowledged as having suffered from a mental illness if they're called those words.
We need to change the dialogue and open up our arms and our hearts to all around us, because as I said its every single family in America.
JOHN: Five, ten, 15, 20, 25, 30, 30 pounds over 295.
My body weight, ready?
MATT RIEGER: I've been working out with John for a couple of months now and it's been pretty awesome.
He pushes me every time we come in.
MONTE TWILLEY: It's a known fact that consistent exercise can help improve mental illness.
You know, there is a lot of research being done right now to prove that mental health can be improved dramatically as a result of exercise.
MATT: With John, you know, sometimes it does come out, where it's like, ok yeah obviously he's got something, but it's so encouraging that I don't even see it as much as a mental illness as a blessing.
MONTE: John's social worker, Matt, has been working with him, to help John improve his mental illness.
JOHN: If they, they incorporate exercise with their mental health, it will keep them out of the hospital and keep them from being out of trouble.
MATT: One of things we'll do is, maybe not so heavy, but the machines over there have a rep count on them and I'll do like 20 reps and he'll get on there and he'll do like 25 and I'll be like "alright I got, I got to push myself now."
JOHN: Two miles we are going up the hill like this, going up the hill and we over there by 95, we up by 95.
MATT: Sometimes we go, we just don't go to the gym, we do like walks in the woods.
JOE SHARPE: Alright.
Up next we have a local fellow that is, uh, very talented.
He is going to do a hip hop thing for you.
Let's give it up for "The One Man Studio."
JOHN: Wave your hands ♪ I'm a mad sensation on the M-I-C ♪ ♪ Throughout the house now to all the ladies ♪ ♪ (rapping inaudibly) ♪ ♪ Cause I'm down by law, (inaudible) ♪ ♪ I got the r-r-r-rap and the harmony.
♪ ♪ The rest MC's of the name ♪ ♪ because the ladies know that I'm the man.
♪♪ (audience applause).
JOE: So my name's Joe Sharpe and I am a co-host here at the Cecil College Open Mic, the second Friday of every month.
I think, um, a lot of people are trying to understand John and get a feel for what it's like to be around someone with disabilities.
I work at a program called Project Search in uh, Delaware Christiana Hospital and uh, I work with adults that have autism and I have a history of working with adults that um, have learning disabilities, so I wish there would be more funding.
JOHN: I feel like I am a super star, like I just came back from another universe after doing a concert.
Really, I feel like Michael Jackson on stage.
(Din of a busy bar).
JENNIFER LYALI: Honestly the first time I saw John was in his gold ensemble and I thought who is this character?
ROGER MCCARDELL: For, you know, some folks think he's like some kind of comedian or something.
This man is very serious about what he does.
He likes to entertain, but my problem is this, people pick on him, people pick on him and I don't like this.
JENNIFER: I don't doubt that you have a good heart.
JOHN: I do, I have a good heart, I have the best heart.
I mean, I might be cold at my hands, but my heart.
But my heart, my heart stays... JENNIFER: Your hands are very different than your heart.
JOHN: Look, how warm they are.
JENNIFER: Your hands are freezing.
I feel like I need to warm them up for ya.
JOHN: It's ok. JENNIFER: I know that there is something, there's something behind his eyes and there's something that's going on there that we don't know about and everyone, you know, I think everyone endears him.
Everyone wants to be kind and good to him, but there is, you know, you wonder what happens when he goes home at night?
Where does he go home at night?
(Slow piano music).
ADRIAN LUNDRY: One thing I can say that people that go through that, they don't really function as well in society and they just shut down; and John is a perfect example of that.
You know what?
I look at John as one of my family members and uh, he's good guy, very caring.
The thing I like about him is that he brings candy all the time, so that's the best thing about you.
I have a hard question to ask you.
ADRIAN: I don't think you can answer it.
ADRIAN: If I can let you choose anything you want to do in this world and you only gotta pick one thing.
What's one thing would you do in this world?
JOHN: Help the homeless.
MARISSA MILLER: I just think people should understand how different John is from everybody else.
Just because he grew up differently, he's been through a lot and it's just like people look at him and judge him.
JOHN: I met Marissa when I first came to Elkton.
She was working at Pats Pizzeria and um, I didn't have any money on me, I don't think I did and one night she talked to the manager and they gave me the food for free and every since than I knew that me and Marissa would be forever best friends.
But her and Bri are really amazing, because they're so compassionate toward me.
