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Friday, June 17, 2016

Welcome to our first blog!   We will be using this blog as a way to share thoughts and feelings from our own lived experiences in hopes to help others who have struggled, or may be struggling,  be heard and to help educate others about mental health.

Our general theme will be to show how learning to listen to each other and hear someone’s  story can help save a life; however our post will also focus on providing education, humor, insight and most importantly, hope. Whether we recognize it or not, we all have the need and desire to be listened to. We believe that the power of being heard can be extremely validating and thus very therapeutic. 

Together we will talk about different things related to lived experience, mental health awareness, suicide prevention, eating disorders, and substance abuse with the overall belief that if given the right opportunity at the right time people can  recover . . . but they have to be listened to first.

A little about the authors

My name is Heather and I am extremely passionate about reducing the stereotypes that surround mental health.  I am able to connect with the individuals  that I work with because even though I may not have the same problems, I have experienced the pain and have struggled myself for years with an eating disorder. I fully believe that my eating disorder has helped me become not only a better clinician, but a better, more understanding and empathic person. I have been told by others that one of my greatest gifts I have is my ability to not judge anyone for anything and always see the positive qualities   in others.  I do that by listening and consistently looking for the good in each individual, even when they can’t see it themselves.

My name is Rick I am a suicide attempt survivor, who still struggles at times with depression at times.  One of my  biggest regrets is that I  hid my suicide  attempt and my  mental health for so many years because I  was afraid it would ruin my  career in mental health.  I have discovered that not only did talking about my mental health not ruin my career, it made me feel free and I have had the chance to meet so many wonderful people.    I have the great privilege of getting to work with people that most of society has written off and I get to hear their story and help them when they are struggling and getting let them know they have support.   I am lucky to have co-workers such as Heather, who shares the passion for helping people and meeting them where they are at and just being there with them.  

We thank you for going on this journey with us.

Heather @heatherjenkins

Rick @rickstrait777