NY Transplant Finds Hope in Monarch Mental Health Support

Rosemarie Cannarzzo, left, and Employment Specialist Tracie Oxendine stand in front of WoodHaven Nursing Facility.

Rosemarie Cannazzaro, left, stands in front of WoodHaven with Robeson Employment Support Professional Tracie Oxendine.

Rosemarie Cannazzaro looks at the Monarch staff who have assisted her as blessings in her life. She says they have guided, supported and provided her with renewed hope.

Prior to moving to North Carolina in 2018, Rosemarie experienced a painful loss following the death of her only child, Dwayne. Residing for most of her life in New York’s Westchester County, she decided to head south to start fresh after losing her son. A life-long friend, who has lived in Robeson county for 30 years, extended her a place to stay if she ever wanted to relocate.

Rosemarie decided to take her friend up on the offer and has not looked back.

After moving to North Carolina, Rosemarie found her own apartment and began searching for a job. However, mental health struggles with depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) made the simplest of tasks seem insurmountable when she initially moved to North Carolina. The trauma of her son’s death was sometimes too much to bear.

She sought therapy services through Monarch’s Robeson Behavioral Health Outpatient Clinic and continues to meet with Senior Therapist Louvonda Townsend, MSW, LCSW. She believes that therapy has helped her look at the positives in her life and move forward. She says therapy has helped with handling stress and solid advice about overcoming life’s obstacles.

She was then referred to Monarch’s Individual Placement and Support (IPS) team that has assisted her in searching for employment. IPS is primarily for individuals with a serious mental illness that may also include co-occurring mental health disorders or substance use disorders. She was paired with the Robeson IPS team’s Employment Peer Mentor Karen Johnson and Employment Support Professional Tracie Oxendine.

With past experience in accounting, she decided to update her professional skills and completed online courses in Microsoft Word and Excel, and tax preparation classes. Karen assisted Rosemarie with updating her resume, completing job applications and interviewing practice. Rosemarie interviewed and was offered a receptionist role at WoodHaven Nursing, Alzheimer’s and Rehabilitation Center in Lumberton.

She greets and signs in visitors, as well as disperses and tracks funds in about 80 residents’ personal accounts used for everyday purchases.
Rosemarie says working with her teammates is the best part of the job at WoodHaven: “The people I work with are very, very nice. I work with good people. I work in a place that helps people when they are in the last stages of their life and this facility is very good to them.”

Tracie was paired with Rosemarie last fall to help talk through any employment obstacles, learn healthy living practices and improve natural supports such as friendships. “This support is really important to me because I haven’t made many friends. When I am experiencing difficult times, she is there for me. She is very practical and it is good to have someone who is practical,” Rosemarie says of Tracie’s support. “She gives me good advice, if I am going in the wrong direction and if I am doing the right thing.”

Rosemarie is establishing roots in Lumberton and working toward being an active part of her church community. She looks forward to time she can spend with her granddaughter as well as their weekly calls. “It means a lot to have people to talk to,” she says of the Monarch staff who are there to support her.

Tracie continues to encourage Rosemarie to keep moving forward and take pride in her accomplishments. “I am most proud of her getting out of her comfort zone. Her house was her comfort zone and she wouldn’t get off her porch. Now, she is blossoming . . . She is getting out in the world,” Tracie states.

For more information about Monarch’s IPS services and the North Carolina counties the service is available, visit here.

Posted on: Wednesday August 31, 2022