TMI Project created a list of local, state, and national resources to help you navigate this challenging time during the Covid-19 pandemic. Have other resources that we forgot? Comment below and let everyone know.







  • NY State Office of Mental Health 24/7 Hotline: 800-273-8255




Mental Health

Veteran’s Support

  • Veteran’s Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255


General Healthcare


Food Banks & Hunger Relief

Resources for Artists


Mental illness does not discriminate: My TMI Project transformation

by Allie Quinn (she/her)

In the Fall of 2015, one of my therapists at the Mental Health Association in Ulster County (MHA) suggested I sign up for a TMI Project true storytelling workshop. Even though my interest was piqued, I couldn’t fathom telling my story to strangers. Some of my family and friends didn’t even know the extent of what I had gone through.

Mental illness does not discriminate.

I had vaguely learned about mental illness in psychology classes, but I never imagined that at age 21, days after my junior year of college ended, I would develop a sudden and severe mental illness. In a matter of days, I went from writing 20-page papers to feeling too overwhelmed to read or write; from working 3 part-time jobs to being too paranoid to leave the house without my parents. Within a few weeks, my extreme fight-or-flight responses made driving too dangerous. Over the next several months, I was hospitalized five times, in three different facilities, spending nearly three months total in the hospital. By December, I had gained 30 pounds, withdrew from college, and had accumulated more misdiagnoses and medication changes than I could count. Most of all, I had lost a sense of who I was. I knew I needed to re-evaluate my goals, but I couldn’t find the motivation or hope.

Over the next year and a half, I attended all of my appointments, practiced coping skills, and found stability on the correct combination of medications. I even got my psychiatric service dog, Joey, who helped me gain back my independence. Still, with all of the tools I had gained and the progress I had made, I still felt that a piece of myself was missing. I signed up for a TMI Project true storytelling workshop not knowing if I would have the courage to show up on the first day.

I walked into the MHA conference room and sat toward the end of the table, not wanting to draw attention to the fact that I was terrified. As people began introducing themselves and reading their writing, my anxiety and self-consciousness worsened. I couldn’t help but ask myself what happened to the outgoing, stage-stealing, referee-challenging young woman I used to be. I completed my first session, and even though I didn’t make any groundbreaking revelations, it felt satisfying to hold a pen and feel my words flow onto the page.

As the weeks went on, I arrived feeling excited and increasingly more comfortable telling the “TMI” parts of my story. Each time I wrote, I felt a familiar fire inside that I so desperately wanted to return. On week 8, each group member received their finalized monologues from the TMI Project facilitators. When I first read the monologue out loud I experienced an overwhelming feeling of relief and self-empowerment. I stopped and said, “This is how I’ve always wanted to tell my story.” Taking ownership of my struggles and strength was exhilarating. When it came time to read my monologue in front of family, friends, my therapy team, and strangers, I felt strong and confident. I realized that sharing my story and my experience with mental illness could help others who are dealing with mental health issues.

In January of 2016, I started my own blog, and the TMI Project facilitators asked if I’d share my story at other venues. I wrote pieces about mental health and my own illness for The Mighty, MTV, and as a contributor in the book Project Semicolon: Your Story Isn’t Over. That October, I received the Next Generation Award from the YWCA Ulster County for writing and speaking about mental illness. The next month, I applied to SUNY Empire State College to study Community and Human Services. Returning to college had been a goal of mine, but I didn’t know if I would ever be ready. My participation in the TMI Project true storytelling workshop and the culminating live storytelling performance gave me the confidence I needed to reach my goals.

In December 2018, I earned my Bachelors degree and was prepared to use both my education and personal experiences to help my community. I applied to MHA, remembering their deep commitment to me and others battling mental illness. I was hired in February as a Wellness Resource Coordinator, a dream job for me.

The next TMI Project storytelling workshop session at MHA  was drawing near.

As the next TMI Project storytelling workshop at MHA session was drawing near, I asked to be the MHA staff member to sit with the new participants as they wrote their stories and found their strength. Walking into the room on the first day of the session induced a flood of emotions. I was excited for the new writers, nostalgic as I thought about the people who had been in my group, and so grateful for the personal and emotional growth that had occurred for me in that same room. Before participating in my TMI Project workshop, I resented my illness and mourned the young woman I “used to be.” After TMI Project, I embraced my struggles and took pride in my story. I realized I’m never going to be the person I was before mental illness and that’s for the better. I’m so much stronger now.

