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Office of Mental Health

Personal Journeys

Here you will find stories from consumers as they traveled on their journey to recovery.

  • Aaron
    It is a sunny Friday afternoon, and Aaron arrives with his younger sister to meet over lunch. You can see the kind, playful relationship they have as he nudges her saying, “Now, don’t answer the questions for me.” Aaron starts his story from where his life “changed forever.”
  • Alberta
    When you enter Alberta’s small, sunny and homey apartment, you can’t help but notice the awards of achievement adorning the wall, the floppy colorful hat filled with buttons sporting messages of hope and recovery, and treasured mementos of a "a hard journey" in life.
  • Angela
    A cluster of young people is gathered, talking, laughing, and getting ready for the Youth Leadership Forum to begin. Angela is handing out name tags and shuttling her peers to where they need to be.
  • Anonymous
    You might ask how an aspiring film maker with a passion for the visual arts became the director of one of New York’s most active youth advocacy groups. I’d have to say, while it didn’t happen easily, my journey transformed that passion in ways I never anticipated.
  • Barbara
    When it comes to Barbara and her granddaughter, Caitlin–each of whom has faced serious mental health conditions and come to use their experience and knowledge to help others–it can be said that the “apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”
  • Bert
    His broad shoulders are hidden by the loose plaid shirt he wears as he sits comfortably on the sofa in the busy living area of his NY/NY Housing community residence. Through the hustle and bustle of activity around us, Bert talks openly about the challenges he has shouldered for the last 60 years.
  • Brenda
    Peeking out from behind the cream–colored, straw picture hat are the eyes of a woman who is advocating for her adult child with mental illness in the only way she knows. She is speaking out about the benefits of a treatment option she believes is saving his life.
  • Chris
    Recovery, to me, is not something that happens only within the span of a short period. I have worked at developing myself as a person for the greater part of my life, with, from my vantage point, a good deal of success. Nevertheless, I was not able to gain sufficient control of my life until I went through a recovery process during a specific span of time.
  • Darin
    For most people, the first day of a new job is filled with nervous anticipation and a few priceless days of gradually getting acclimated…learning the ropes, finding out the lay of the land, meeting all the people and understanding the various personalities.
  • Dwayne
    As we work our way back to Dwayne’s office, we pass conference rooms filled with people having animated conversations. The energy is palpable as Dwayne, the Director of Howie the Harp Peer Advocacy Center, rounds the corner and explains a new training session has just begun.
  • Earl
    “The problem isn‘t using the drugs; it‘s stopping use of them. I had to hit bottom and I had to accept that I was an addict, before I could grow,” Earl tells us as he gazes down at his hands, which he clasps and unclasps as he speaks. “Once I began to accept that I had definite impairments, I began to grapple with and manage my recovery from schizophrenia and substance abuse.”
  • George, Donna, Julie, Henry
    In her introduction to the online Kitchen Table blog, Princeton University Professor Yolanda Pierce recalls how in her home, “the kitchen, and particularly the kitchen table was a site of comfort, laughter, advice, gossip, and good food.”
  • H.A.L.I.
    It looks like any other storefront, you think, until you step inside the front door of Hands Across Long Island (HALI) in Central Islip. Immediately, you hear the buzz of activity, see smiling faces, and sense the warm connections between and among people. You see inspiring messages of hope everywhere, like Bob Marley’s “You just can’t live in that negative way … Make way for the positive day.”
  • Jeffrey
    This profile of recovery was submitted by Barbara, who is on the Board of Visitors of the Pilgrim Psychiatric Center. The profile captures how inspired she was by the journey of this peer intern.
  • Karen
    Karen has a big heart. It has taken quite some time for her, but she is now reaching out to others. In a sense, she’s reclaiming her life. She is doing this by standing up and giving voice to her story.
  • Larry
    You can’t help but be charmed by Larry’s gentle, shy unassuming manner. You also can’t help admire how hard this red–headed Irish–Italian has been working at life.
  • Marlene
    Marlene’s sunny, reserved disposition seems to match the warm yellow hue of her summer blouse. She smiles and waves to us as we approach the Wendy’s Restaurant where we have agreed to meet and talk.
  • Martha
    “I came to mental health services through the back door,” declares Martha somberly, as she recounts years of feeling sad and using alcohol to numb her unhappiness. “I always felt different and didn’t get enough attention. I was always looking for something.”
  • Mary Alice
    The sudden death of her father just days before her 12th birthday led to a lifelong struggle with depression for Mary Alice, who has weathered life’s adversities with grace, generosity and fortitude. Losing a job due to her mental illness and eating in soup kitchens, she knew “good would come out of bad” and she didn’t give up.
  • Yolanda
    On a sunny June afternoon, Yolanda sits with us on a picnic bench as her six–year–old daughter does cartwheels and runs about the lush lawn nearby. Yolanda has come to describe the many challenges of parenting her son who she knew “had problems from day 1.”

Comments or questions about the information on this page can be directed to the Office of Consumer Affairs.