An Introduction

My name is Phillip Williams-Cooke. I’m a Certified Peer Recovery Advocate-Provisional and a Certified Peer Specialist-Provisional (the latter is currently still pending) from Bronx NY. I have been working as a peer advocate in New York City since March 2009. I’m also a writer, a poet, a music enthusiast, and a collector of vintage TV Guide magazines and radio station jingles and airchecks. I earned two Associate of Art degrees (Berea College in 1995 and Columbus State Community College in 1998) and one Bachelor of Arts degree (Ohio State University in 2002). I have also earned a number of different certifications and training credits, all related to peer support and peer advocacy. I currently have writings published in The Fountain Times (weekly newspaper), The Fountain Pen (quarterly literary arts journal), City Voices (a digital newspaper on Facebook with topics related to mental health and substance use recovery), and Surviving Race (an organization using the Facebook platform to discuss and inform the general public on topics relating to race, ethnicity, culture, mental health, gender, and sexual orientation). Right now, I’m enrolled at New York University’s Clive Davis Institute for Recorded Music. In three months, I will earn a Certificate of Completion in the Music Industry Essentials Program. I hope to take this certificate and provide more support and assistance to fellow members and staff at Fountain House Manhattan’s Media and Tech Center, particularly in the areas of music production and audio editing.

I’m currently a member of a psychosocial clubhouse called Fountain House in the Media and Tech Center (as of May 18, 2020). I first joined Fountain House Manhattan on November 1, 2013 as a member of the Communication Unit. My current responsibilities and projects at Fountain House include reception, the FH Community Blog Formatting Team, the FH Website Redesign Team, and moderator of four Slack channel groups (Academy of Peer Services Support, Media and Tech Center’s Social Media Subworking Group, The Zoom Room, and The FH Community Talent Show). Earlier this month, I was invited to sit in on a meeting with members and staff from Toowoomba Clubhouse in Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia. I will a feature in an upcoming Toowoomba Clubhouse newsletter next month.

Over the past 11 years, my involvement and engagement within the peer support movement in both New York City and New York City has been great. I have been involved with organizations such as: New York State Office of Mental Health (the Regional Advisory Committee and the NYC Regional Representative to the State Multicultural Advisory Committee, both subdivisions of the Office of Consumer Affairs), New York City Peer Workforce Coalition, New York City Peer and Community Health Workforce Consortium, The Institute for the Development of Human Arts, Rainbow Heights Club, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI-NYS and NAMI-NYC Metro), New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services, Gay Men of African Descent, and Friends of Recovery-New York.

Why do I want to publish my own blog?

  • Through my stories and experiences, provide hope to those who feel they don’t have hope…to inspire those who wish to speak out but are afraid or perhaps face some type of barrier.
  • To be a voice in the world.
  • Because I’m a smart guy and I have stuff to say!
  • To be a resource of information (e. g. webinars, trainings, classes, job opportunities, conferences, rallies).
  • To educate and inform the general public and people in roles of leadership and authority in matters related to mental health and substance use recovery.
  • To promote and engage peers and others into self-advocacy and advocating for people within their communities and perhaps beyond.
  • To be a source of empathy, kindness, love, and compassion.

My blog will take on different writing formats, such as prose, poetry, position papers, and position statements. I’m fully aware that perhaps a lot that I will write about by cause some sort of disagreement among readers…even create some sort of fireworks or (worse) a firestorm. Some of what I will be writing is merely my opinion and I will state such as often as I can remember. I never expect my opinions to be taken as absolute truth. However, this new platform, I hope, will create a space for open dialogue and move from stagnating ourselves in problem/complaint-based ideology to being solution-based, with the idea that every single person on this planet A) has a voice to be heard, B) has at least one talent worthy to be cultivated and shared with the world, and C) “teach one, learn one” is reciprocal.

I hope that you all enjoy and learn something from my blog. Please feel free to provide feedback about anything that I write. Also feel free to offer suggestions about topics I can write about.

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