The TMI Project true storytelling workshop experience that got me hooked

– Hayley Downs, TMI Project Workshop Leader

“Remember, I’m not only the Hair Club President, but I’m also a client.”

– Sy Sperling, President, Hair Club for Men

My colleague Micah Blumenthal recently reminded me that TMI Project Workshop Leaders are like that beloved 1980’s cable ad about the Hair Club for Men: we are not just facilitators, we are also clients. We all have first-time true storytelling workshop experiences that got us hooked.

In October 2016 I was embracing my new home in Kingston, but the sadnesses of my life had piled up inside me, and it was getting harder to carry them around. With only a vague idea of “making more time for writing,” I signed up for the free 10-week TMI Project true storytelling workshop at The Mental Health Association in Ulster County (MHA).

It was a motley crew including TMI Project storytellers Morris Bassik, Beth Broun and Barbara Stemki. For weeks our workshop leaders Eva Tenuto and Sari Botton led us in timed writing exercises designed to help us bypass our “inner editors.”  We read them out loud to each other, first tentatively and then boldly. There were stories about schizophrenia, multiple sclerosis, familial rejection, and other heartbreaks. I remember laughing a lot. Collectively we were a group who had earned the right to find humor in our scars. And so we did.

When I began to unearth my own stories — of struggling with drugs, my relationship with my mother and my husband’s battle with cancer — they seemed to transmogrify from traumatic experiences that made me feel shame and sadness to open source content, the property of the universe and no longer mine to bear alone. Once tragic tales were like former toxic roommates, no longer hostile occupiers of my personal space. And lo and behold tragedy + time = comedy! I felt lighter. It was the beginning of a subtle and steady shift in my life.

In the workshops I have since facilitated I have realized I’m not alone in this transformation. Here are four things to expect when you take a TMI Project true storytelling workshop at MHA:


My co-workshop leader Dara Lurie and I are now midway through teaching our fourth workshop at MHA. It’s an important turning point for participants. Themes emerge like photographs in darkroom fluid. Participants begin to see the story they want to tell. By the end, it’s like we’ve been to sleepaway camp together.  

At the start of the workshops, many people come in carrying their stories like the “ponderous chain” that Charles Dickens character Jacob Marley. Granted, Jacob Marley was fictional and a ghost and we are real and alive, but we are often weighed down by invisible chains wrought from the traumas of our lives: abuse, illness, addiction, and death. But to submit to the process is to court the possibility of the psychic unburdening of at least one story that you’ve locked away because it felt like “too much information.”


In 2016 I wasn’t focused on the issue TMI Project and MHA are addressing – destigmatizing mental illness through storytelling. I just wanted and needed to unload the million jumbled stories festering inside me; I definitely had my own ponderous chain. But when I settled in and looked around I realized that I was surrounded by a dazzling mix of people who are just like me.

At the time of my first workshop, I didn’t “identify” as a person with mental illness, which is kind of funny because my entire adolescent and adult life have been defined by therapy, medication, suicidal ideation, and one hospitalization.I have since come to appreciate my propensities and even embrace them as a kind of low wattage superpower.


I remember reading an interview with Mia Farrow in which she said she doesn’t believe anybody should ever be bored. I thought, “Oh my god, what the hell are you talking about, Mia Farrow?”

I am bored a lot – at the gym, at work, grocery shopping, walking MishiMish, my special needs chihuahua — and I don’t need Mia Farrow judging me for that.

But the two hours a week I spend around the big conference table under those unforgiving fluorescent lights at MHA are always a respite. Not for a moment am I even thinking about checking my phone. I am ALL IN. It’s that way for everybody. As others read our bodies are still, like monuments to active listening. We are rooting for each other as we tug and pull our stories from down deep. And together we turn all that raw material into something profound. We’re not bored because the stories are so damn good.


There’s a reason that TMI Project true storytelling performances always culminate in an enthusiastic standing ovation. In the cafeteria of MHA with the tables pushed aside at two in the afternoon on a Thursday, the audience – and you – will laugh, cry, and experience more gratifying, cathartic, soul cleansing, rush of human connectedness and this-is-what-we’re-here-for-edness than at any hit Broadway show in the front orchestra seats.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s better than Hamilton. Did I mention that it’s free?

Vicarious Resilience to hit the film fest circuit!

Woodstock Film Festival & Atlantic City CineFest Official Selection 2018

We are proud to announce that TMI Project’s documentary short film Vicarious Resilience, produced in partnership with the Mental Health Association in Ulster County, is an official selection of the 2018 Woodstock Film Festival and the Atlantic City CineFest!

