Nathan works as a community support specialist in a supportive housing program and is also a current graduate student. He shares his perspective on the role of work in recovery from his experience as both helper and learner. Nathan touches on the overall health improvements seen in people who have returned to work. It is estimated that people with mental illnesses live 25 years less than the general population. Additionally, Nathan discusses the role that work plays as a defense against “shame and stigma” and in promoting community inclusion. Through his experience, he sees people who are working as having enhanced financial benefits, richer communication, and more exposure to the happenings in one’s community.
George shares his story of recovery and the important role that work has played in his life. He discusses his struggles to complete college and the feelings of envy as he compared his accomplishments to those around him. As George continued his career journey, these feelings of envy gave way to those of pride and success as he continued to achieve the goals he set for himself. George recalls a time when he was receiving services and a peer came to speak about his own recovery and the valued roles he held in his life. This moving story provided George with the informative nudge needed to return to school and embark on a life of career success. He refers to this moment as the “light bulb going off.” This is a good reminder of the influence we can have on one another.