Happy for help
Jenny Miles realized in order to be happy, she needed to get help. And help was there for her thanks to United Way supported programs and resources.
When she walks into a room, she does so with the confidence you'd expect from a young, energetic entrepreneur. It is difficult to imagine that she has ever been effected by abuse and depression. But she has.
The damage was so severe that Jenny attempted to take her own life – more than once.
“A lot of people want to measure successes by tangibles, material things,” Jenny explains. “I live on a golf course. I drive a luxury car, but that’s not my happiness. I live a really happy and fulfilled life from the inside out.”
That inside-out happiness was made possible through therapy programs and resources funded by United Way of Greater Kansas City. It wasn’t an easy or simple journey for Jenny, whose childhood abuse evolved into severe depression. But help was always there for her.
Jenny began seeking therapy from a United Way partner agency at age 17 on the suggestion of a work supervisor whom she respected. She began going to what is called focused therapy sessions where she was able to sit face-to-face with someone – sometimes as often as several times a week.
“They cared so much and I was really embarrassed that I couldn’t pay,” Jenny says. She had a daughter from a short-lived marriage in her early 20s, but lost custody of her daughter because of her mental health. Jenny struggled both with her finances and with her depression., but the therapy was always available to her -- and Jenny kept seeking help.
“I didn’t have any stigmas around therapy,” she said. “I was open and willing to accept whatever help was available. I realized that I deserve to be happy. I deserve to be safe. Had I not had that as a resource there is no way I could have survived.”
Jenny says the therapy saved her life “one million percent.” Jenny is now remarried and has a preschooler son. She also now has joint custody of her daughter, who is in high school. She owns her own nutrition business and serves on the board of the United Way partner agency that gave her help. And she donates so others can receive the help she did.
Jenny believes Kansas City is a great community but it is up to us to make it the best it can be. “We’re an amazing city, but our community is only as strong as our weakest member. It’s our responsibility as community members to help those who are the weakest. We need to help them become a stronger community member so they can reach out a hand for the next person and the next person.”