Community Behavioral Health Staff and Consumers Share Their Stories

by Rebecca Farley on August 1, 2011

In 2011, over 1,300 consumers and staff of community behavioral health agencies participated in the National Council’s Annual Letter-Writing Campaign by writing letters to Congress describing the vital role that addictions and mental health services play in their lives and in the community. Here are some of their stories.

Dear Legislator,

I am writing today to share with you how important mental health and addictions treatment services are to me and my community. Please do everything you can in Washington to support community behavioral health centers and work hard to make sure that treatment services are fully funded!

“I have received mental health services from the Chicago Women’s AIDS Project for the last 4 years. Without this counseling service, I would not be where I am today. These services are a vital part of our communities, for this service gave me hope when I had none and constant encouragement to strive to be all that I aspired to be in spite of my physical and mental conditions. As a result, I am about to graduate from Harold Washington College in Chicago, IL as a Substance Abuse Counselor. None of this would have been possible without the help of the quality mental health services I received from this organization.” -Chicago, IL

“I have a child that because of an accident at the age of two, suffered head trauma. This trauma hinders every day life for us. We have emotional disturbances that cause her to see and hear things. In our community we are looked at as evil and dangerous. However, the services we receive helped build a bridge between my family and the community. Now, instead of being stuck we have hope for her future. Before our only hope was to keep her alive, but now we know she is able to become a productive part of society.” -Auburn Hills, MI

“The mental health treatment I receive at MHCD is imperative to my survival. It is the only place I have to go to receive treatment. The counselors are awesome and I believe I’m getting healthier. If it was taken away I’d fall back into my illness and maybe die by suicide. I need to be able to have a place to go for counseling, medication, groups, and especially a place to go when I am feeling really out of control or suicidal. MHCD gives me the safety that I need in my daily life.” -Denver, CO

“I am 60 years old and if I did not have these services I would not be able to cope with my symptoms. I have no family for support, therefore my providers have taken the place of my family by always helping and guiding me to stay healthy and safe. The one on one guidance I get from my therapist is very important for my mental well being.” Brooklyn, NY

“Without my services at NRI I would be a totally lost and desperate woman. I am a 59 year old woman that suffers from Bi-polar, PTSD, manic depression and sleep disorder. I am only allowed to live a normal life because of my mental health treatment. I have a team of workers that help me. I meet regularly with a psychiatrist, and also attend self help groups. I am currently employed part time in a kitchen, all of which is possible because of my treatment at NRI. I can definitely say that NRI saved my life and gave me a quality of life worth living.” Woonsocket, RI

Get inspired! You can share your story today by clicking here and sending an email to your Members of Congress! Stay tuned to the National Council’s email communications to learn the details of our 2012 Letter-Writing Campaign when they are announced.



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