Coquitlam, British Columbia
ANDREW WOODS’ STORY
In his first year of university, at the age of 17, Andrew was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Soon after, he was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. The medications Andrew was taking had negative side-effects, which led Andrew to stop taking them and start taking other non-prescription drugs. Over the course of the decade, Andrew was hospitalized close to 20 times.
After Andrew found the appropriate medication regimen, he “entered active recovery” as he puts it. He was assigned to an assertive mental health treatment team making it possible to thrive in his community and eliminating the need for hospitalization or institutionalization.
ANDREW GETS LOUD
Andrew started to volunteer with CMHA. He is currently working with community outreach and education, Ride Don’t Hide, Mental Health Information Navigation and the Social Enterprise department at CMHA Vancouver – Fraser.
““[I] found true recovery and fulfilment through volunteer work with CMHA…. CMHA’s staff took me in and treated me as a part of the team. This is invaluable to a volunteer such as myself. They have nurtured my strengths, and taught me much of my abilities.”
He now wants to work in the mental health field to assist others who bear the burden of mental illness and help those attempting to navigate the mental health system.
“Their [CMHA staff] kindness, acceptance and understanding have inspired me to live each day as a better person.”
Andrew is a passionate writer, contributing to CMHA newsletters, blogs and publications. Even though his degree is in Economics and he has a diploma in Business Administration, he plans on enrolling in a psycho-social rehabilitation program.