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NYSID News Blog

May 22, 2017

Family Focus and Meaningful Work Promote Mental Health

Category: General — NYSID @ 12:33 pm

Ricky Bernstein ultimately has made up his mind to gain control of his life, from a personal and professional standpoint. He is one of several William B. Joslin Award recipients who has overcome mental illness and become a successful, satisfied worker on a NYSID Preferred Source contract.

Ricky Bernstein from Northeast Career Planning balances work and life to be the best Preferred Source worker, husband and father he can be

Ricky began working with Northeast Career Planning (NCP) in its School to Work Program at the age of 17. Soon after working with NCP, Ricky became employed at McDonald’s, while still attending school. Initially, he found the necessary balance to keep up with his school and work demands. However, the pressure mounted on both fronts, and after six months, Ricky resigned from his position.

Around the same time, Ricky began to realize that his mental illness was affecting his level of functioning. His home life, not without chaos, was a major contributing factor to the symptoms he was experiencing. As a result, he made a life-altering decision to find his own apartment.

Ricky was a senior in high school when he secured an apartment. During the time when most teenagers are focused on their final exams and completing graduation, Ricky was dealing with the reality that he and his girlfriend were expecting their first child. Despite the tremendous amount of stress that Ricky was experiencing, he managed to graduate with a Regents diploma, two months before his daughter was born.

For the past two years, Ricky has worked successfully as a part-time janitor in the New York State Education Department Building through the NYSID Preferred Source Program. In addition to his part-time job in the NYSID State Ed contract, he maintains a full-time job at Albany Medical Center, sometimes working in excess of 60 hours per week.

He has not let his struggles deter him from reaching his personal and employment goals. Ricky got married in 2014, and he and his wife just had their second daughter.

For nearly 70 years, Mental Health America (MHA) and its affiliates across the country have led the observance of May is Mental Health Month by reaching millions of people through the media, local events and screenings. MHA offers Mental Health Month 2017 toolkit materials to help members of your community:

Understand how certain seemingly common behaviors are risk factors for, or indicators of mental health or substance use disorders

Start talking about mental health Before Stage 4

Assess their own mental health through use of MHA’s screening tools

NYSID celebrates the efforts of MHA and our member agencies and corporate partners to help increase opportunities for individuals living with mental illness.


NYSID RESOURCES member tools