The holidays can be tough times for people suffering from mental health issues like depression, but a Riverside County woman hopes her journey inspires people to get the help they need.
He became a successful business owner from being homeless thanks to his family and therapy.
Crystal Smith does what she loves to do. She dyes, cuts and shapes people’s hair.
“Blessed is the word, I would say blessed,” Smith said.
In November 2020, Smith fell into a deep depression and this was something he had been dealing with from time to time since he was a teenager.
Smith says her depression got worse after she gave birth to her last two children.
“I just wanted to stay in bed all day and every day,” Smith said. “I would do my best to take care of the children, I would feed them, but I just wanted to be in bed.”
His depression got so bad that Smith had to quit his job. He needed treatment that included staying in a private home for intensive care.
“At home they always told me, ‘You have to have a great support system and people who will lift you up, people who will be there even if you’re at the lowest level, but you can be vulnerable,’ he said.
This support system would include her church and husband Dillon, who quit her job to focus on Crystal’s recovery and care for her six children, ages three to 11.
“Because I’m a truck driver, I didn’t want to leave on the road and when I got home I found my wife dead,” Dillion said.
With the minimum income, the family had to live in a motel for a short time, eventually saving enough money to buy a camper.
For over a year and a half, they stayed at campsites all over Riverside County.
During this time, Dillon says, therapy and medication began to feel better, and she even started cutting hair for campers.
“Then one of his friends reached out and said, ‘I don’t work three days a week, if you want to jump into my lounge suite during these three days, welcome,'” Dillon said.
In June, Crystal and Dillon saved enough money to open Smith Hair Salon in Temecula.
They also founded a non-profit organization called “Crown of Glory Ministries”.
“To help people who were in the same situation we were in two years ago,” Dillon said.
By giving them advice on how to deal with a mental health crisis and most importantly, giving them hope that with a good support system and good therapy things can get better.
“Therapy isn’t fast, so keep going and don’t give up no matter how long it takes,” Crystal said.