When you hear the word consumer at RCA, you may wonder what we’re talking about.
A mental health consumer is an individual who uses mental health services. The word grew out of the “patients’ rights” movement decades ago as a way to describe people who were used to being “treated” but not necessarily treated well. At River City Advocacy we often use this word to refer to the people –friends, neighbors, and acquaintances–who come to RCA to listen, share, experience, learn, and grow with one another. We often use the word the same way we would use “peer”, as in peer support.
Not everyone likes the word consumer, and not everyone likes the word peer, and that’s okay! They are both just shorthand ways of trying to represent what we feel: that each and every person deserves respect and to be treated as having inherent worth.
“RCA is for me a second home. Like an extended family who totally understand and get me. It is a place where I can be myself and also journey through my shortcomings with my peers and wonderful staff.”
– Gerri, October 2013
“This has become my soft place to fall.“
-Anonymous, September 2012
“I’m so grateful that I have RCA to go to. I enjoy the groups that are provided. Then there are the crafts that have helped me to experience new things. I’ve made friends here and I feel like I’m a part of something good. This is my home away from home. I am treated with respect and I feel safe here. I’ve changed a lot and for the good because RCA is here. I’d be lost without it. Help keep this open for all of us who need this to feel like we are living.”-Robin, July 2012
“If I were to describe River City Advocacy Center in one definition it would be Love. From the moment I stepped into the RCA doors I was greeted with kindness, compassion, and honesty. I was a person with absolutely no life left inside of me and complete desperation. I found myself searching for a small glimmer of hope. I am a suicide survivor, sexual abuse, rape, physical and mental abuse survivor. I am a person who was completely broken when I came here. It’s been almost a year ago that I first came to River City Advocacy and attended the Survivor’s Support Group. For a little over a year now I am clean and sober; now I am employed, applying for school, moving out on my own, and most importantly I have found love for myself. I have two beautiful boys who now have a chance to enjoy a healthy mother. I can one hundred percent say without a doubt this is due to the love, education, counseling, and friendships I have received from the RCA staff and consumers. I have hope now, I have strength, i have courage, and even more importantly I have self- respect. This organization is crucial to its consumers. All we are looking for in the end is community, confidence, safety, and to know there is a place where people have a true passion to help us better ourselves.” Kelli, January 2013
“I am diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and obsessive compulsive disorder. I used to have a difficult time relating with people. I had a hard time even leaving my home to see my counselor and psychiatrist. But after being encouraged by my treatment team, I began ‘making’ myself go to River City Advocacy. I have now been attending regularly for over two years now. When I first started attending groups, I was very anxious and awkward. At first, I put up a front. But after I met other clients, who deal with the same challenges I face every day, I began to learn to be myself. RCA has been a real blessing to me. Their support groups have helped me through some hard times. In addition, I am learning to set boundaries with people, and learn to stand up for myself. In addition,I belong to a new “family” of people who understand and care about each other. Without RCA, I don’t know what I would do. Thank you to everybody who makes RCA possible!”
-Tim, October 2012
RCA is a good reason to get up in the morning. I like to start and end my weeks with RCA. They cover everything from coffee to emotional calming. RCA staff has kept me active and involved when I might have chucked the day. This is a safe place for those who are a little askant of normal. It is a welcoming and a belonging we seek. Respect is assured, kindness abounds, and nurturing happens. The RCA house is warm, stable, and inviting. The staff is secure, friendly and patient. Honesty is a tough commodity but group therapy and room interactions bespeak volumes of truthfulness that I appreciate. When I am sure no one understands there are compatriots and veterans of psychiatric wars. We all have battle scars but RCA is a fine place to get balm and healing. Peter, January 2013
River City Advocacy Center is a very valuable resource for those who suffer from mental illness as well as their families and caregivers. The group therapy and one on one sessions have been of help to my brother Larry. Both he and I have been impressed by the helpful and caring staff. Additionally, the various group activities, art sessions, and other gatherings have provided Larry with the opportunity to share his musical talents and offer help to others. I am very glad that New Braunfels has a place that provides these important services which are vital to the community. Lori, 2013
It is difficult to put into words the usefulness and help RCA has meant to me. I find myself at many times during the week referring to the support and information I have received from everyone there. Merideth and Susan are superwomen in their tireless effort to see to the needs of each person. River City Advocacy is very special to me, and I can’t imagine my life without RCA. Larry, 2013