My Journey to Obtain Mental Well-being and Independence

By: Reece Gatliff

My journey to obtain mental well-being and independence has been a long one, full of twists-and-turns, numerous setbacks and triumphs, and mighty struggles. This journey would, over time, take me to Alliance House, to a better life.

A year ago I was a wreck. Staying at an extended-stay hotel, away from home, I chose to go into residential treatment in Salt Lake City (SLC); the treatment program I chose was slated to last a year or more. I had a choice to only stay a month in a hospital in Ohio, but I chose the harder option because I knew that what is hard is oftentimes the good in life.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) was the reason for going into treatment, extreme and very baffling OCD. Many a time while staying in residential treatment OCD thoughts cropped up and made it difficult to persevere. Trying, trying, always trying I failed again and again but kept on trying to beat the OCD; my initial attempts to beat it failed.

In October, having been in residential treatment since May 20th 2016, I briefly went to wilderness therapy in southern Utah. Sometimes, I wonder if it was for the best but the whole truth is wilderness gave me some of my worst life experiences and also some of my most wonderful ones. I furthermore figured out just how to win against it after a good long fight, leaving wilderness therapy in mid-November.

After a few hiccups and, after going out one of one residential treatment center to another, I was finally able to triumph over OCD. I applied to college and moved out of treatment into an apartment. This is the part of my story where Alliance House came into play. After a long while, I started attending Alliance House regularly, getting to know some great members and staff. I recently acquired a Transitional Employment (TE) opportunity at Wasatch Brewery.

Alliance House gives my life purpose. I love volunteering my time, always feeling both welcomed and useful. A year ago, I couldn’t imagine I’d be living independently in SLC. Nor could I imagine making something of myself as a writer, son, brother, and friend. I am hopeful for the future.

By |2017-12-29T18:06:05+00:00June 13th, 2017|Member Stories|Comments Off on My Journey to Obtain Mental Well-being and Independence

Kyle’s Story

Kyle Robinson’s Story:

I was crossing Redwood Road and I got hit by an oncoming car going 40 mph. I ran into her windshield head first and flew 70 feet and was unconscious. The woman stood by my side with 3 other witnesses until the cops came. The women’s name was Tracy. And they filled out a police report. The EMT got there and rushed me to IMC Hospital and when I got there I was in a coma. I was hooked up to life support. I broke a lot of bones and was in surgery for 12 hours. I shattered my leg, they had to put in a metal rod and some bolts and screws to fix it. I had a compound break on my arm, the bone was sticking out.

They had to put a metal plate and screws to put back in place. Then when I was out they put me in ICU. My whole family came to see me and every day and night my mom and my grandparents were there. I was in a coma for 2 weeks and they had to put in a trachea so I could breathe through my neck. Then I was transferred to Landmark Hospital where I started to get physical therapy (PT), occupational therapy (OT), and speech therapy (ST) every day. PT to get my legs and muscles stronger, OT gets me to re-learn tasks again. Speech therapy is to learn to speak again and work at swallowing. All my therapists were good to me and worked well with me. I also had a respiratory therapist who took care of my trachea and made sure I was breathing right.

He had to suction me to keep from choking on my spit and mucous. That means they had to shove a small tube-like thing down my throat hooked up to a basket to suction so I would not choke. It was not fun.  I wore a neck brace because I broke some bones in my neck. I was there for a few weeks. Then I was moved to a Care Center. They were not nice to me at all. They caused me to have a UTI and caused me to be dehydrated. I was there only for 2 weeks, then back to the ICU for 5 days.

Then I got sent to Hunter Hollow Care Center. They were much better. I stayed there until I was better. I was in their respiratory hall where a met a married couple named Leia and Paul that were respiratory therapists. They were great. I met another patient named Jen, she was great.

Then I started Occupational Therapy.  My therapist’s name was Cynthia, she was good as well. I also met my two speech therapists named Brook & Sarah. They were amazing. They helped me with talking and slowing down. I also had good doctors and nurses and some of their names were Domeras, Yonalen.

Finally I got the trachea out. Then I got sent to a regular hallway where I met the cool nurse Aj. He was a lot of fun. The aids were McKenzie, Samantha, Brandon, Katie.  And I still had therapy in the gym. I met a really cute girl named Shay (we’re just friends) and we started doing therapy together.

The feeding tube in my nose kept coming out and had to keep getting replaced. That was painful and no fun.

So then they said let’s put it in your stomach. And it made

me sick until my body got used to it. They took my trachea out and that was a relief and I started to eat real food again and was on a normal diet. But I still had to thicken my drinks and that was not fun. And a few weeks

later I got the feeding tube out for good. I started going to the bathroom on my own again. I could wheel myself around in a wheelchair and I got to go out once a week with my mom to the movies. It was fun. Then I started walking with a walker. Then I learned to do stairs again.       Then the next week I went to Wendover with my mom. I saw Night Ranger in concert and it was fun. I did not have to thicken my drinks anymore.  Then I got to go to my high school graduation and walk with a walker and got my diploma. It was amazing. And then I could walk without a walker. Just use a walker sometimes.

I got back to normal after 10 months of recovery. Then I left Hunter Hollow and said goodbye to everyone and went to Provo Care Center and was there for 4 months. Now I’m back home with my mom in Taylorsville. And PT still comes to me twice a week. It’s nice to be home. No more hospital or care center. Back to my old life again with my freedom.


The end.


