Fall 2017 Newsletter – Participant Profile
PARTICIPANT PROFILE – NOEL AYALA
Noel is particularly effective in his work because he has personally experienced the strength, dedication and commitment it takes to overcome mental illness. Like many others, Noel’s parents suffered from untreated mental health issues and substance abuse. Growing up in an environment of abuse and trauma had a long-term impact on him, and he suffered the consequences. Noel battled post-traumatic stress disorder, severe depression, and addiction, and was suicidal. During his darkest hours, Noel lost sight of any joy in his life and became isolated. “I could barely leave my apartment for four years.”
Noel felt something had to change. When a family member encouraged him to see a therapist, Noel decided to give counseling a try. He was able to access the help he needed at Union Settlement’s Johnson Counseling Center.
Over the next three years, Noel experienced an incredible improvement in his quality of life. With the help of his counselors, Noel was able to heal from his negative experiences and began to live life to the fullest. “Union Settlement believed in a life worth living for me even when I didn’t,” Noel reflected.
Today, Noel takes his recovery one day at a time. He gives back to his community through his work as a substance abuse counselor, and his personal success is a source of inspiration to the people he helps. “I want to thank Union Settlement for having the vision and practice that produce miracles. And I want to thank all the people who support this miracle.”