"Thanks to Friendship Place, I have a purpose again"

Thursday, August 15, 2019

This is Kris's story contributed by Friendship Place

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“My mental illness was impacted by being a survivor of childhood and adult traumas, making me afraid of people and anxious when I was forced to interact with people.”

Kris isolated herself for years until her parents heard about Friendship Place. They took her there for an interview with  a staff member and she was unable to speak through her tears. Her parents had to do all of the talking for her. The staff introduced Kris to people who were playing games  and talking amongst themselves. She finally found a place where she felt she fit in.

Over time, Kris became more outgoing with help from staff at Friendship Place. She began participating in art and craft projects, socializing with others, going on outings in the community, and attending a group called Procovery. With that group, she learned about her mental illness and ways she could become productive again, increasing both her self-confidence and self-worth.
Friendship Place then partnered with NAMI Fox Valley to offer a peer-to-peer educational class. Kris took the course and set off on a mission to help others, becoming a volunteer at NAMI and facilitating a support group.
Kris credits Friendship Place Executive Director, Lori Hill, as being instrumental in getting her to see how much potential she actually had. Through Lori, Kris learned about the peer specialist training program offered by NAMI. She completed the course and became a Certified Peer Specialist, and is now employed at Outagamie Mental Health. Thanks to Friendship Place, she has a purpose again and continues to work with people who have a mental illness, helping them achieve goals and working with them on their recovery journeys.
Both Friendship Place and NAMI have helped people living with a mental illness learn to live well with their mental illness. They have many different types of programming to help with this process. Without them, Kris would not have had all of the opportunities to learn about herself and how to become happy and mentally healthy.
After her experience at Friendship Place, Kris shared, “Friendship Place is a safe haven for me. There were people like me with the same challenges I faced daily. There is no judgment from anyone. The staff are very professional and always there with kind, caring, and compassionate advice.”

 Friendship Place, Inc., located in Neenah is a partner of United Way Fox Cities. The programs and services they offer provide social, educational and recreational mental health outreach for people with mental illness. For more information on Friendship Place, visit FriendshipPlaceInc.com.

NAMI Fox Valley, located in Appleton is a partner of United Way Fox Cities. NAMI Fox Valley works to support and empower everyone touched by mental illness. NAMI is committed to eliminating stigma and nurturing recovery through education, support, outreach, and advocacy. For more information about NAMI Fox Valley, visit namifoxvalley.org.