There is power in storytelling. Listening to stories can inspire, and telling them can heal. When we share our experiences, we create opportunities to change the narrative around mental health and help others find the courage to speak out.
Recognizing how powerful sharing our stories can be, we are excited to announce that our new podcast, Surfacing: The Meaning in the Story, has officially launched!
Hosted and produced by MHA’s Vice President of External Affairs Jenna Velez, LCSW and Director of Special Projects Dustin Loughan, the podcast dives into the unique stories of individuals and their path towards building resilience.
Join us this season as our guests share their reflections and individual journeys of how they made meaning in the process.
Help us reach new listeners by subscribing and leaving a review
New episodes will drop Wednesdays throughout the spring - be sure to subscribe to never miss an episode. Like what you hear? Please leave a rating or review. Your subscriptions and reviews help new individuals discover our podcast.
In our premiere episode, Pillars, hear from Emily Esfahani Smith, author of The Power of Meaning: Finding Fulfillment in a World Obsessed with Happiness. The episode's conversation focuses on exploring the pillars of a meaningful life and how reflecting on the experiences that shape us can tell the story of who we become.
Until We Meet Again
In our second episode, Until We Meet Again, our featured guest discusses the emotional hardship of losing a loved one to COVID-19 and her efforts to cope with grief and bring meaning to this experience. The content of this episode is understandably intense and may be upsetting for those who have experienced loss due to COVID-19. Please see below for resources and additional support.
Listen in as Stephanie Marquesano shares how reading a poem that her son wrote before he died of an accidental overdose propelled her into a journey of advocacy to bring awareness to co-occurring disorders. She is the founder of the harris project, which you can find out more about at the links below.
Find the harris project on social media:
To find out more information about the Encompass Program at MHA, click here.
From Being Suspended to Never Suspending
Join us today to hear from Joseph Engelhardt, principal of Alexander Hamilton High School in Elmsford, NY. He discusses how key experiences in his early life (including the loss of his friend to an overdose) led him to the field of education, where his mission is to create a safe learning environment for students that emphasizes wellness. Hear how he has changed the culture so that, rather than being suspended or receiving detention, students learn skills to manage difficult situations.
Want to hear more from Joe? Check out this recording of a recent Community Conversation on Men’s Mental Health, in which Joe was a panelist.
Stephanie Keegan joins the podcast today to share how her son, Daniel, lost his life to addiction while struggling to address the trauma of his combat experience. She tells us about Daniel’s desire to impact systems in order to improve the experience and outcomes of other soldiers with similar stories. Stephanie has committed her life to honoring Daniel’s legacy.
We want to remind you that there is never a wrong time to reach out for help! We are linking some resources below, as well as some organizations that Stephanie recommends for other veterans and their families.
Veterans Crisis Line:
1-800-273-8255, Press 1
Crisis chat at VeteransCrisisLine.net
Or Text 838255
The Bamboo Tree
Today we talk with Ian Gray, a Peer Specialist with MHA Westchester, who shares how his lived experience has shaped his career path and the way in which he interacts with others experiencing mental health challenges. His story offers hope and also helpful tips on how to support others through connection. Find out more about the programs he works with at the links below.
OnTrackNY at MHA
Peer Specialist Training
A Light So Great
Shari Applebaum joins the podcast today to talk about her journey of healing through helping after her son, Miles, died by suicide. We want to acknowledge that hearing about suicide can be distressing for some and emphasize that help is ALWAYS just a phone call away and The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Ginger MacLeod is our guest today. She’s an MHA employee, volunteer and self-described “cheerleader” who has dedicated her life to helping others find meaning and joy in recovery. In the face of childhood adversity, toxic stress, and alcohol addiction, her journey reflects the powerful discovery of her own worth, which she now uses to help others find theirs.
"Lean On Me"
Ben Zupnick shares his story of dealing with anxiety and depression throughout his life, what he has learned through that journey, and why he feels called to share his story to fight stigma. His story will be relatable to many, and we hope that it inspires you to never give up in figuring out what works for you!
"Out of Excuses"
Our producer Dustin has been sharing pieces of his story throughout this season, as he connects with the guests around some aspect of their stories. We thought it was time for him to surface the whole story, and we are thrilled that he was willing to share so openly for today’s episode. Our hope is that his experiences will inspire and motivate someone who is walking the same path to reach out or accept an offer of help today!
Mental Health Month Series
"More Will Be Revealed" with guest Todd Wittenberg
Todd Wittenberg, our first guest for the special Mental Health Month series, shares his personal journey of mental health recovery, reflecting on how helping others became one of his primary tools to thrive. He shares powerful anecdotes from his life to reflect on how he got to where he is now and offers inspiration to all of us about choosing kindness over indifference.
"Cosmic Love" with Dwayne Mayes
Dwayne Mayes, MHA's Director of Recovery Network and Peer Training, joins Surfacing to share how building resilience has been one of his tools to thrive. He shares pieces of his mental health recovery journey and how growing resilience during that time assisted him in navigating the past few years of medical illness and recovery.
"Thanks to Life" with guest Ro Speight
Ro Speight, a peer and recovery specialist at MHA, shares many pearls of wisdom in this episode on how she learned to build a narrative around her mental health that was conducive to creating a thriving life. She shares specifically how interacting with others and establishing meaningful connections was key to this process.
"Leap and the Net Will Appear" with guest Paula Ram
Paula Ram joins the podcast today and shares her story of childhood adversity and how this has impacted her beliefs about herself. It is a story of hope and resilience, which I hope motivates others to create expectations of success for themselves. I also hope it’s a reminder to all that we can help set that bar for others, to never underestimate or undervalue the capacity of any individual to do great things.
"Stepping Into Our Gifts" with guest Mikki Baloy
Mikki Baloy is our guest today. She shares her personal story, starting as a 23-year-old aspiring actress living in NYC to becoming a Shamanic healer. This journey occurred in the aftermath of 9/11, as she processed her own trauma and grief, and created a new and unexpected path for her life as she made meaning from all that she had experienced.
Learn more about Mikki here: mikkibaloy.com