I have been coming to the SET program at Mental Health Community Center in Sarasota Fl for 4 years now. Previous to attending SET I stayed at home alone a lot and isolated. I would come to the drop in center a couple of days a week and attend some groups but I just felt like I needed more. When I stayed at home I would become depressed. So I heard about the SET program offered at MHCC and I talked to the counselor about joining. He agreed that it would be great for me so I started to attend 3 days a week. It was exactly what I needed and I felt that I had a purpose. I have learned so many things in the SET program. I have learned that I can live with and cope with my mental illness. I have learned how to honestly talk about my issues and have accountability with my peers in a close group setting. I now look forward to getting up in the morning and knowing that I have a group to come to that has become like a family to me. In addition to feeling satisfied with talking out my issues in the group, I also have enjoyed the teaching times that we have. We have discussed such topics as emotional maturity, learning to think better about ourselves, communication skills, dealing with our families and relating to our peers. I have become so much more independent in my life from all the things I have learned in the SET program. I have recently decided to become a mental health certified peer specialist. I have realized that I have so much to offer other peers from my experiences in the SET program and my life experiences that it’s time to start giving back and helping others who may not be in as good a place as I am now. I am so thankful to have been able to participate in the SET program and I wouldn’t be in the place I’m in without it. – Cheryl L., July 2015

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