Vicarious Resilience follows three Hudson Valley residents over the course of a 10-week TMI Project storytelling workshop presented at The Mental Health Association in Ulster County (MHA). In this workshop, the participants face mental illness, childhood neglect and addiction head-on; and, ultimately, share deeply personal stories about love, loss and triumph.

The screening will be followed by a Q & A.
We hope to see you there!

Date, time and other details about the Atlantic City CineFest to come! 

Vicarious Resilience

Suicide prevention is personal to me

My heart goes out to Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain and all people struggling and sometimes losing their fight with depression, the invisible disease.

Before I recovered from active alcoholism and was properly treated for clinical depression, I spent years struggling with suicidal ideation. It started when I was 11 and relentlessly played in the background of my mind until my early 30s, sometimes at a quiet hum, other times screaming for attention. The pain was unbearable. The desire for relief outweighed any thoughts of the future. I’m grateful I had support from family and friends as I struggled to find the right combination of treatments to finally get relief from my depression. I know I am lucky to be alive. My personal background fuels my dedication to creating effective suicide prevention programs.

We know suicide is on the rise in every state nationwide. Depression and addiction are not the only contributing factors. Living in the face of hatred and oppression and other life circumstance can play a part. Regardless of what’s inspiring our thoughts, the message is clear: it remains taboo to talk about suicide. But, this issue is reaching epidemic proportions and silence can be deadly. We need to talk openly about surviving thoughts of suicide so others who may still be struggling know they aren’t alone, and if they hold on, they can find relief.

Research shows that celebrity suicides can inspire “copycats” or suicide contagion. At TMI Project, we feel it’s our responsibility to generate positive contagion through true storytelling. We know our personal stories have the power to eradicate stigma, take people out of isolation and inspire hope in others. In the wake of all the sad news last week, we are expanding our search for stories from LGBTQ people who have a personal story to tell about suicide. TMI Project and The Trevor Project are teaming up to bring a group, all expenses paid, to NYC in November for a memoir writing and storytelling workshop, which will culminate in a public presentation aimed at spreading the power of positive contagion.

If you have a story of survival and courage, join us. Inspire the next generation of young people to live their lives, no matter what the circumstances.


If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please call one of the numbers below:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
The Trevor Project Lifeline: 866-488-7386
Mental Health Association in Ulster County: 845-339-9090

In gratitude,
Eva Tenuto
Co-founder & Executive Director, TMI Project

Working Together to Save Lives

The Story of TMI Project’s Partnership with Elise Gold and The Maya Gold Foundation

The story of how TMI Project came to work with Elise Gold was hard for me to write. Elise and I shared the dance floor in a local African dance class a few times and had some friends in common, but we didn’t get to know each other until she co-founded The Maya Gold Foundation after tragically losing her 15-year-old daughter Maya to suicide on October 2nd, 2015. I was deeply touched when I read about the foundation after it launched. I learned about her and her husband Mathew’s deep commitment to speaking about their experience, regardless of how painful, in hopes that in sharing their story they would raise awareness about teen suicide prevention and potentially save others from their daughter’s fate.

In 2016, The Maya Gold Foundation offered TMI Project a grant for a new program called, Our Bodies Talk Back. Through this program, we work with high school and college students to help them tell the stories of their experiences with sexual abuse, harassment, and objectification, some of which Maya had been facing prior to her suicide. TMI Project and The Maya Gold Foundation aim to help young adults and teens who’ve dealt with such issues to move out of isolation. We help them process their trauma among others who can identify, and then share their stories with a peer group who can also benefit from knowing they’re not alone.

When I asked Elise if she would accept this award she humbly said, “But I’m not the only one doing this work, it’s everyone at The Maya Gold Foundation.” This sentiment perfectly represents Elise’s collaborative spirit and her thoughtfulness. TMI Project is honored to recognize Elise Gold as a Voices in Action Agent of Change. We offer her this award as a symbol of her courage to share what no one should have to and her unwavering dedication to all teens facing struggle today. As we honor Elise, we also honor Maya’s father Mathew, her brother Adin, everyone at The Maya Gold Foundation and, of course, Maya herself.  

TMI Project is honoring Elise, along with activist Tony Porter and three other Hudson Valley leaders and activists, on September 28th, 2017 at Voices in Action: Community Outreach Showcase & Fundraiser. We hope you will join us!

With gratitude,

Eva Tenuto