By |2017-06-05T03:19:30+00:00February 1st, 2017|Member Stories|1 Comment

Tracy Allen’s Clubhouse provides the Keys to the Future

  • All through my childhood, I struggled with dark and lonely days. My depression left me in a downward spiral, leaving me with nothing but fear. Everything I did, see, and hear constantly scared me. With my PTSD I was stuck in the middle of a nightmare
  • Locked up in my head, I was completely numb. Everything inside of me was dead with no feelings and no life, with no future, my home (shelter) was a dark echoing cave.
  • I would hibernate by closing my eyes and curling up in a ball – from crippling flashbacks; this was going on every frightening hour.
  • In my preteens I was introduced to drugs
  • Unfortunately I slipped even further and got more stuck in my mental illness.
  • Later on in the following months, I became caught up in theft and vandalism. I was feeling suicidal even started cutting. I trusted no one. Thinking everyone was out to hurt me.
  • I was living with Mother at the time but because of my poor choices I could no longer live with her.
  • I received emergency housing. Although I was grateful for a roof over my head I still struggled to pay bills and buy groceries.  I didn’t have the skills to understand or keep a budget so I had to have my mother be my representative payee
  • Thankfully, soon after getting emergency housing I was able to receive housing through HUD. I was able to move into the cozy apartment I have today.
  • One day in 2007 a nurse at Valley Behavioral Health suggested I check out a place called Alliance House
  • I went to orientation at Alliance House and that day I was able to open my eyes and ears a bit for the first time.
  • I finally found hope – the kind of hope I only heard some people say, but never really felt. I came by the next day still a bit in my shell and a nervous wreck, for I hadn’t experienced this aspect of mental health services before. Through working with members and staff (even if for short periods of time), I started building confidence, self-esteem and friendships.
  • Approximately six months later, I started to become comfortable with people and learned how to trust. With the support of members and staff – I have learned many new tools like:
    • Sobriety and wellness
    • Social and behavioral skills with the support of my Clubhouse community.
    • I felt confident enough to try a transitional employment job in the community
    • I worked with staff to find ways to improve my reading comprehension despite my learning disability
    • I have been given peer leadership and mentoring opportunities through Alliance House
    • And I even got a chance of a lifetime to attend a Clubhouse Conference in Hawaii


‘Alliance House not only can provide actual keys for housing which is the reason why many of us are here today but for me it has provided the keys I needed for my future.’

By |2017-06-05T03:19:30+00:00January 18th, 2017|Member Stories, Uncategorized|2 Comments

Member Story from Michael Grant

I have come from a well understanding of mental health awareness in my early youth; feather more in my early twenty. Around that time, was when I heard and started to come and attend to Alliance House which would be back in late year of 2010. I had enrolled with getting my high school diploma within a year & it was awesome, because a lot of staffs & members along the side work and team together to get things going smooth. After I graduated, Transitional Employment was offering me to Jones Waldo, which was a great offer, but at that time I didn’t think it would suit me good. A few months passed by, then the University of Utah Transitional Employment was offered to me. It was a great job, because most times I would be outdoors which indeed is lovely. It was the right match for me. By all that reasoning Alliance House given me a states of clarity of knowledge by being a social accommodation of volunteer work in the clubhouse, which as getting to understand by other similarity of the varsity of managing job skills in which/or getting schooling to qualified to reach goals of careers.


Thank you my dearest friends at Alliance House.

Minty G. (Michael Grant)

By |2017-01-20T22:19:14+00:00January 4th, 2017|Member Stories, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Member Story from Michael Grant

Dell Davis member story


How are you doing my name is Dell Davis

My history starts on January 28, 1978 when I was born I was 7lbs 6 ounces I was a beautiful baby and but I had a rough life. I was the oldest of 5 siblings. At an early age it became clear that I had ADHD among other things. By the time I was 3 years old I was already getting in trouble at preschool and the state of Nevada wanted to take me away from my mom because it was difficult for her to take care of me and my brother and sister. My grandparents stepped in and took custody of me.

When I was 9 I moved with my grandparents from Nevada to Salt Lake city. I was put in the special education program at Rosewood Elementary, where I made a lot of friends.

I finished elementary and moved to west valley and went to Glendale Intermediate school. Kids made fun of me and teased me. So I started getting in lots of fights and getting in trouble. We moved again, in fact we moved 8 times from the age of 12-15. All of the moves made it hard for me to get anywhere with my education. I had to repeat a lot of grades. Granite School District agreed to allow me to stay enrolled in the Highland High school special education program regardless of where I lived.

By the time I was 23, I still hadn’t completed High school and I dropped out. I experienced more moves, homelessness and instability. I tried to go back to school at an adult education center. They would throw work at me and tell me to just do it. They didn’t give me any help or support. I dropped out again.

At 28 I got married and had a beautiful baby girl, Karin Lynn Davis. We moved to Arizona looking for a fresh start. Be both had mental illnesses and struggled. The state of Arizona intervened and took our daughter away from us. We were fighting a lot and I was in and out of jail. I eventually ended up in prison for 3.5 years. During that time we lost all rights to our daughter. After prison I moved back to Salt Lake and reconnected with my wife.

We were stable for about three years and then we lost our housing, she went to live with her mom and I was facing homelessness. I had been attending Alliance House and was able to get housing through them. I started the education program for about a year and have been working furiously for the last year trying to complete my education and finally get my high school diploma.

And here I am!

Throughout the years I have faced a lot of challenges and set-backs. Now I can actually say I finished something in my life. I am going to keep moving forward trying to better my life.

I thank Alliance House for getting me into housing and the chance to complete my education. I want to thank Terry, Loretta, Amber, Leif and Hayley and everyone else that has supported me at Alliance House.

I would also like to thank my in-laws for the support they have shown me and all the help they have given me throughout the years.

Congratulations to all of the graduates. Thank you all for coming and allowing me the opportunity to share my story.


Update: Dell is starting his first Alliance House Transitional Employment opportunity today!!! We wish him the best of luck and know he will do a great job:)

By |2017-06-05T03:19:30+00:00December 28th, 2016|Member Stories, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Dell Davis member story