Faces of Long Island celebrates the uniqueness of everyday Long Islanders. In their own words, they tell us about their life experiences, challenges and triumphs. Newsday launched this social media journey into the human experience to shine a light on the diverse people of this wonderful place we call home.

‘There’s such a stigma with mental health, but it’s just learning to find the answers to what we’re struggling with.’

Mineola

“I found my life’s passion. I was in finance for many years, but it didn’t satisfy me. I always had an interest in psychiatry, so I took a job with The Jewish Association For Services For the Aged in Long Beach. The engagement with people and learning their stories and what their struggles are really inspired me to go back to school and pursue a career in social work. I am now a medical social worker for a Long Island hospital and a psychotherapist with a private practice. I’ve been doing this for 16 years.

“I think the most important part of the job is learning. I’ve worked with the chronically ill and still do. Though some people may come in not knowing how to cope with a disease or illness, or not knowing how to get through it, they find their way. I can tap into something that will show them again that they are important, that they have meaning, that their life still has purpose.

I’m very grateful and honored that people trust me enough to share their stories with me and I have an opportunity to help them and see them grow.

“I have stories of patients that stay with me. The strength and resilience people have, and I don’t think they realize they have it until they go through adversity, and them sharing their stories with me so that I can help them learn to manage their illness and live a good life have been the greatest gifts to me. That’s what I thrive off —them sharing a piece of their lives with me and hopefully helping them in their journey.

“We have all these challenges and struggles. We don’t always know how to deal with that, and it creates barriers to living our best life or to moving forward or finding out who we are. I do a lot of work helping people manage that.

“There’s such a stigma with mental health, but it’s just learning to find the answers to what we’re struggling with. I think sometimes we have the answers, but our mind is full of worries or trying to learn about what we’re dealing with that maybe we don’t have the clarity to get through it. That’s what therapy does. There’s so much that life just brings, but we have the strength within us. I’m very grateful and honored that people trust me enough to share their stories with me and I have an opportunity to help them and see them grow. We’re much stronger than we realize. I find that so fascinating.”