Twenty years ago, Alice first heard the name NAMI from her therapist, who suggested Alice get involved as a way to both receive and provide support. At NAMI she could speak openly about her history of family dysfunction, including alcoholism and abuse. Alice came to NAMI seeking an organization attuned to her symptoms and needs. Not only did she find it, she found a way to turn those symptoms and needs into life-changing tools for others.
Alice used many programs NAMI-NYC Metro offers, including Peer-to-Peer, an 8-week class for adults living with mental illness. She believes that Peer-to-Peer deepens a person’s understanding of their own mental illness and reiterates how important self-care is to mental health and recovery.
How Alice Gives Back to NAMI
“You will get where you need to go,” she tells her Peer-to-Peer students, and her Helpline callers too. Her mental health conditions have permeated her life, she says, but “the fact that I could use them to help other people is very gratifying.” About her struggles, she insists, “The benefit is – I can empathize.”
Alice also teaches a Peer-to-Peer course, and people often request her classes. She was an In Our Own Voice presenter, she trains Peer-to-Peer facilitators, does fundraising for NAMIWalks NYC, and has engaged in political advocacy.
How NAMI Changed Alice’s Life
“We have such a problem with stability in our lives,” Alice says of those with mental illness. “But don’t give up hope.” Alice didn’t, and it brought her to a place she could belong for more than 20 years. Alice has been able to work through her own issues with NAMI’s support and guidance, and she provides that very same support and guidance through NAMI. She has a community who understands her, welcomes her, appreciates her for all she does. She affects people’s lives every day. And her own life has been affected too. She tells her students – as she herself has learned, with NAMI’s help – “There is hope, even with mental illness.”