Thank you all for visiting my page and making a contribution. All the love- Scott Kohn
I wanted to share with you something that I am taking part in on March 17th, and that is running the New York City Half Marathon. I have teamed up with Team NAMI, which stands for National Alliance for Mental Illness. Today, I wanted to share with you my story, and why running for this organization is so incredibly important to me.
On September 13, 1998, my mother had suddenly passed away from a rare liver disease. The start of Middle School was such an excruciating and challenging experience. At the time when I needed structure, stability, guidance and support; it was no longer there. My father had suffered from several physical ailments, which forced my sister and me to live with a succession of families within our community. Throughout the years, I have been blessed to create life-long friendships that quickly formed my circle of support.
In 2011, it all caught up to me. I remember the day as if it were yesterday. I knew I hit rock bottom when I was sitting on my sister’s couch and I had nowhere to go. I stopped caring about the things that were so important to me- family, friends, and my health. Luckily, for me, my sister Arnell worked as a medical professional in the mental health field. She knew all the signs and symptoms were there and checked me into St. Benedictine Hospital of Kingston NY (now known as WHC- Health Alliance Hospital). I found myself in an outpatient partial hospitalization program that lasted 29 days. I had a treatment team that consisted of family, nurses, doctors, social workers, therapists, and board-certified psychiatrists. I was put on numerous amounts of different anti-depressants and mood stabilizers to see what worked best for me. The days before I was released from the hospital, I met with my treatment team and I was formally diagnosed with bi-polar depression. Looking back for me, all the signs over the years were evident. I have had feelings of extreme highs (manic episodes) to extreme lows (depressive episodes) for years and years. Having a lot of energy, risky behavior, lavish spending of money, feeling down, hopeless, worried, and even suicidal were symptoms that I felt invisible of.
Depression is real. It is a chemical imbalance of certain brain chemicals that were brought on by possible genetics or even family history.
I have joined up to run for NAMI because I was lucky enough to have the love and support from so many of you. The funds that are raised will go to individuals that suffer from mental illness that aren’t as lucky as I was to have that support cast. They will receive free treatment, education and most importantly, their own support cast. My goal is to raise over $2,000, which will essentially help over 16,000 people in New York. More importantly, I am hopeful that my story has an impact on you, or someone you know that has signs or symptoms of a mental illness that has a challenge with the three hardest words someone will ever say… “I need help”.
Where I am today… I have been off my medication for some time now. Sure, there are times where I have “highs” and “lows.” I take a PRN (as needed mood stabilizer medication) to help me get back on track. However, I have found a love and passion for running. It releases my feel-good endorphins that take my mind off of my worries that help with my depression. This is not something that is curable and it is something I will live with forever. Since I have been diagnosed, my father passed away on July 15, 2016. I have switched careers to follow my passion, which is helping others and educating those that suffer from developmental disabilities. I have married my best friend, Michelle and now have a family I have always dreamt of. I try every day to do something that has an impact on others. I know the impact you all had and continue to have on me that gives me the opportunity to share that with others.
If you have the means, let us rally together to now influence so many more people. My friends and family are all blessings to me for sticking by my side through some of the hardest times of my life. Can we influence more people on a greater scale?
Your donations help NAMI-NYC Metro provide support, education, and advocacy to over 16,000 New Yorkers yearly, all free-of-charge to the user.
Support and Education NAMI’s guiding principle is “families helping families.” And so we have free classes throughout the year: Family-to-Family, Homefront, Peer-to-Peer and NAMI Basics courses. We also offer almost 30 ongoing support groups for people living with mental illness and for their family members. Groups are facilitated by trained peer volunteers.
We work closely with NAMI National and NAMI-New York State to advocate for:
- improved services for people with mental illness and their families;
- health insurance parity;
- the allocation of more resources for research into neurobiological disorders;
- and comprehensive, accessible treatment options.
For more information on our programs, please contact our Helpline: 212.684.3264 or firstname.lastname@example.org