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Better Together

Updated: Jan 15

This week the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is leading Mental Illness Awareness Week by sharing real stories and breaking stigmas. A mental illness is a condition that affects a person's thinking, feeling or mood and millions of people in the U.S. are affected by mental illness each year. In order to fully understand the importance of advocating for those battling against certain illnesses, you should understand the breakdown of the demographic affected.

Today the Lefty Cycles Project, Inc. visited a residential location managed by Sound Community Services, Inc. We ate pizza, shared stories and talked about bicycles. The idea is to promote physical activity which will create a positive impact for those in recovery from addiction and mental health illnesses (anxiety, depression, PTSD, Bipolar Disorder, etc.) We did a simple yet powerful breathwork exercise led by Dylan and made plans for our next visit. In about six weeks, we will bring bikes for interested clients and continue monthly visits that incorporate bike safety/maintenance education along with group chats and possibly make s'mores. This project was made possible through funding from The Connecticut Community Foundation of SE, CT.

One staggering statistic provided by NAMI is that approximately 18% of adults in the US who suffer from one or more mental illness(es) also have a substance use disorder. Some people who we met tonight were so excited with Dylan’s offer to bring bicycles and talk about recovery. This is what The Lefty Cycles Project, Inc. is all about.

Dylan has been sober for over 16 years and by sharing his personal experiences with addiction, mental health issues and accomplishing hard goals, he has created a trusting network. “Better Together” is a phrase I’ve heard a few dozen times but witnessing the power of unity tonight was raw and authentic; We were unaware that it is Mental Illness Awareness Week but it seems suitable because tomorrow Dylan is going to run the Hartford Marathon. One mile at a time!! If you or someone you know is battling hardships, please think of the millions of people going through the same struggle. Hearing stories and sharing connections is a step in the right direction. Seek help if needed (text "HelpLine" to 62640).

Before we left tonight, we were saying goodbye to a few new acquaintances. We mentioned that Dylan is running over twenty-five miles tomorrow morning and a charismatic woman yelled "oh WOW, you need to get to bed!" Think of him tomorrow and stay tuned for some upcoming events this fall.

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