After struggling with being a single parent and dealing with mental illness, one Las Vegas mother reached a breaking point.
Bianca Stephens, 34, had had enough of the pressures of everyday life and had stopped taking her prescribed 21 pills a day to treat her borderline personality disorder, anxiety and depression. As the pressure mounted, she attempted to take her own life, an act her 12-year-old son Tate Wright II happened to witness.
“The stress of being a single mom, with COVID and trying to maintain school and grades and work by myself … I felt like a water barrel that was ready to burst,” Stephens said recently.
So one day, while standing in the kitchen, Stephens picked up a paring knife and started slashing her left wrist. “My son came in and he was really freaked out because there was blood everywhere.”
After the incident, Stephens spent six days in Summerlin Hospital under psychiatric watch. When she was released from care, she connected with Boys Town Nevada, a nonprofit that’s been in operation in Las Vegas since 1991.
Boys Town provides classes that prevent disruption in the home and lead to the reunification of families by ensuring they have the support and skills needed to create and maintain a safe, stable environment for their children. Boys Town Nevada is headquartered in Las Vegas and serves more than 2,000 children each year.
Boys Town helped Stephens learn how to be a successful parent, giving her the support and advice she needed during situations she didn’t know how to handle.
“They actually gave me support that I didn’t have anywhere else,” Stephens said. “It almost felt like having my parents back.”
Now Stephens is using the techniques and tips Boys Town taught her for parenting in other aspects of life, including work. It also helped her simplify her daily pill intake by asking her doctor if the amount of medication could be reduced; she went from taking 21 pills a day to just three.
Boys Town also helped her learn to set more boundaries with her son, thus mitigating potential conflicts. Now, she says, “I’m up front with him about what I’m expecting so there is no guessing.”
Stephens said she’s grateful for the help Boys Town provided her and she looks forward to being in contact with them and recommending them to others.
“Because of the attention they gave me in such a loving way, I was able to learn to love myself,” Stephens said. “Through this I learned that if you make mistakes you can always get back up, there’s never a time when you can’t get back up.”
This story was produced in partnership with the United Way of Southern Nevada as part of the “Everyone Deserves Hope” effort to assist local families this holiday season. To contribute, visit uwsn.org/hope.