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Consumer Hall of Fame
Alan Cochran Honored

Article Helene Zimmerman & NAMI SMC Staff

Every year, the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Recovery Commission (MHSARC) recognizes individuals who have found their way to a path of wellness and recovery from mental illness and are active in the consumer movement to better the lives of other consumers in the county.

On March 7, the MHSARC honored Alan Cochran with the Mental Health Consumer Hall of Fame Award.

Alan took the opportunity to promote the HOPE program, a collaboration between NAMI SMC, Heart & Soul Inc., California Clubhouse and BHRS, where he has been hired as a peer mentor.

 “This will be my first paid job since 2011, and it’s all because of the help I got from BHRS, San Mateo County and NAMI,” said Alan.

HOPE, or Helping Our Peers Emerge, is a program designed to provide peer and family support services to assist individuals who are in psychiatric hospital settings and help them successfully transition back into the community.

“I tell [clients] this every week when I go to [the San Mateo Medical Center Psychiatric Unit] to give them a shot of hope- there’s life on the other side of that door. There are people waiting to help you who you have never even met… You just have to be ready for help- and that message really resonates with them.”

Randy Trujillos, on behalf of Supervisor Pine, also presented Alan with a commendation from the County Board of Supervisors for being a great advocate for mental health services in the county.

Alan is a knowledgeable, resourceful advocate for persons with mental illness. He relates extremely well to his peers, is eager to share his wealth of knowledge and is very comfortable sharing his lived experience.

Alan first heard about NAMI in 2012 when he was asked to speak at one of the bi-monthly general meetings- it was the first large group to which he had presented.

Since those early beginnings, Alan has completed the NAMI Peer to Peer class, taken the training to become a co-teacher and has successfully co-taught his first class. On an ongoing basis, Alan attends trainings and tells his story at many of outreach events, including at the San Mateo Medical Center, various churches and business and professional groups. Alan also serves on the NAMI San Mateo County Board of Directors where his personal experience and knowledge is most beneficial.

Alan likes working with NAMI and helping others because he knows how hard it was for him to get the help he needed.  He wants to make it easier for others, so they don’t have to go through the many hurdles that he went through.

Alan is a phenomenal asset to the behavioral health community. Helping others is his passion- and he does it well.

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