We are in the midst of a mental health epidemic. According to the medical journal The Lancet, depression rates skyrocketed during the Covid pandemic from 9 to 33 percent, impacting one in three Americans. The situation is even more grim for teenage girls, an overwhelming 60 percent of whom report experiencing persistent sadness of hopelessness.
Dawn Nickel, Ph.D. is the cofounder and chair of the She Recovers Foundation (SRF), a non-profit and global grassroots movement that inspires hope, reduces stigma, and empowers women in or seeking recovery from life challenges including mental health issues, trauma and substance use. SRF offers virtual and in-person community support networks, provides resources to help women recover, and empowers them to share their experiences. Already it has impacted more than 300,000 women.
On February 21, 2023, Nickel launches her first book, She Recovers Every Day, a daily meditation book intended to support women in recovery. In addition to writing and overseeing SRF, Nickel works independently as a health policy researcher and consultant focusing primarily on how best to support women who experience substance use disorders, mental health issues and intimate partner violence – the three issues that prompted her to start her own personal recovery journey in 1987. She is also trained as a professional recovery coach.
Dawn Nickel, Ph.D. is the cofounder and chair of the She Recovers Foundation (SRF).
“I am passionate about all things related to women and recovery,” says Nickel, who cofounded SRF with her daughter Taryn Strong. The two believe that they can help create better addiction and mental health outcomes by spreading awareness about intergenerational trauma.
Nickel found her life purpose in healing from her own substance use, anxiety, and other life issues 35 years ago. “In recovery, we often talk about the fact that our mess becomes our message. Other women in recovery, more than anyone, inspire me. My daughter Taryn Strong, who is 37 and also in long-term recovery from substance use, self-harm, and disordered eating, is also a huge inspiration to me,” says Nickel.
Nickel and her daughter Taryn Strong help women recover from intergenerational trauma.
Although Nickel dropped out of high school at age 16 due to her addiction, she returned to school later to earn not only a BA and MA in women’s studies, but also a PhD in health care policy. She then found herself addicted to work, and ended up having to take a break due to stress. That’s when She Recovers was born. “I was 45 years old!” Nickel says. “I gave up teaching and my government job and turned my focus to She Recovers, a passion project which I have done mostly voluntarily, and consulting to pay the bills.”
“We are all recovering from something in life,” says Nickel. “When we admit that we all have something to heal from, it helps reduce the stigma of recovery. Helping women find hope, then find their footing in their healing, and then watching them thrive and help other women to do the same – well, there’s no better drug.”
To women who want to tap into their life purpose, Nickel has this to say. “Life is short, and it gets shorter every day once we hit our fifties. It might be uncomfortable changing careers, but if you know deep down that there is something you are meant to be doing, trust your intuition. Explore what making a change would look like. Do the math and do the deep introspection. At the end of your life, when you ask yourself if you completed what you came to earth do to, what will your answer be?”
For more about She Recovers.
For the full article:Forbes Article