They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Jeff’s story can so easily be proof of that adage. At the time of Jeff’s birth, his father was in jail, and his mother abandoned him. He was left the care of his paternal grandmother, a paranoid schizophrenic. All other family members were wrapped up in their own problems and had little time or interest in nurturing Jeff.
Eventually, Jeff was sent to live with his mother who by then had five other children. She worked long hours, yet struggled financially. Proclaiming Jeff to be “too difficult to straighten out,” she sent him to live with his now-released father who was completely incapable of raising a child. Jeff was shipped back to his mother.
Jeff – now an angry and depressed teen – hung out with a dangerous crowd. He was in a downward spiral of illegal substance use, fighting, and burglarizing. The juvenile justice system got involved, and Jeff was ordered into treatment. Psychiatric hospitalization provide acute stabilization for a mental health crisis, but his behavior did not improve. Jeff was arrested and placed in juvenile detention which subsequently led him to Jackson-Feild Behavioral Health Services (JFBHS).
Jeff arrived at JFBHS with diagnoses of major depressive disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity, oppositional defiant disorder, and cannabis use disorder. He also was carrying a huge chip on his shoulder.
Thanks to a plan of care developed specifically for Jeff and his needs, Jeff began to show a different side of himself. He is remarkably intelligent and has a great sense of humor. He quickly became motivated to complete his high school education, and is currently taking classes toward earning Elanco Veterinary Medical Applications Certification and becoming a veterinary assistant. In addition to his own studies in things such as Veterinary Laws & Ethics, Veterinary Medical Terms & Terminology and more, Jeff happily takes time to work with younger students struggling with their math and reading skills.
Jeff could so easily have followed in his parents’ footsteps, but thanks to his willingness to work with his JFBHS counselors, therapists and teachers, Jeff is proof that while the apple may not fall far from the tree, it’s not automatically destined to remain there. It can be moved to a better place.