At a young age, Carl began using alcohol as a way to mask the shame and pain he felt as a result of his ongoing battle with anxiety and depression. His use of addictive substances as a negative coping skill quickly progressed and eventually spun out of control. In his recovery process, he has learned healthy, effective ways to handle his emotions, as well as life’s ups and downs. Carl believes that the feelings he struggles with are faced by young people everywhere and that the lessons he continues to learn in recovery are valuable not only for those suffering from substance abuse, but to anyone facing life’s challenges.
Carl has extensive experience educating young people and their families about mental health issues, as well as advocating for more openness surrounding youth mental health–specifically the challenges and stigma facing youths in recovery. Carl is a recipient of the 2014 Need In Deed Community Partner Award. He was a presenter at the 2014 National SADD Conference and was the keynote speaker at the 2014 Bucks County Opiate Conference sponsored by Magellan Health. He is one of the founders of the Philadelphia Chapter of Young People in Recovery, a national advocacy organization that attempts to educate the public on the issues faced by young people in recovery and empowers local youth to facilitate that change. His experience has shown that the most important resource for youths in recovery is peer-based support. He believes that educating young people about mental health issues will lessen the stigma attached to such problems, thereby empowering the youth community to voice their needs and allowing the greater community to build resources to support them.
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