The Mental Health Awareness Project has a wonderful and talented team of mental health advocates and bloggers. To learn about them, please click on their photos below so that you can read their biographies. We have also included links to their blog and/or social media channels so that you can connect with them!
Nicole SharpeProject Manager
Carin RomeroTeam Member
Kaleyna CainTeam Member
Shanell HugginsTeam Member
Valarie WardBlog Team
Laura DunsonBlog Team
Nicole Carman is a passionate mental health advocate, blogger, and peer support group facilitator.
She has been blogging since January of 2011 but started focusing on mental health in 2018 after she was hospitalized due to her mental illnesses. She created The Mental Health Awareness Project in September of 2018, as she believes that education on mental health and mental illnesses should take place year-round — not just during a specific day, week, or month of the year.
Nicole was originally diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder during her hospitalization in March of 2018, but she was later diagnosed with Bipolar II Disorder, depression, and anxiety.
Nicole’s journey with mental illness began before she can remember, as a result of Complex Childhood Trauma. This trauma led her to a long-term addiction to an array of substances, homelessness, making a host of poor choices just to survive; including survival crime, and an overall state of unwell, desperation and hopelessness. Through the support of a few remarkable individuals, including her now husband, paternal grandparents, her sister, a peer who was further down their recovery path and an amazing team of mental professionals she was able to take a “strong right turn” in her recovery. Nicole has been clean and sober since February 9, 2003, and has not been acutely ill since the Summer of 2006. Nicole now lives a life full of hope, resilient and gratitude. Nicole feels extremely blessed to now be able to dedicate her life to supporting others on their recovery journey.
Nicole’s official diagnosis are: Rapid Cycling, Mixed State Bipolar I with Schizoaffective traits, Complex Post Trauma Stress Disorder, Undefined Panic Disorder, Complex Anxiety Disorder, Nonspecific Substance Induced Eating Disorder and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. Nicole is also a suicide survivor.
Although Nicole considers herself to be in recovery, she still struggles with body dysmorphia, nonvisible self harm, depression and anxiety on a daily basis.
Carin Romero is a licensed clinical social worker from Maine. She has worked with multiple populations such as children, adolescents, adults, and families and is currently working as an Emergency Services clinician in an emergency room completing crisis assessments for individuals with suicidal ideation, homicidal ideation, and psychosis.
She is also a member of the Maine Air National Guard since 2009, and loves getting lost in YA novels, photography and hiking in the New England mountains with her husband, daughter & fur baby.
She’s the founder of WeTalkMH, an online social media platform that aims to educate others about mental health from a providers view point in order to help #breakthedamnstigma.
Hello, my name is Shanell Huggins and I am from Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho. I am married to my best friend and love of my life and together we have two girls along with two Husky’s.
I have gone through so much in the last 7 years, from endometriosis, a hysterectomy, then to fibromyalgia, degenerative back disease, interstitial cystitis and pelvic floor myalgia. Recently I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. This diagnosis took far too long to get to and because of that we went through hell. Even though I have chronic illness and mental illnesses, I refuse to allow it to define me and have dedicated myself to spread awareness about mental health, and help move our cities and towns in the right direction in order to make sure law enforcement is trained.
Here’s to spreading much needed awareness.
Valarie is a mental health writer living with depression, GAD, and two cats. She believes in the power of CBT and self-help for those with mental illnesses, and shares tips over at ValarieWard.com on managing your mental illness with little or no money – like this list of self-help resources.
Laura is a Licensed Professional Counselor from Ohio. As a feminist therapist, she specializes in gender-based violence and trauma as well as the impact of shame and vulnerability in our lives. As a narrative nerd therapist she focuses on the way pop culture and media connect with mental health. She prioritizes creative therapy by using games, movies, books, and shows in counseling and works to make therapeutic tools and skills more accessible in and out of treatment.
In her spare time, Laura loves to read and write, crochet, cook, and watch movies.