While attending Occidental, Serena developed serious physical and mental health symptoms and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder type I and Crohn’s disease. She has spent the past 25 years on a quest to find answers to how she could lead a healthy and meaningful life with these conditions. Based on what she has learned, Serena has been able to achieve a level of wellness that makes it possible for her to pursue her dreams and goals and to live a healthy and happy life.
Serena works as a Peer Support Specialist and Mental Health Clinician at an outpatient mental health clinic where she does individual and group counseling. In May 2017, Serena obtained a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree from California State University San Marcos, and is currently accruing hours toward her license to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Serena’s career goals are to contribute her experience and knowledge about recovery to the field of mental health, to reduce stigma around mental illness, and to change mental health policies on a national and global level in order to create more person-centered and recovery-oriented mental health services.
Serena is passionate about sharing her story and what she has learned during the course of her recovery journey in order to bring hope, knowledge, and inspiration to others. She has spoken for several different organizations, including International Bipolar Foundation, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Tri-City Medical Center, and Alternative Health Tools. She is a certified group facilitator for the Copeland Center’s Mental Health Recovery and WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) class, SAMHSA’s Whole Health Action Management (WHAM) group, Recovery International, and Mindfulness Meditation.