Healing, then finding a job that fits

by | Dec 11, 2019 | Behavioral Health

Kieran Morgan smiles when you ask him how work is going.

“I’m in a position that I can keep for several years,” Kieran said. “I like it and I’m getting better at it.”

That’s a major accomplishment when you learn about Kieran’s mental health journey. It started in 2015 when he came to LCS Northwest in Klamath Falls for help. Kieran was suicidal and highly unstable. A roommate persuaded him to visit us, even providing his bus money to make the trip.

Working with Mental Health Counselor Scot Milano, Kieran learned he had depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Kieran teamed with Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Stephanie McVay to find the right medication. The first two tries were unsuccessful, but the third worked. In early 2017, he started taking Luvox, and symptoms became manageable. They remain that way.

With his health stabilized, Kieran was ready to find a job. He turned to our Supported Employment services for help. The first attempt didn’t go well, but then he teamed with Supported Employment Specialist Julie Sheasby in October 2017.

“At first we got to know each other – my history, my struggles and my work history,” Kieran said. “Julie listened even if she didn’t understand. Being heard is really important.”

The first two jobs were not a fit. A temporary three-month gig working on the Walmart remodeling crew led to a cashier position. One of his responsibilities as a cashier was to make store announcements over the intercom, which caused panic attacks.

“Nobody understands this, but I’m good at it because I fear it,” Kieran said. He tried moving to other departments, but was told that he was doing just fine as a cashier.

During this time, he struggled personally with roommate, financial and housing problems. Kieran decided he couldn’t do the job anymore. Next was working at Wendy’s. It was less of a fit and lasted four months.

All along, Julie had been working with Kieran to get a job at the Best Western. That came through in February 2019. Kieran is the front desk associate for the swing shift, from 3-11 p.m.  Starting in the slow season allowed for training, which led to success during the busy summer months.

“They appreciate that I do the job and that I’m showing up,” he said. “It’s nice to have a real job with future prospects that give me life skills.”

He’s quick to praise Best Western General Manager Vickie Rose and his co-workers. They gave him a chance and provide support.

“I just really appreciate her as a manager, even when there is friction,” Kieran said. “When I make a mistake, they treat it as a learning opportunity.”

They work with Kieran as a transgender person. Co-workers use his preferred gender pronouns he/him, but most customers refer to Kieran as she/her. He’s learned to not let gender confusion bother him.

Kieran would like to return to school when his finances stabilize. Kieran’s journey continues and he is grateful that Julie is still there for him.