Patient Stories

Brockport Woman Praises PROS Program That ‘Saved My Life’

Charlotte Charles is living a full and vibrant life. It’s something that wouldn’t be possible, she says, without going through the PROS program.

May. 20, 2024 5   min read

white middle aged woman with auburn hair and glasses smiling in selfie photo

The life that Charlotte Charles is living now is one that many people would describe as full and vibrant.

Charlotte is working full-time at RIT and building new relationships with her two young grandchildren. She gets together with her family members and a few close friends on occasion. As a self-described big introvert, she spends a lot of time at home reading and doing crafts.

Starting in 2017, she started experiencing some challenges that brought her struggles with anxiety and depression to the forefront – including her children leaving the nest and losing her job. Amid these and other changes, she said she lost all of her confidence and her sense of purpose and hope.

“I was floundering or wandering around,” Charlotte said. “I didn’t really have a purpose and wasn’t feeling well. I was depressed and not doing anything because of the way I felt. I had reached the point where I figured I had to do something different in order for something to change.”

Finding out what she needed

Charlotte’s therapist suggested she try something different and referred her to the Personalized Recovery Oriented Services (PROS) program. Created specifically for adults with severe and persistent mental health challenges, the program brings together community rehabilitation and support, intensive rehabilitation, ongoing rehabilitation support, and clinical treatment to help them grow and reach their personal goals in all areas of life.

As Charlotte slowly stepped into the program, she said she felt very comfortable. Everything was personalized and customized around who she was as a person and what types of support she needed. The routine and structure were exactly what she needed and gave her something to focus on.

“It saved my life,” Charlotte said.

How the PROS program helped Charlotte

Charlotte said her therapist through the PROS program, Jennifer Maxa, LCSW, was very helpful. She was able to start attending different classes a few times a week – offered first virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic then later in-person – and was assigned a peer mentor who could help her as needed.

“I enjoyed learning about the ‘why’ behind my feelings,” Charlotte said. “It helped to learn different coping strategies for when I need them, like grounding, meditation, and journaling.”

After signing up for classes on topics like anxiety and codependency, Charlotte found herself immersed in the art class. Painting rocks with various designs and messages gave her a way to relax that she didn’t have before. It’s something she still does today.

four hand painted rocks featuring a reese's peanut butter cup broken in half and three M&Ms
three hand painted rocks of snoopy spiderman and eeyore
three hand painted rocks with artistic designs

The PROS program also paired Charlotte with a job coach, who worked with her to prepare her for employment. After deciding where she might find a good fit, she was able to find a part-time position – which then led to her current full-time position at RIT.

“I took a class on being a peer mentor, which gave me another purpose. To have that encouragement was really valuable to me,” Charlotte said.

“Now I know how to recognize things because they gave me a toolbox with all kinds of techniques to help me. I will always have depression and anxiety, but I also know now that I have resources.”

NEXT STEPS Find The Support and Growth You Need

For adults with severe and persistent mental illness, our PROS program staff integrate treatment, support, and rehabilitation in a way that facilitates each person’s recovery and helps them reach their personal goals.

Learn More About The PROS Program
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