They don't hold my disability against me.
JOHN: Stand there, look.
RESIDENT: So, I just saw John lift a dumpster.
I have no clue how much it weighs, but that was super human, so that was awesome.
JOHN: I looked like I was part cat, wasn't I?
BRIANNA LOWE: Mmm-hmm.
JOHN: You try it.
BRIANNA: What, finger pushups like that?
JOHN: No, my dear what I did... BRIANNA: What?
JOHN: It's called arch your back and then go back up.
It will build your back up.
You want me to show you again?
BRIANNA: You want to see who can do the most push ups?
Come on, you want to?
WOMAN: You better get over there Bri, you better stretch, warm up.
BRIANNA: Where you want to go?
JOHN: Um, you go right there and I go here.
BRIANNA: Alright... JOHN : How many you going to do?
BRIANNA: I don't know, it's a competition remember?
JOHN: Alright, regular push ups.
BRIANNA: Alright, ready?
BRIANNA: What did you get to?
I got to ten.
JOHN: I am not sure, I'm not sure how many I did.
I wasn't counting.
I just did it.
BRIANNA: One day I had to be in here by myself and I called John and I said "John, can you come in here and be with me so I'm not by myself?"
and he said "of course" and then about five minutes later he came in here and he was out of breath.
Um, I said "John, why are you out of breath?"
He said "I ran all the way here.
I didn't want you to be by yourself."
RESIDENT: The fact that John is able to walk around here freely as an African American and get so much love and joy from the people that don't look anything like him.
But when I first encountered him just walking around, you know being active and you know wearing whatever he wanted to wear and being accepted.
I mean that made me a stronger woman, just looking at him.
EDDIE MCNEIL: When I first met John, it was through my good friend, Joe Piner.
He had called me up and he knew I had a studio, 'cause I did work for him on his films and he asked me "would I do a favor for him" and I said, you know, "sure, of course."
First thing I did notice is that um, he was mentally impaired.
We all have a stigma about mental illness.
You know, we always equate it with people going crazy and doing crazy things and you know stuff like that, but when John came in here, you know, I knew there was something special there, especially when he stepped up to that microphone.
Say the words a little more clearer, ok, say the words a little more clearer and a little more defined.
You know what I mean by that?
JOHN: Uh more emphasis... EDDIE: Got you.
There you go.
JOHN: I'm ready.
♪ Ah yeah, ♪ ♪ Here we go y'all, it's a fast rhyme, ♪ ♪ but its going to be slow fast and quick.
♪ ♪ Here we go.
♪ ♪ Party people check it out, ♪ ♪ John Smith going to rock the house.
♪ ♪ You never heard a rapper until you heard from me.
♪ ♪ John Smith on the mic, in the place to be, ♪ ♪ the human studio, [inaudible].
♪♪ EDDIE: The minute I took and started recording, he started blurting out these words, ok?
Now to me it was like he just wrote the words down or he was reading off a piece of paper, you know?
But he was actually coming off the top of his head with these words to the beat that was just made.
Sometimes they go places in their minds, we can't go.
No matter what the way we think or as a person without the illness.
They might think a different way and they might take it to a different level or a different playing field that we could never go to.
CHANELLE POUNDS: Are you going to stay on the street until we find you another option?
JOHN: No, I had a Havre de Grace Application sent to Havre de Grace Housing Authority.
I had that sent out... CHANELLE: What do you want right now?
Meaning this happened.
You don't want to be on the streets, but you don't want to live there.
What would be, What would suffice?
What would be good enough for you right now that I can help you with?
JOHN: I just feel like giving up, I really do... CHANELLE: But you already said you are not a giver upper?
JOHN: My dear, you just don't know what I am going through, my dear.
You just don't know...
I try to tell people left and right, what happened to me and nobody knows.
(scoffs) I got to leave, I just go to leave, I'm sorry.
(Train passes by).
JOHN: All the stuff in my bag is sentimental which means it's related to me.
Uh, it means my personal items and articles.
And I packed them up just for this occasion.
First time I moved to 227 Locus Lane was 2016.
The first time I moved in then my roommate Wayne Barnet moved in and that's when all this trouble started.
He touched my behind and then after that he kissed me two times on my neck.
CHANELLE: For him to make the decision to leave and turn in his key.
I believe that, in my opinion, it was a decision just made off of impulse at that point.
Sometimes people give up on things.
