Mental Health Awareness Month-Dan’s Story

*Dan, a mid-30s professional, first started counseling at JFS nearly two years ago. Like many, his path to seeking help was paved with challenges, including anxiety, depression, and unresolved childhood trauma. His psychological burdens were so heavy that they often manifested as suicidal ideation. Dan once confessed during a session, "I just wish I could disappear to not feel this way anymore." His pain was palpable, affecting not only his own well-being but also putting a significant strain on his marriage. His spouse was his rock, yet the constant need for emotional support was becoming a heavy load for her to carry.

Through regular counseling sessions at JFS—sessions made accessible and affordable to ensure no one in need ever has to forego essential mental health care—Dan began to learn and embrace grounding and mindfulness techniques. These skills gradually helped lessen the impact of his anxiety and panic attacks, allowing him to continue his workday with increased resilience and a calmer mind.

As Dan and his counselor navigated the complexities of his emotions and experiences, they reached a point where they considered terminating their sessions. Dan felt stronger, more equipped to handle the pressures of life. However, life had another plan—Dan and his spouse were thrilled to learn they were expecting their first child.

The news of the pregnancy marked a new chapter in Dan’s therapy. Focus shifted towards addressing new and emerging challenges, including self-care and understanding the realities of postpartum depression, which can affect both men and women. As a new father, Dan was determined to be emotionally present for his daughter, unlike his own upbringing, which was marred by trauma. He wanted better for his child.

Today, as Dan looks at his three-month-old daughter, his journey reflects a remarkable evolution from a place of deep personal turmoil, to one of hope and resilience. He has learned to navigate his mental health not just for his own sake, but for his family’s, as well. The skills and understanding he has gained from counseling continue to support him as he embraces the joys and challenges of parenthood.

Dan’s story underscores the importance of seeking help and the significant difference accessible mental health services can make. Our Mental Health program’s commitment to offering long-term, affordable mental health therapy to clients is unique in the community. Most other local non-profit and government agencies that provide help for mental health issues have restrictions that limit the number of subsidized or free therapy sessions clients may access, typically 6-8 sessions – which is often not an adequate amount of time for clients experiencing crisis to stabilize and be able to meaningfully address their issues. At JFS, clients are able to receive care for as long as they need it. Visit our website for more information at

*Client name changed for confidentiality.