For AJ, his struggles with mental health started at an early age.
At just 10 years old, AJ was diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder, and shortly after, he was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and clinical depression.
AJ struggled with his mental health, and his parents felt the pressure of finding the right help for him. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to find the support he needed, and, as a result, battled with relating to people his age with what he was living with.
AJ soon felt isolated, so he left home and admitted himself to the hospital.
During his hospital stay, AJ was transferred to a crisis shelter, and while there, he was connected with a social worker which helped him access United Way supported agencies. These services helped him develop into the thriving man he is today.
Through United Way, AJ uncovered a path to give back to his community by way of peer-mentoring programs, and has been able to cope with his mental health by helping people with their own.
“It’s very rewarding to be able to help other people, especially young people who are around my age who might not have had the supports that I’ve had,” he says.
Without the services provided by United Way supported programs, AJ feels he would not be successful in life. He says he is lucky to have entered supportive programs at an early age, which prevented him from going down the wrong path in life.
“I was incredibly lucky to have had the resources presented to me when they were,” AJ says.