MONTE: But what I am noticing here lately as it relates to John, is he's had some episodes in the last 30 or 60 days, ended up in the Union Hospital.
It's a local hospital here in Cecil County.
Quite honestly, I am afraid that John possibly might fall through the system.
NURSE: Are you in any pain right now, John?
You were seen today because after you gave blood yesterday you haven't been feeling right.
NURSE: You had been feeling a little bit light-headed and fatigued.
NURSE: Um, we did check your white blood count and it appears to be ok. Nobody is taking the time and the work that they need to, to really pay attention.
MONTE: I don't know why he's struggling, but somehow somebody is not paying attention enough to what is John going through.
NURSE: I hope you feel better buddy.
Get some rest, ok?
JOHN: I will, my dear.
I'll be alright.
It's just temporary, like I told him.
It's just temporary.
MONTE: We've got to insure that John is stable from the mental health stand point and that's for all of us.
KATHRYN FARINHOLT: The fact that it costs someone a huge amount of money every time John goes into the hospital; we should be looking at this as not only how do we help John make the right decisions and how do we provide all the services that he really needs in the community that will be targeted at that very small population who cycles in and out, um, and can't seem to make those right choices.
SANJAY GUPTA: But regard to mental health, you'll remember back in 2008 there was a mental health parity bill that was passed, which basically says let's think of mental health on par with physical health.
Everything from your co-pays, and your deductibles, to the fact that you would classify mental health as an essential health service in the way that you would classify physical health.
EMILIE DAVIS: I think the stigma for a lot of mental illness is they think that, you know, they're, they're damaged and that they can't, you know, function like, um, you and I and everybody else; especially with the residential.
You know, if you see them on the street you might think that they're homeless, but, um, but not all of them are like that, but there is a stigma even for people that are not in our program.
RESIDENT: Yeah, I get upset that, at the way they treat Johnny in this town, because he will never have children, he will never have a family, he'll never have all that because they don't give him the opportunity at Upper Bay.
JOHN: We need more funding for mental illness, we need more funding.
All y'all wanna do, all these people want to do is just build more schools and more universities, but we need more funding for mental illness.
EDWARD KIOMALL: Did you make that?
Did you put it together?
JOHN: No it's made like that.
I mean, I got this at the flea market for, um, $1.
EDWARD: So tell me something, did you saw that on somebody else or it's all your ideas?
JOHN: My ideas... EDWARD: Your idea, huh?
JOHN: I call my name sometimes when I am out with people, I call myself the Blinkster.
EDWARD: You like shiny-ness stuff don't ya?
JOHN: Oh yes I like bling.
EDWARD: Would you wear a jacket like what's in the picture right in there.
JOHN: I'll wear that.
EDWARD : You'll wear that, huh?
JOHN: Yeah like that.
I need something like that.
EDWARD: Oh like that vest up there.
That's, I'm talking about the jacket down there.
JOHN: Yeah I will.
EDWARD: My name is Edward Kiomall.
I own Edward's Fashions and I've been here for about 47 some years.
This is different type of fashion.
John wears his own fashion.
Because of John's way that he went through his life.
I mean nobody is going to force him in wearing t-shirts like we wear or suits like we wear or you know any other type like that, but his own ideas coming right from his head.
JOHN: Hey buddy I'm in your grill.
I know aren't you scared of me?
Aren't you scared?
You got yellow eyes I got green eyes, see buddy?
VICTORIA GRACE: So this is a Halloween store at Costume Cabaret and I already met John that is a new customer for me and its, Oh my God, I love his style and I didn't know that he takes his clothes from here to make his own style.
John, come here, let me see you again.
You're so cute.
I love it, I love it right?
JOHN: Yes, you do, my dear.
VICTORIA: You are a fashion star!
JOHN: Ah, thanks.
VICTORIA: I like the fashion, but I like when it's original.
It's not just a copy.
You know the trending it's like the old, so we can make our own style.
(Sound of bus driving).
DRIVER: Cause there's only a couple of more hours a week.
WOMAN: Seeing John always happy all the time makes you really motivated and makes you think about things in life and what you're going through, but I mean it makes it easier.
You can learn a lot about mental illness just watching him, actually.
(Flicker of movie projector).
KATHRYN: So families do not get even basic education about these illnesses or support on how to handle things and a lot of the behaviors in these illnesses can be scary or different.
It is not unusual, unfortunately, for family members to become estranged, to distance themselves from the issue and it takes a lot of love and strength to reconnect.
