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Client Spot­light: Reach­ing Goals and Set­ting New Ones

Con­nect­ing with KYC

The best cure for a prob­lem is to do some­thing about it,” Mike says, take action, one step at a time.” Mike shares that his moth­er’s pass­ing was very dif­fi­cult, as he and his moth­er had been care­givers for one anoth­er at dif­fer­ent times in their lives. He began hav­ing cat­a­stroph­ic thoughts fol­low­ing her loss. When he real­ized that his emo­tion­al health was affect­ing his abil­i­ty to car­ry out his role in the Coast Guard Aux­il­iary, he knew it was time to act. A neigh­bor rec­om­mend­ed to him to check out KYC, and he fol­lowed up on that suggestion.

There are oppor­tu­ni­ties to see that you’re not the only one strug­gling,” Mike says. Mike knows that many peo­ple face men­tal health chal­lenges through­out their lives, and they can be quite com­mon. So, he talks about men­tal health open­ly and hon­est­ly. Mike is a Divi­sion Mem­ber Train­ing Staff Offi­cer with the Unit­ed States Coast Guard Aux­il­iary, the uni­formed vol­un­teer com­po­nent of the U.S. Coast Guard. He enjoys his role in build­ing and engag­ing his team not only to help pro­vide skills train­ing, but also to sup­port his team mem­bers as indi­vid­u­als. This is what he says builds team coor­di­na­tion. Dur­ing a recent pro­gram vis­it in which he shared water safe­ty infor­ma­tion with KYC, he talked about his role in the Coast Guard Aux­il­iary and shared his own expe­ri­ence with men­tal health challenges.

Coast guard 1166435 1280 from pixabay

Build­ing Skills and Giv­ing Back

Mike has been a mem­ber of the Coast Guard Aux­il­iary for the last 20 years. He is pas­sion­ate about boater and water safe­ty, and feels priv­i­leged to be a part of the Aux­il­iary. Orig­i­nal­ly from Cana­da, Mike grew up admir­ing his father’s accom­plish­ments in the Roy­al Cana­di­an Navy, and knew he want­ed to be part of an orga­ni­za­tion that pro­tect­ed the safe­ty of oth­ers. Mike says he’s able to keep achiev­ing his goals thanks to the sup­port he has received at Ken­neth Young Center. 

Mike is also part of KYC’s Psy­choso­cial Reha­bil­i­ta­tion Group, known as PSR. It’s like a lit­tle fam­i­ly,” he said, you meet oth­er peo­ple, social­ize, find long-term friends.” Mike shares that he enjoys the facil­i­tat­ed group dis­cus­sions, which are often direct­ed by fel­low group mem­bers. Dis­cus­sion top­ics range from his­tor­i­cal events to hol­i­day cel­e­bra­tions. He has also learned crit­i­cal skills and tools that he uses to help cope with stress­ful sit­u­a­tions. He feels that through PSR, you learn to help your­self,” using mind­ful­ness and oth­er emo­tion­al man­age­ment tech­niques. He says that KYC gives you the tools and con­fi­dence you need to learn things, and find alter­nate ways to deal with things, to help you turn things around.”

Ken­neth Young Cen­ter has also helped him in oth­er areas of his life and health. He has learned more about nutri­tion and healthy eat­ing habits, and cred­its KYC with learn­ing to not give food pow­er,” as he puts it. He has seen his phys­i­cal health improve along with his men­tal well­ness. He was also con­nect­ed to addi­tion­al resources thanks to the help of his Coun­selors. His first Coun­selor at KYC went above her typ­i­cal duties to help break down some of the bar­ri­ers that Mike faced when seek­ing sup­port. She helped him nav­i­gate the process to become a U.S. cit­i­zen, which has con­tin­ued to open doors for him to con­nect with help­ful resources.

1 in 5 Paper Chain People KYC Green PNG

One in five adults in the U.S. experiences a mental illness.

Accom­plish­ing and Set­ting New Goals

Mike sees many par­al­lels between what he learns at KYC and the strate­gies that the Coast Guard Aux­il­iary uses to train its new mem­bers. In the Coast Guard Aux­il­iary, you train and qual­i­fy before you take action,” he said, and he views KYC as a train­ing ground for how to live a health­i­er, hap­pi­er life. In the Coast Guard Aux­il­iary, he, along with oth­ers, is part of an effec­tive team, com­mu­ni­cates clear­ly, and pro­tects and edu­cates oth­ers. He sees the same things hap­pen­ing in group social­iza­tion activ­i­ties in every PSR group meeting. 

Mike has been inspired by those who have helped him and is cur­rent­ly build­ing the cre­den­tials to become a peer recov­ery coun­selor. He feels that his expe­ri­ence with train­ing Coast Guard Aux­il­iary mem­bers will pre­pare him to help oth­ers as they jour­ney towards men­tal well­ness, and his expe­ri­ence with men­tal health also aids in his expe­ri­ence with the Coast Guard Aux­il­iary. KYC is proud to sup­port every client in each of their accom­plish­ments, and wish­es Mike con­tin­ued suc­cess as he achieves his goals.

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of cas­es of men­tal ill­ness begin by age 14.

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—Ernest Hemingway