An essay by Brian McLaughlin, Advocate

Warm Line: How a fellow CPS Made all the Difference

I am proud to be a masters level counselor and a Certified Peer Specialist (CPS). Too proud it turns out.

At one time I could count on my parents or my older brother as a support system of last resort. More recently however I have become their primary support. Aging, illness, and other challenges have rendered them less able. Many familial needs and responsibilities have now become my sole responsibility.

This seemingly rapid transition left me anxious, sad, and unprepared. Recently, medication and traditional coping mechanisms proved inadequate in the face of my darkening thoughts and emotions. One evening  I found myself  tempted by drink, a demon I had long ago dispatched.

Then I remembered the newly established Warm Line. I abandoned my false pride and dialed. I was soon in touch with a CPS. As we talked I was filled with a sense of being understood. I was no longer alone. I was safe.

I will long remember this interaction as being a pivotal moment in my ongoing recovery.

Respectfully submitted for your consideration,

Brian Patrick McLaughlin MS/CPS
MH Consumer Advocate
Erie County, PA.

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