(Flapping of flags).
MONTE TWILLEY: So it's been a week now since I have had the opportunity to reach out to John's family members, but I haven't had any success, but I am going to keep trying.
I want to do it for John.
I want to, I kinda want to do it for myself, I kind of know how he feels.
I haven't told John that I have not connected with his family members.
I haven't told him that I've been unsuccessful over the past week, but I know I got to let him know soon.
I really feel that in the African American community it's taboo.
Often, shame comes with it when family members find out that they have long lost ones who suffer with mental illness.
DR. LAWSON: Unfortunately, the disparities that we've seen, we also been seeing in terms of African Americans for mental illness as well.
The experience in terms of Central State in Saint Petersburg as well as the experience at Saint Elizabeth showing that it was important advances made to recognize that African Americans with mental disorders could be treated and should be treated rather than put in correctional facilities.
MICHAEL BRANDON: My name is Mike Brandon the Executive Director of the Paris Foundation located in Elkton, Maryland.
We provide an evening meal seven days a week and lunch on Sundays, so eight meals a week, to anyone in the community in need.
ROBERT IMPERATRICE: And what that does is the meal acts as a mechanism for us to draw people in, so we can help get them services, whether it's help with mental illness, whether it's help with addiction, uh, whether its just someone to talk to.
MARY STALLARD: Is his mother still alive, then?
MICHAEL: He said they're not living just his sister, Brenda Rouse.
MARY: As a mother I'm thinking what, you know, like, if that happens to your child, you're there for them, you know?
And that's why I am wondering if maybe she wasn't alive and why he went into the foster system.
MICHAEL: When we get a call from a family member, we make sure that we connect folks.
A lot of times they say I hear that my son or my daughter, uh, my husband, my wife comes to the Paris Foundation.
Somebody told me via the grapevine.
But sometimes folks, as we said; don't want to be found, don't want that connection anymore.
Nobody judges here, you know, if we can send that message out to folks that there's enough judgment in the world.
Um, just because somebody's different doesn't make them less of a person; it just means they're different and um, they have abilities and skills as John demonstrates with his rapping.
He can free style rap with the best of them and try that once.
Try that looking into the mirror some night and get three lines that rhyme.
When John is given the opportunity, he's a very social person, and he's very easy to talk to when given the opportunity.
But, a lot of people are standoffish.
A lot of people won't engage and that's why places like the Paris Foundation provide a point of contact for different segments of our community to come together on a level playing field and I think that's all folks are asking for.
(Creek water rushing).
JOHN: See, this is so tiny, if you drop it you can't find it, because it's so like invisible, but here is the hole.
Now I'll be pinpoint accuracy.
Told you, see?
It is not so hard but Jesus, some people can't do it.
What I am doing it will calm you down and people with mental illness, I know people keep saying they're crazy but they're not.
What I am trying to say is nobody is crazy.
God didn't make nobody crazy.
I don't know why people keep putting that in the media.
Arts and crafts calms me down 'cause I use to have a lot of anger, but this right here, it calms my nerves, my neurons and transmitters and it calms me to a point where I am almost serene like I am somewhat enlightened.
I put this...
I guess the lines through the little holes and you can see this is the finished product that I did and it's beautiful because different colors.
It's not like plain.
It's like supreme ultimate necklace.
No matter what disability you have, you can do it.
In honor of God you can do it.
MONTE: Hey John I brought you here for a special reason today.
I need to be able to share some information with you.
Would it be ok if we meet with Pastor Mike and I'll share that information with you?
JOHN: Oh yes sir, that will be ok, that will be ok. (footsteps).
(necklaces rattle and clang) MONTE: John, I asked for Pastor Mike to join me today because I wanted to be able to share with you what I've learned over the past month and a half as far as trying to identify and locate some of your family members.
Unfortunately, John, it appears that they have not responded back.
JOHN: I don't know why they do this.
MIKE: Nothing to be sorry for, brother.
John, as I said you're family here, you always will be, always have been.
Um, sometimes the folks that we have to think of as blood relations don't really have that concern for us.
They're more concerned with themselves and what's going on in their lives.
Um, but you're always concerned about others.
That's one of the things that makes you stand out as a man of faith.
You always take into consideration how you're impacting other people.
You always greet other folks, so you stand above them.
You got to look at yourself and you can look at yourself in the mirror and you can be proud of the young man that you are and we're behind you 100% whatever we can do for you.
