Marissa Bullard Strengthens Job Skills Thanks to Robeson County IPS

Marissa Bullard

Marissa Bullard received assistance from the Individual Placement and Support team in Robeson County and is grateful for the new employment skills she has acquired.

Marissa Bullard’s life goals include remodeling a home, securing full-time employment she finds fulfilling and having a family. Monarch’s Individual Placement and Support (IPS) Employment Support Professional Dawn McNeill is the guiding hand that is helping her check aspirations off her goal list.

Monarch’s IPS program is an evidence-based practice to help people we support with mental health struggles who want to work. The person supported through IPS is typically referred to the service during or after receiving therapy and expressing an interest in employment guidance.

Bullard, 28, knows that employment is key to reaching her goals. She was paired with McNeill in February while receiving therapy through Monarch’s Behavioral Health Therapist Louvonda Townsend for a bipolar depression diagnosis.

McNeill explained that Bullard’s diagnosis can cause barriers during employment even though she is a hard-working employee. Bullard can quickly become overwhelmed with employment she doesn’t enjoy or find fulfilling and subsequently quits, McNeill said: “Marissa likes to help. She likes doing a service for people but doesn’t like people in her personal space. . . She wants to work by herself, complete her work and be productive.”

McNeill found ways to show Bullard how to deal with reasons she was feeling that way, while identifying transferrable skills from past employment, strengthening her resume, practicing interviewing skills and advocating for herself.

“I like to show Marissa the strengths she doesn’t see in herself and just how far she has come from where she was to now,” McNeill said.

Currently, Bullard works two jobs for a total of almost a 50-hour work week. She is employed through the Wesley Pines Nursing Home where she assists residents in the dining area and national retailer Lowe’s as a seasonal gardening associate. She is also studying to complete training to work as a pharmacy technician through Bladen Community College and is on track to earn a certificate.

To help Bullard see firsthand how a pharmacy staff works together but also independently, McNeill came up with the idea to visit area pharmacies. The visits provided Bullard with a feeling of what it will be like to work in a busy, pharmaceutical environment.

Bullard feels that her current work in health care is helping her prepare for a pharmacy technician role and seeking IPS services has helped her envision how her goals are attainable. “I know what to expect and am prepared when I go out and look for jobs. Dawn has helped me in talking to people. I am able to go in and talk with them one on one and be prepared for it,” she shared.

The future looks bright for Bullard with pharmacies reaching out for possible employment following earning her pharmacy technician certificate.

The pair realizes that the partnership will end with successful placement, but McNeill insists it will continue for a little while so that Bullard is comfortable and “she knows that if she ever needs me, I am right here. She has so much strength inside her more than she realizes.”