Stay up-to-date on RCCCS news and our involvement in the community

“Just Give Up” – The Struggle To Obtain Services

“As a woman of faith, I thank God for River City. They care. That’s the only way that I can explain it. They care about people.” – Ms. Queen T. Harris, Joi’s mother


If the circumstances were any different, you could. There are a million reasons and as many situations where quitting would be understandable, but not this time. This time, the reality of giving up doesn’t exist because it can’t. There is too much at stake for success not to be an option; the option. The vision of your future and everything you had hoped for within it beginning to fall into place or realizing that these hopes had suddenly become unobtainable is becoming a reality, and you’ve got to do something.

It’s because this time, we aren’t talking about finding the right clothing to interview for a new position that would give you a much-needed financial and professional boost.

This time, we aren’t talking about missing the bus and catching another ride to school so you don’t miss an important test.

We’re talking about finding a way to obtain the assistance you need to help manage your mental health.

Joi is twenty-five years old. From Highland Springs, Richmond has always been home for her. After graduating from high school, Joi began taking classes at J Sargeant Reynolds Community College, working toward a degree in early childhood development. She was doing well and was meeting her academic goals when she experienced a personal loss so deep that it threatened all of the progress she had made. “My grandmother passed away.” Having shared an especially close bond with her grandmother, this loss was particularly difficult for Joi. She soon fell into a depression, one which disrupted her personal and home life as well as her academic pursuits. Managing her depression on her own, Joi attempted to keep herself focused over the next several years, but was not as successful as she had hoped. After attempting to take her own life in late 2014, Joi was hospitalized for several days and subsequently discharged. The hospital had recommended a local agency for outpatient individual therapy sessions, and that was the beginning of the road back to positive health for Joi. She began to notice a marked, positive change in her everyday life, and things were doing well until November when her insurance plan changed, eliminating coverage for the outpatient therapy sessions that she had begun to rely upon. “The insurance could only take care of the medication management. Everything else she no longer fit the criteria for. Things just weren’t a “fit”” says Queen Harris, Joi’s mother.

Despite these new circumstances, Joi was determined to secure a new therapist. She had come to benefit greatly from the outpatient sessions she had been attending over the previous months, and didn’t want to leave behind all of the progress she had made. Joi and her mother began the search for someone who was willing to provide services on a pro-bono basis, making the task even more difficult. “We did all of the research on the recommendations of the hospital. Mom would find someone for us to look into and we would contact them to see if they could help. We reached out to several local agencies, none of which were able to take my case” says Joi.  “I am interested in getting coping skills; I have issues and I did not want it to get worse, and it had become worse before and I didn’t want to go back to that state where I had suicidal thoughts and didn’t want to be around anybody, those kinds of things. Depression.”

As the search continued, Joi and her mother stumbled upon River City Comprehensive Counseling Services after a web search. They called the office, and were surprised to find out not only would River City be willing to assist, but they could get her in for an assessment and begin sessions almost immediately. “When I met with Jimmy, we were pretty much at the end of our options. Talking with him was nothing short of a big relief for me, as a parent who wants to facilitate and do everything I can to help my child” says Queen. ” I knew a lot of this depended on her and the decisions that she made, but the presentation wasn’t complicated – he just dove in and said he would help. He got right to the point, and didn’t ask us about anything else outside of why we were there and how he could help – starting where we were that day to move forward. He was also very transparent himself and had a story to share.”

Joi has been receiving outpatient services and attending a weekly group since December of 2014, and has made some significant steps in the right direction since. “I seriously have no idea what I might have done if I had not gotten in here” she says. “I was at the end of my rope.” Her outlook on so much has changed in the past several months, and things she struggled with her feelings over, such as not having a driver’s license, have changed as well. “Driver’s license – I thought about my health. it hasn’t always been easy, but I’ve had a more positive outlook on that. Thinking about moving out has still been a struggle because I want to be able to be on my own. I feel like I am getting to the point where I can keep things on track. I want to talk more. If I don’t bottle it in so much, I know I won’t react later in a negative fashion. That’s a big achievement. Music has also become very important. I spend time listening to things that make me happy as much as I can.” Joi could have given up. It would have been easy for her to, and it may have even been understandable – but she knew this was never an option for her; she knew that it would take time and effort to find a provider to meet her needs, and with some persistence, she did. One of the keys to making the search successful, she says, is your attitude. “Do your research. Don’t quit. There are a lot of free services out there to offer you a lot of the things you need and are looking for. Just try.”