You know that... WAYNE BARNET: Last night, my friend John got into a little altercation back on 95 hitchhiking to New York.
JOHN: It's not y'all, it's just, I am just going through hell right now.
HAYLI WARREN: Alright, let's go.
JOHN: I can't take too much from my roommate, so I walked, I was mad and um, I was going to go toward New York.
HAYLI: We are going to pick his stuff up and then we are going to go and get him a hotel.
WAYNE: He's just going through something in life like everybody else does.
As long as he takes his meds and stuff, he will be alright.
JOHN: I kept walking past the Flying J and then I saw a sign that said New York, so I kept walking.
Here you go Hayli, I saved them for you.
HAYLI: You don't have any beads on.
JOHN: I know, I got this.
I got this yesterday.
Ok Hayli, here you go.
HAYLI: Where'd you get it?
JOHN: I got it from the Goodwill.
Here you go.
HAYLI: Aw, that's pretty.
WAYNE: He can live here anytime he wants to.
He tells everybody that he is moving, but he can't move, 'cause he doesn't have enough income to move by himself.
BRIANNA LOWE: I'm getting John a room for tonight, so that he doesn't have to go home.
Um, last night he didn't want to go home, so that got him into a lot of trouble, so I'm just going to have him stay here tonight.
HAYLI: John, you have to come sign this.
JOHN: Then do what?
HAYLI: Right here, where the "x" is.
JOHN: Let's see.
BRIANNA: See, you just wave it.
JOHN: That's awesome.
JOHN: I was really down and out and I had no hope, because the people were laughing at me.
You know, I walk around mad as hell and I was thinking about taking my life last night, but I didn't.
HAYLI: You have to make sure you take this tomorrow.
JOHN: I will.
HAYLI: It says Tuesday.
JOHN: I know tonight.
HAYLI: And Wednesday morning, so take this tonight.
JOHN: I will.
HAYLI: Don't forget.
Leave that drink in there, so you can take it with the drink.
JOHN: Love y'all.
BRIANNA: Love you, too.
HAYLI: Bye John.
JOHN: Sorry, girls.
(Sink water running).
♪ ♪ HEATHER FITZGERALD: The black is your door.
JOHN: All right.
JOHN: The green?
HEATHER: The green is the front door and the black is your door.
JOHN: Alright, cool.
JOHN: Ah man.
Thank you Lord.
Ah man, this is the greatest deal in life.
This is amazing.
This is good.
This is what I had to do, to get this, I did it.
Me and God and my friends, best friends here.
HEATHER: All right, buddy.
JOHN: All right, let's see what we got.
HEATHER: Go see what you got.
I am so shaking; I don't know what to do.
I got it, I did it.
Here you go.
Y'all come in.
HEATHER: John, why don't you look in your bedroom?
JOHN: Ah man.
I got it.
HEATHER: Mark bought it for you.
JOHN: Ah, thanks.
HEATHER: And he dropped it off in the parking lot and my son and I inflated it.
WAYNE: Me and John lived together for three years.
They considered, the social workers, the Upper Bay people, the counselors of him considered this house a bad name and considered I'm a bad person and they don't know nothing about me, so that's the reason why John is moving out.
JOHN: Love you too.
WAYNE: I'm going to miss him.
John and I were roommates and every time, you know, something would happen or John would get upset.
You know, John, or would get out of character; they would think I was the blame for that.
He probably wasn't taking his medication, but they always blamed me for this, toxic.
HEATHER MISTLER: It was unhealthy for John.
Um, and when you're going and getting um, medication and then you go home and there are freaking mice everywhere and you are having a schizophrenic breakdown.
Like, it's not healthy.
WAYNE: His mental health is his mental health.
I got mental problems myself and I take my medication, but sometimes he don't take his and you know, he just gets out of control.
HEATHER: I believe that there's two sides to every story.
Do I believe that...
I think that something did happen that made John feel very uncomfortable.
He's told people like yeah he's tried to touch me inappropriately.
You know, like I believe there's, there's truth in everything that's said, but to what degree, like only Wayne and John know.
HEATHER: So this is John's, um, machine that self dispenses and it's basically has a schedule that he's supposed to follow in terms of his medication.
And John you want to tell us what you do.
You hit the button, so today you're scheduled for 10 PM, right?
JOHN: Well, that's what I do.
I hit this.
