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Project Return Peer Support Network
Taking Charge Together!

Theatre of the Mind

Theatre of the Mind | Project Return Peer Support Network

In 2009, Gloria embarked on a journey to wellness with PRPSN that would shape her life and the lives of countless others. Her initial involvement in peer support began while she was conducting a training session for the Department of Mental Health (DMH). During this session, she facilitated a theater exercise that caught the eye of Angelica, the Assistant Director of PRPSN. Impressed by Gloria's expressive and engaging manner, Angelica invited her to become a facilitator at El Centrito de Apoyo, where she could deliver peer support to the community.

Gloria accepted the invitation, and what started as a simple request turned into a deeply fulfilling vocation. Through her role, Gloria discovered the profound impact of sharing her story with the members of El Centrito. She never imagined that her experiences could resonate so deeply with others, creating a mutual space of healing and understanding. Gloria found that by opening up about her own struggles and triumphs, she could connect with members on a personal level, helping them feel seen and heard.

Gloria believes peer support is particularly effective because it removes the perceived barrier of authority that often accompanies professional titles. Many individuals feel misunderstood or judged by professionals in lab coats or with prestigious titles. In contrast, peer support groups create an environment where members can relate to one another's experiences, knowing they are not alone in their struggles with depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues. This shared understanding fosters a sense of community and mutual support, enabling members to discuss their challenges openly and work together toward recovery.

In 2009, a new Member joined Gloria’s group but was withdrawn and reluctant to share. Over the years, through the consistent support and encouragement from Gloria and the group, this member gradually opened up. Now she actively participates in her groups, sharing her personal experiences that illustrate a transformation from isolation to connection. For Gloria, witnessing such growth is incredibly rewarding and affirms her belief in the power of peer support.

Beyond her work at El Centrito, Gloria has worked with the Department of Mental Health, specifically with older adults, helping them navigate their personal experiences with mental health. Her personal experiences with mental health as a peer has equipped her with unique insights, enabling her to offer empathy and effective support to those she serves.

Self-care is integral to Gloria’s routine as a peer supporter. She emphasizes the importance of filling her own cup; she takes a half-hour walk every day and practices mindfulness and breathing techniques to manage stress. Theater also serves as a vital outlet for her, providing both personal fulfillment and a means to help others.

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Michaella Huck

Recovery Testimonials

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