Without Prospect House, it’s staff and its programs, you probably wouldn’t know Brian Green. The 51-year-old would likely be another nameless, faceless sufferer of mental illness in Sarasota County.

“When I came through the front door, I was very isolated, I was very ‘Doom and Gloom’ and ‘Poor me, oh, I got this diagnosis’ and ‘That’s the end of me,’” he said, thinking back to 2000, when he first walked into Prospect House. “And by coming here, I realized, ‘No’… It was a shift in my life. But it was also a new beginning and that new beginning can be meaningful and fulfilling. That’s one thing the center’s have taught me over the years.”

Almost 17 years later, Green has gone from client to staff member, working with others who have been diagnosed with a mental disorder. The importance of his role isn’t lost on Green. He knows how important it is for clients to be in an accepting and nurturing environment. It’s also important for the community-at-large, in their understanding of the stigma attached to mental illness.

“The thing about being diagnosed with a mental wellness issue is that you do feel separate,” he said. “What I would like people to know is that we’re not that different. We have hopes, dreams, friendships, loves, just like everybody else.”

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