Buckelew News

"I'm Me Again!" - Nino's Story

posted: Saturday, September 03, 2016

When Nino, now 27, started college eight years ago, things quickly started spiraling out of control for him. “We knew something wasn’t right. We just didn’t know what it was”, said his mom, Frauka.

Nino and Frauka shared their family's journey with mental illness in our recently released video "The Many Faces of Buckelew Programs: Stories of Hope and Recovery".

Nino, his mom and his sister Stephanie were present for the premiere of the film at our MarinScapes 2016 Opening Gala. “We felt like movie stars! And it was so powerful to meet other people whose lives have been changed by Buckelew Programs,” said Frauka,”I want this film to show others that there is hope and help!”

Nino, a passionate and talented musician and composer, was studying to be a digital sound engineer. Working full time and taking classes that often kept him up all night, Nino started to use Ecstasy to stay awake, and eventually had a manic episode. This was the beginning of a painful cycle of hospitalizations, rehab and homelessness. His mother, Frauka, was desperately seeking help for her son but didn’t know where to turn: “I didn’t know about mental illness, and I never thought it would affect me or my family. That is when my dear friend suggested I call Erika Klohe from Buckelew Programs. That was probably the best call I made in my life.”

Erika, who runs Buckelew’s Family Service Coordination Program in Sonoma County, provided Frauka and Nino with resources and education, and helped the family navigate the often confusing and frustrating mental health and social services system. She was there for Frauka in her darkest hours, offering comfort and support, and encouraging Nino to take the steps to rebuild his life.

Today, Nino is back in school, and pursuing his musical career and passion.

“Eight years ago I was so distraught… now I have my life pretty much back,” says Nino, and adds with a big smile:

“I’m me again. That’s the best thing about it. I’m me again!”

You can view Nino and Frauka’s story and the full video on YouTube or on our website.

"I'm Me Again!" - Nino's Story