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Don’t Tell People What You Do, Show Them: Momentum for Mental Health’s Day in the Life of Recovery E

A Day in the Life of Recovery  Cover Photo for Facebook Page

Beth Johns. Domingo Noriega. Hope Holland. Darcy Hudson. Princella Woods. Alberto “Alby” Ruiz. Srecko Toroman. Andre Ellison. They are mental health champions willing to share their stories --their narratives -- of recovering from mental illness and substance use disorders to help others who face similar challenges. Their stories are told in an extraordinary photojournalism exhibit entitled "A Day in the Life of Recovery," developed by PRxDigital in partnership with our client Momentum for Mental Health.

A Day in the Life of Recovery Artwork

The mission of Momentum for Mental Health, a nonprofit provider of mental health services in Santa Clara County, is to help individuals achieve mental and emotional health, discover and reach their potential and fully participate in life. The work Momentum does has led to successful recovery for countless clients.

David Mineta, CEO of Momentum, approached PRxDigital with the idea of telling the stories of people with mental health issues who are in recovery. Early on in the planning discussions, Mineta noted that one of the things he loved most about Momentum is its staff’s ability to engage individuals, who have a mental illness or substance use challenge, with something that they are passionate about in order to find health, stability, and self-direction. The factors that are part of recovery, he said, can come in various forms; “We have witnessed music, art, therapy, animals, gardening, relationships, or support networks aid in an individual’s path to recovery.”

A Day in the Life of Recovery Video

The primary purpose of the Exhibit is to help reduce the suffocating stigma that stops people who are suffering from mental illness and/or addiction from reaching out for help. Early financial support for the Exhibit’s creation came from individuals and businesses that coalesced around the need to reduce the “stigma” of asking for help, since this is such a critical factor prohibiting treatment. Michael Fox, Sr., the highly respected Silicon Valley Budweiser distributor who proudly shares his own recovery from alcohol addiction for the past 40 years, was the prime mover in launching the funding.  Joining Mike and Mary Ellen Fox were Chuck Toeniskoetter Family Foundation, Michael Van Every, Republic Family of Companies; James McManis, McManisFaulkner Law; Anthony Ho, LPMD Architects; the VMC Foundation, Valeta & TJ Rodgers, and the Jimi Simmons & Karen Rudolph Foundation.

The photos and narratives told in the Exhibit reflect the key aspects of recovery and frame the process in a positive, hopeful, and inspirational light to motivate others. The team at PRxDigital, led by Brenna Bolger, worked with Mineta, his staff, and some of the top creative talent in Silicon Valley, including former San Jose Mercury News reporter Joe Rodriguez, and PRxDigital’s Dan Garza, formerly of NBCTV, to capture the sentiment expressed in the Day in the LIfe of Recovery Exhibit. The photos were taken by nationally recognized Associated Press photographers. The videos were shot and produced by PRxDigital’s Arnel Cayabyab. 

At the heart of this project is the photographic and video Exhibit of mental health champions -- men and women who experienced mental illness and are in recovery -- who are eloquent in telling their own stories of recovery. Although the premise is simple, there is considerable power in capturing and sharing the recovery of people who have experienced mental or substance use disorders in photographs and video to share across different platforms.

In addition to the exhibit, PRxDigital developed and executed a strategy to promote the exhibit that included video, social media, media relations, and an event. The exhibit has been shown in 14 venues, including Stanford-Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences and Palo Alto Medical Foundation - Mt. View, reaching thousands of people throughout the community. Currently, it’s on display at Venture Coffee Shop until the end of July. This summer, it will begin showing at Milpitas Library July 2 through the end of August.

A Day in the Life of Recovery Exhibit Opening

The Day in the Life of Recovery project demonstrates to the Silicon Valley community that recovery from mental illness and substance use disorder is possible, it is happening, and the results are having a positive impact. You can learn more about the project at

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