JOHN: And then... HEATHER: Your pin, but you don't want to dispense right now so... JOHN: Yeah, I know, I know.
HEATHER: He enters a pin.
It's for, I am going to guess individuals that, um, need non-traditional type of um, care, yup, so that it reduces the amount of medication he may take on purpose.
JOHN: Because I took an overdose... HEATHER: Yeah, so... And also I believe it's computerized, so it can track, like, how compliant he is.
Like is he 30% compliant or is he 65% compliant.
(Soft electronic music).
JOHN: It's been two months since I've been here and my friends, my best friends and supporters and people helping me has shown me It's easy to live on your own.
CHANELLE POUNDS: You see here where it says dependence...
This is, you know, we are all born right here.
We all start right here... And then um, we want to get to a point in life after we do a few of these things.
We get to a point where we get to independence, so um, for me, John here when he wanted to get out of his home and he wanted to leave.
Um, he got his own apartment now and it took him to independence.
And then this pandemic happened and it dropped him right back down to dependence.
Uh, and we all, once we know what independence feel like, we definitely don't want to go back to dependence.
That could really um, mentally affect someone.
REPORTER: The corona virus pandemic has forced people around the world to adjust to a new routine.
REPORTER 2: There are more than 23,000 confirmed cases of corona virus in Maryland and more than 1,000 people have died.
DAN MARTIN: Mental and emotional toll of the COVID-19 pandemic is just starting to come into focus, but soon enough it's going to be impossible to miss.
Um, many Marylanders will experience exacerbations of existing mental health and substance abuse disorders.
Others are going to contend with um, a variety of stressors and emotional disorders tied to isolation, um, tied to a loss of employment, tied to grief from the death of a loved one.
HEATHER FITZGERALD: Veronica and Katrina are going to help me and Heather Mistler put all those needs that you want support with.
We are going to put them into a budget plan.
JOHN: Well what I need is really is, um...
Mom on Wheels.
I can't say it, what is it?
“Meals on Wheels” HEATHER MISTLER: Oh, the mom with meals?
JOHN: Meals on Wheels, I need that really because cooking is not my forte.
HEATHER MISTLER: You could also be trained to get those skills.
HEATHER FITZGERALD: That's right.
So for many decades, you haven't practiced yet how to save money.
(ATM machine beeps).
JOHN: No, I could budget my life.
I just, it's just... Money it's like... HEATHER MISTLER: I think you do a great job of scheduling and um, taking care of like the health end of your appointments.
HEATHER FITZGERALD: We all have our things to buy.
Does that mean that you aren't going to order outfits?
$75 is your total for today.
JOHN: Thank you sir.
I just got, a Jesus piece praying hands necklace for $20.00 down there at one of the vendors.
HEATHER FITZGERALD: No, no, no, I don't want you to have to think about that.
JOHN: Well, it does bring me joy.
HEATHER FITZGERALD: Exactly, so let's just budget it so that you can get outfits, but not spend all your money.
JOHN: But I do, I do the needs first.
I pay my rent.
I got two bills to pay now, but that's ok I will get that done anyway.
Then people I owe money to, I do that.
HEATHER FITZGERALD: Also the other thing that's in the budgeting and spending.
Part of the goal for you, I would suggest, is for you to never have to say...
The five words that we all just heard you say.
"People I owe money."
HEATHER MISTLER: But I definitely think that your financial ends.
Like those are um...
The impulsive shopping.
Next time, instead of coming to me after you take out a loan, we'll talk about it before.
HEATHER FITZGERALD: $700 loan.
They would recoup $3,248.00.
HEATHER MISTLER: It won't be you having to come to the Help Center, or which obviously I don't care that you come to the Help Center.
But it's knowing that you're going to have that support after.
Or, do you know what I mean?
JOHN: I do... (Soft guitar music) BECKY BARTON: When we think of this kind of thing, people talk about the drugs or other concerns.
They don't talk about the mental issues that people have like John has and there needs to be awareness brought to it, especially in the small communities.
KATHRYN FARINHOLT: Mental Illness affects 1 in 5 families.
1 in 100 people will develop schizophrenia in their lifetime and if we don't talk about mental illness, we will continue to have people who do not get the services they need.
We will continue to have unfunded programming.
DR. LAWSON: The good news is that right now we have the opportunity to bring about change, so that folks can return to the community, they can think about recovery, they can return to their families.
They can live normal and productive lives.
(music plays through credits)