NYP Westchester Behavioral Health Center

Holiday Visit

Yesterday, I had the tremendous privilege of visiting and meeting over 100 patients during a six-hour visit to the NewYork-Presbyterian Westchester Behavioral Health Center in White Plains, NY. Lisa, the hospital Psychosocial Rehabilitation Manager invited my spouse and me to personally give out greeting cards with touching inspirational messages, paper snowflakes, ornaments, chocolates and puzzles. All the gifts were made possible by our wonderful ForLikeMinds and Silver Center, Fountain House donors and our Psych Ward Greeting Cards Board Members, including Nathan. It was humbling to meet so many patients and their therapists in the hospital, to be able to bring a reminder from the outside that they are cared for, loved and most importantly not alone even if they feel like it. There was curiosity, surprise, laughter, and tears — mine and theirs and often from a little bit of joy we seemed to bring to the patient’s day. Many of the responses were so inspirational. Patients were extremely thankful. Several said they really liked what our program is doing. They wished us happy holidays. They were surprised and perked up when I told them that I had been a patient just like them (three times). I was inspired by their wit and humor even in their lows. One gentleman joked that he was happy to be in the hospital for Christmas, because he didn’t have to buy any gifts. Another commented that he was thinking of this as his “worst Christmas”, but that was “OK because everyone needs a worst Christmas”. Their personalities shine through. It is a reminder that we continue to be people, have lives when we’re hospitalized or have a mental health crisis. We are all people. I believe our visit, the simple but impactful gesture, reminded the patients that they are still part of our community, that they are needed, loved and cared for. Lisa who guided us through the hospital units told us she felt the visit was extremely successful and has invited to visit monthly — my best Christmas present ever. We cannot, we will not forget our peers. They need our hope, they inspire our hope, together them and us and our shared hope can overcome most anything.




Sharing hope in the Psych Ward

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