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 on: Holli Parulski

h-and-lWhy does mental health matter to you?

Countless amounts of people, places, reasons and situations, have motivated how much mental health truly matters to me. I could speak for years about all of the “Whys,” but they equally represent and share a similar theme:

Mental health has always mattered significantly to me, because it impacts every living individual on this earth. I’ve been privileged to work in mental health for years, which has taught me the value of self-awareness. It has also shown me how incredibly imperative it is to reinvest back in the populations that need us most! I feel that mental health in our communities is by far the largest, most prevalent and prominent issue, and requires support. I’ve personally battled with maintaining a consistent, strong state of mental health during different portions of my life. Although my struggles have taught me many things, it’s while witnessing and supporting friends, family, coworkers and the public that I find the real reason of why mental health matters to me… it has to matter to ALL OF US.

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

I wanted to help give back and invest time and energy into a movement that I passionately believe in. A little research, a few questions, and some visits to the Keep Oregon Well website helped inspire me to start volunteering.

Tell me about your favorite volunteer experience?  

The World Day of Listening, 2016, was one that I will never forget. volunteer

Sitting in a chair on the corner of a busy street, in Downtown Portland; Keep Oregon Well, along with Sidewalk Talks, was offering “Free Listening” to anyone walking by. This man, is a hero. His story, his sentiment, his spirit, his soul…. I will never forget the conversation we shared. I was so thankful for the opportunity to whole-heartedly, listen to his story. The emotion he shared, was authentic and real.

His willingness to stop and talk to me, on the “World Day of Listening,” was what he needed at that exact moment. He said he really admired what we were doing, and felt good about talking to me. His genuine compassion for life, and willingness to share his deepest pain, was touching. He was inspiring, engaging, and together we found beauty in darkness. I fully appreciated connecting with him, and believe there is hope for all of us…. 💛

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

My primary self-care technique, is spending time with my 9 year old daughter, Lilli. Being around her is the purest and best form of self-care that exists.

I also love taking long, hot baths, writing poetry, submerging myself in mood appropriate music, playing the piano, dancing, watching sports, cooking, hiking, rock climbing, waterfall exploring and photography. All are great methods I use for self-care.

To close our chat today, do you have a favorite quote you would be willing to share?

From Maya Angelou’s poem, “Still, I rise.”

“You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I’ll rise.”

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