This past month, our Young Women’s Program clients participated in a Hike & Yoga session by the water in New Haven’s East Rock Park.

This activity was led by the Women’s Recovery in Motion coach, Brooke Hadfield. Brooke guided the participants to use this opportunity to practice healthy communication with oneself and with their physical environment. This therapeutic activity combined the physical benefit of a strenuous workout with the emotional and spiritual benefit of being in nature.  

These activities focus on teaching clients to identify and respond in a healthy way to the feelings of discomfort that often accompany and are magnified by mental health disorders. One client remarked, “This activity was a great way to release pent-up energy related to my mental health struggles.”

This activity proved to be an important breakthrough for one particular client who had historically resisted Recovery in Motion activities due to fear of failure and judgment from peers. Said Brooke, “This client and I created a plan together that will support her attending RIM's. We talked through the inner mechanics of her avoidance & powerlessness, and how we were going to combat that together by learning to be a warrior.”  

We are so proud of the work these women are putting in to face their fears and better their physical, mental, and emotional health.
Recently, as part of our Recovery in Motion curriculum at Turnbridge, Phase I Clients in the Young Men’s Program tried their hand at slacklining. Slacklining requires a great deal of focus, balance, and is physically challenging, engaging both leg and core muscle groups. During the activity, clients were asked to focus their attention in real-time on the instruction being given and were challenged to practice positive self-talk and develop their awareness around their mind-body connection. 

These kinds of activities also foster peer engagement as clients come together and encourage each other through an unfamiliar experience. “All clients were very open and receptive to this new activity,” said Kyle Degennaro, the Men’s Recovery in Motion coach. “They approached slacklining with an open mind and were able to identify and stay with the feelings of anticipatory anxiety as they were getting ready to step onto the slackline. I’m proud of these young men for noticing, and choosing to be present with, the feelings that rise up in the body and mind during this experience.”
Clients helped set-up the activity, practiced pushing through the frustration of learning a new skill, and supported each other during the vulnerability of it all. At Turnbridge, we celebrate these moments when our young men step out of their comfort zone and apply new coping tools through experiential lessons.
Emma T.
Our Unsung Hero of the month is Emma T. Emma is an alumni of the Turnbridge women’s program and a current Support Staff Manager. Emma has the important role of overseeing Support Staff as well as welcoming new women into the program. Her experience along with her compassion has made her an integral part of the Turnbridge family. 

Emma’s early years mirrored many women within the Turnbridge program; her parents pushed her to be the best she could be, but when the time came to practice independence she struggled to do so responsibly. After struggling through college, her parents and Emma decided she needed treatment and Turnbridge provided the foundation that Emma needed. “I finally got to make a life for myself that only Turnbridge could have helped me create,” said Emma. “I want to show these young girls that it is possible!”

When asked what she enjoys most about her job at Turnbridge Emma replied, “Watching these girls blossom and being by their side during their own unique journey is really gratifying and inspiring for me.”

We appreciate all Emma does for our young women by sharing her story and being a guide during their journey toward recovery!
Isabel had a self-described “normal upbringing”; she was a good student who maintained her grades and was a competitive swimmer. Yet her mental health struggles were evident even as a child. “I had a good upbringing but I just inherently wasn’t happy as a kid, I always felt like something was amiss. I never felt comfortable in my own skin.”

When Isabel was 14 years old her mental health came to surface as a bad relationship ended. Due to the circumstances around her relationship she became depressed and entered her first psychiatric treatment center. 

In the coming years, Isabel started self-medicating with alcohol and drugs. “It didn’t become an everyday thing until I was 18,” Isabel recalled, “but I started drinking at 15 and I wasn’t a social drinker. The first time I drank, I was home alone by myself and stole alcohol from my parents just so I didn’t feel depressed anymore. I was really setting myself up for alcoholism. “

Isabel had a great support system in her parents at that time. “There’s no handbook for parenting a child with mental health issues, but my parents tried their best and I’m lucky to have parents that are really understanding,” said Isabel. “They would go to workshops and seminars in order to work on themselves so they could be better parents for me and learn how to help me.”

Isabel started her journey in and out of different treatment centers. She had looked at Turnbridge as an extended care option while in primary treatment, but left primary treatment, relapsed, and ended up living in Portland, Maine for a period of time. Her substance use began to spiral out of control. At that point, Isabel’s parents cut her off financially. They decided to offer her the opportunity to get help or be entirely on her own. Isabel chose treatment.

“I knew people who had gone through Turnbridge and were doing really well,” said Isabel. “I looked at Turnbridge online and read the statistics. I knew it was a longer-term program but I didn’t care. I was ready to get help. I was ready to get better”

Isabel entered Turnbridge hopeful. She made a lot of friends and put in a lot of hard work to reach her goal of sustained recovery. Isabel’s journey was not without its ups and downs, but she credits the care and compassion of the staff at Turnbridge for helping her get where she is today. “The staff worked with me so much. I never felt like I was just a number at Turnbridge. My case managers cared about me personally and even still reach out to me to this day and have an active role in my life.” 

Isabel currently works as Support Staff member at Turnbridge alongside many of the “lifelong friends” she made while she was a client. In response to being asked about future plans, Isabel replied, “I’m finally in a place where I can figure out what I want to do when I grow up. Through my experiences at Turnbridge, and as a staff member at Turnbridge mentoring girls, I finally know I want to pursue a degree in social work.”

 “I really do wholeheartedly believe that if you are willing to do the work, Turnbridge is the program that’s going to set you up for success.”