Donna has found a home and a community at St. Vincent de Paul Louisville.
“They’re always there for you,” Donna said. “So I’m really glad I got with St. Vincent de Paul because they’ll help you with anything.”
As a resident of Tranquil House since 2001, Donna says she has “no idea” where she would live without SVDP’s help, but “probably would have been on a psych floor.”
Tranquil House opened in 1992 and has 12 efficiency apartments for clients with a chronic mental illness, such as suffering from schizophrenia, a bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Each person has access to individual and group counseling with licensed mental health professionals on staff. These services are the primary driver of real change in the lives of our clients (see the chart).
Donna has struggled with cutting and burning herself over the years, but has seen significant progress.
“I think Donna’s learned to use better coping skills, and she knows that there’s support out there because she doesn’t have a lot of support otherwise,” said Matt Weaver, SVDP’s Associate Director of Clinical Services. “We need to try to help clients think, feel, and act differently, and that takes time.”
Donna has been grateful for the genuine care she’s experienced at SVDP.
“Anytime I want to, I can call Matt,” Donna said. “He tells me that every time group ends, if you have a problem or something, you know my phone number. And see, I called his number so many times, I don’t even need his card. I know his number by heart.”
Donna has also found friendship with her Tranquil House neighbors.
“Here at Tranquil House, it’s like we’re all friends,” Donna added. “I can go out there and sit at the picnic table and—if someone sees me—they’ll come out and sit down and we’ll just talk and stuff.”
Residents can attend a weekly Tranquil group on campus, or Weaver will regularly take residents on trips. They’ve been to the Waterfront Park, Big Rock in Cherokee Park, Cave Hill Cemetery & Arboretum, and Fat Rabbit Thrift & Vintage. This allows them to enjoy the Louisville area because “they’re not able to do things like that on their own.”
Donna hasn’t just found housing at Tranquil House, she’s made it home for her and her cat, Midnight. Her single-bedroom apartment is fully furnished with enough movies to last a month, crosses spread across the wall, two framed Beatles’ albums, a Huffy bike, books, and various trinkets.
“I just like living here. I guess I’m used to it now,” she said.