Mental health clinics have been an important part of my life since I was young, when my father, a physician, had one at his home.
They were a refuge for people with mental illness.
But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve seen them dwindle, and I’ve wondered why.
My own parents and grandparents have struggled with mental health issues, too.
My mother, for example, struggled with depression and anxiety, and her doctors were reluctant to prescribe medication.
But it’s been difficult for me, and the family has suffered, too, since my father died from Alzheimer’s disease in 2009.
And the mental health community has been a source of inspiration for me.
It’s been a long journey, but I’ve made new friends in the mental healthcare community, I can tell you that.
Horsham Clinic in New York City, a mental-health clinic with three locations in the United States and one in Canada, has helped me so much.
When I first started to go there in 2014, I knew I was headed for something special.
I was diagnosed with depression.
I didn’t know how to handle it.
But the support I got there was a blessing.
The clinic helped us navigate a tough time.
We had a hard time finding a place to stay, and so we had to find somewhere else.
And we had a tough job.
But our doctor and staff at the clinic, who are all very well-known for their work, were able to help us navigate that.
They helped us understand that we were not alone, and that there were resources available to us, too; they were willing to help and give us hope.
We were very fortunate to have the support of our community.
I don’t think I could have survived without it.
And I’ve learned so much from the professionals there.
I also learned that it’s not about who you know; it’s about how you know who you are.
Every time I visit the clinic today, I feel like I’m stepping back in time to a different time.
I’m looking at my childhood home, which I loved, and wondering how my parents would have reacted to my diagnosis.
I wonder how my grandmother would have viewed me when I was younger.
I know I wouldn’t have been able to get help from a doctor in the US, but my dad would have taken me to one of his clinics.
It would have been very different.
But in Canada?
Not so much, because I’m from a different country.
When I got to the clinic a few years ago, I had a chance to visit with the staff.
I felt like I was back home in the States.
They made me feel welcomed.
After spending some time with the people there, I was able to see that the clinic’s work was important, too: We were able, through their work and the people they’ve brought into our community, to bring mental health into the forefront of the conversation.
And I felt so grateful.
They cared for me as a child, and it was so wonderful to see them treat me like a human being, even though I’m not.
They cared for my parents as well, and they cared for the people around me.
And they cared about the community around me, too—and they care about all of us.
So I know they cared, and now I feel I’m part of the community.