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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Department of Health and Human Services
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

Last Updated: 4/29/2011

SAMHSA’s Resource Center to Promote Acceptance,
Dignity and Social Inclusion Associated with
Mental Health (ADS Center)


My Story Submission Guidelines

We invite you to share a brief story from your past or present that illustrates your experience overcoming prejudice and discrimination associated with a mental health challenge or substance use problem. You may want to send an anecdote describing a turning point, or a summary of a significant period in your life that demonstrates your experience.

We are gathering these stories to help promote social inclusion and to inspire others with the hope of recovery. Examples of positive recovery counter the negative stereotypes of people who have mental health or substance use disorders, and help encourage people and health systems to a focus on mental wellness. Stories may be published in the ADS Center InfoUpdate, on the ADS Center Web site, in announcements developed by the Campaign for Social Inclusion —formerly the Campaign for Mental Recovery (CMHR)—and on the Campaign for Social Inclusion Web site. 

Writing Suggestions

Please limit your story to 1,000 words or less. If we find it necessary to edit your story for length or style, we will share the final edited version with you for your approval. Although our intention is to protect your story from further revisions, we cannot guarantee that it will not be edited by the press or outside partners.

Following are some questions to think about as you write your story; it would be great if it could cover at least a couple of these questions:

  • What challenging experience did you have on the path to mental health recovery?
  • What specifically helped you to cope with or overcome this challenge?
  • What specifically helped to facilitate your recovery?
  • How has your life improved since you began your journey of recovery? What have you accomplished?
  • Have you been able to help others in their recovery? How?
  • What would you do to change the ways society treats people who have mental health or substance use disorders?
  • How has the community supported your recovery?
  • Has recovery helped you to re-enter the community?
  • Why have you chosen to self-disclose?

Also, it would be wonderful if you could send a picture of yourself and provide some details about your life in general. For example:

  • Do you work and, if so, in what field?
  • What are your interests?
  • Are you married?
  • Do you have children?
  • Do you have a college degree, or any advanced degrees?
  • Are you involved in any civic or charitable causes?

We want to illustrate the fact that people who have mental health challenges or substance use disorders are like everyone else, and have interests and abilities and contribute to the community.

Submission Instructions

You may send your story to us:

  • by email to
    (as a text file attachment or in the body of the email)
  • by fax to 240-744-7004
  • by mail to the following address:
    SAMHSA ADS Center
    4350 East West Highway, Suite 1100
    Bethesda, MD 20814

Please also sign the release and fax or mail it to the ADS Center. (PDF 128Kb)

We will notify you if your story has been selected for inclusion on our Web site or for use in one of the other media described above. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at 1-800-540-0320 or by e-mail at

Thanks in advance for your contribution!


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This Web site was developed under contract with the Office of Consumer Affairs in SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services. The views, opinions, and content provided on this Web site do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or policies of SAMHSA or HHS. The resources listed in this Web site are not all-inclusive and inclusion on this Web site does not constitute an endorsement by SAMHSA or HHS.