Lisa Eley didn’t know she was depressed until one day when she reached for a bottle of pills on her dresser.

“I knew something was wrong when I contemplated swallowing the entire bottle,” Lisa said. “I drove myself to the emergency room immediately.”

For more than a year prior, she had endured harassment and bullying from a supervisor at work. The abuse left her feeling hopeless and defeated.

Lisa was evaluated at Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center’s Emergency Department and transferred to the hospital’s Montgomery Unit, an inpatient treatment unit for adults facing mental health challenges such as depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder. The treatment program helps individuals who are experiencing a mental health crisis due to increased stress or sudden life changes, such as the loss of a loved one, trauma, job loss or divorce.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, approximately 1 in 5 people have a diagnosable mental health disorder in a given year.

“I am grateful to the team at Shady Grove Medical Center for helping me get my life back on track during a very challenging time,” Lisa said. “I am also grateful to have the support of my friends and family on my journey to stay mentally healthy and help eliminate the stigma of mental illness.”

Lisa, who lives in Gaithersburg and has changed jobs, now shares her story to help others who are facing similar challenges. She wrote a book about her experience as a victim of workplace bullying and how she overcame depression as an African-American woman. She also participates in community events to spread the word about how to recognize mental illness and the importance of seeking treatment.

Lisa hopes that sharing her story will help save lives – one mind at a time.

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