Joey always knew that he wanted help people who experienced mental health issues, and he expected that to come by pursuing a career in psychology. What he never expected was that he would have to deal with mental health issues of his own.
Joey grew up in a loving family and always did very well in school, even though he was hiding his fears and truths from those around him. Being Puerto Rican, in school Joey was afraid of appearing like he didn’t belong in upper level courses; he didn’t want it to seem that he was a token minority. When Joey realized he is bisexual, he was not able to accept it. The fear of his family’s disapproval led him to keep it a secret from everyone in his life. His goal became to act like he fit in and get into college.
Once away from his family and away at college, his insecurities and internal struggle deepened his dislike of himself. He fell into a very deep and intense depression that manifested into a desire to self-harm, suicidal ideation, anxiety, and panic-attacks. Self-harm became a negative coping skill to deal with the intense depression and anxiety that he was feeling.
Eventually, Joey realized that he did not want to continue living in that painful existence. He took action by entering therapy and began taking medications to help with his depression and anxiety. Today, he is much stronger emotionally and is managing his mental health. Even though his family is still working to balance their love for Joey with deeply held religious beliefs that cause them to struggle in accepting his sexuality, he is happy with himself and that he was able to get to this place in his life. His goal is to share his story with others, to help everyone get to a place where they can accept themselves and work to become the best person they can be. He wants everyone to know that there’s always hope, and with perseverance and understanding, things can get better.
Joey is based in Western Massachusetts. Speaking engagements beyond 120 miles may require a fee for travel expenses.
Read what organizations have to say about Joey:
“Joey captured and held our students’ attention immediately. He used humor appropriately and handled the heaviness of the conversation with grace.” Stoughton High School (MA)
“Joey was excellent! The students really appreciated how authentic he was and his humor.” Boston College High School (MA)
“Our students had overwhelmingly positive feedback about the speakers (Andrew & Joey) and how their stories resonated with them and provided great information and hope about dealing with their own mental health.” Hingham High School (MA)