Keep Oregon Well is a public advocacy campaign designed to reduce stigma surrounding mental and behavioral health, build a trauma-informed community, and give people the opportunity to learn more about mental health and stand with those struggling with theirs.

This ongoing volunteer spotlight blog series features some of the many caring, talented, passionate people it takes to spread the word about Keep Oregon Well throughout Oregon!

Keep Oregon Well Volunteer Spotlight: Nancy Pagaduan

Why does mental health matter to you?

I suffered clinical depression for years untreated. I was always looking for a way to change things, to change the way I felt. I just plodded through life while attending a lot of classes and workshops looking for a solution. In one of those classes at Kaiser I learned about the ACE study. It was so eye opening for me to learn about family trauma and its impact on me, on everyone. Mental illness has literally affected my whole life and my relationships with others. Through learning about the ACE study and how adverse childhood experienced impacted not only me but my siblings I was better able to understand our relationship dynamics. I so appreciate Kaiser doing this study and how much they realize the importance of mental health and its long term effects on health.

What initially made you want to volunteer with Keep Oregon Well or Trillium?

I used to give Natalie a ride to Metro Axillary meetings. (Metro Axillary has been a long supporter of Trillium, from even before it was Trillium) Her passion for Trillium and supporting the garden at Parry Center Campus inspired me to want to get involved as well. I also have often been a part of people/group transitions, and it seemed very natural to be a part of Metro’s transition in their involvement with Trillium.
I also had a brother who was born 12 yrs. after me who experienced some health challenges. I found that when I volunteered at Trillium, I experienced the same draw towards these kids as I felt with my brother. I wanted to support and encourage them in any way I could.

Tell me about your favorite volunteer experience?

I regularly volunteer to face paint for the kids. Once a client was looking at my book of face painting ideas and she wanted to try painting on my arm, so I let her. I wore what she painted for 3 days. As people saw it and commented it became a wonderful way to open conversation about Trillium and what they do.

Keep Oregon Well is centered around wellness and self-care. Tell us about some of the ways you take care of yourself.

I love nature watching, really noticing and absorbing it. This is something I have loved and done since I was in girl scouts. I also find making music and writing to be therapeutic. Recently I have gotten a weighted blanket and sit with it and meditate, this has proven to be a great way to reduce anxiety and depression.

Do you have a favorite quote you would be willing to share? 

” I am shocked by the ignorance and wastefulness with which persons who should know better throw away the thing they do not like.
They throw away experiences, people, marriages, situations, all sorts of things because they do not like them.
If you throw away a thing, it is gone. Where you had something, you have nothing. Your hands are empty, they have nothing to work on. Whereas, almost all those things which get thrown away are capable of being worked over by a little magic, into just the opposite of what they were .. But most human beings never remember at all that in almost every bad situation there is the possibility of a transformation by which the undesirable may be changed into the desirable.” Katherine Butler Hathaway

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