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Diana J. recognized as “Unsung Hero” at Northeast Suburban Area Peer Leadership Committee Celebrating Heroes Event! by Carrie Endicott

Diana was honored by Elm Brook Place and the Northeast Suburban Area Peer Leadership Committee at the Government Center, Waltham, MA on November 14, 2017 along with other peer “heroes” from around the region. Each year, local DMH-funded programs nominate an individual who:

Is an inspiration to those living with a mental health conditions
Makes an outstanding contribution to the recovery movement
Advocates for those with a lived experience
Makes a positive impact in the mental health community
Leads efforts to reduce stigma in the community



Diana holding her citation from the Massachusetts House of Representatives with presenter and keynote speaker Craig Lewis (left) and Elm Brook Place director Carrie Endicott.

The following is a speech I gave at the event explaining why Diana is so deserving of this recognition:

“It is my honor to recognize Diana today for her steadfast support of peers in recovery. Diana has been a member of Elm Brook Place since the early 2004. In the time that I have known her, she has had both bumps and victories in her recovery journey.

"I have always been impressed by her quiet but persistent ability to get up after a fall – like a champion boxer. Where others may have given up after being battered and bruised by the trials and tribulations of mental health problems, the insensitivity of people who didn’t understand her situation (and trauma of dealing with sometimes untrained police officers when help was needed) – all these experiences served to strengthen her resolve to educate the public about how to help others with mental health issues as well as protect and reach out to her peers who are struggling or isolated.

"As a young woman, Diana dedicated herself to the arts, going to school at Parsons School of Design in NY, as well as The Art Institute of Boston and continuing education at the DeCordova Museum School. She has worked as the Assistant Art Director for (then) Lesley College; an art instructor for the Reading YMCA, Lexington Montessori School, and practiced art therapy with patients at McLean and Lawrence Memorial Hospital’s medical and psych units. She spend time as a full time Mom, and also held jobs working with autistic children, and doing art projects with teenagers recovering from mental health problems at the Arlington School on the campus of McLean Hospital.

"After her own experience with mental health problems, she was inspired to pursue a career in human services and mental health. Diana got her certification in Mental Health and Human Services at Bunker Hill Community College in 2004, and later became a Certified Peer Specialist. She has worked several administrative, human services, and art-related positions. She is an active member of Central Middlesex NAMI. After becoming a certified Peer Specialist Diana began to volunteer her time at the Cole Resource Center at McLean Hospital which is a recovery resource center for consumers. There she helps to organize and update articles on a variety of different mental health topics, maintains a reference library and recovery-oriented books for sale to assist consumers. This is a perfect job for Diana who is always on top on new articles on mental health research, side effects of medications and other important topics.

"At Elm Brook Place, Diana plays an important role reaching out to members who have been isolating in the community or are homebound due to physical or mental issues. She also shares useful health-related information with her peers at the club (Eat this, Not That is one of her favorite books!) She is a loyal friend and comforter to many. For all that you are and all that you do, you are our Hero Diana."