NAMI Central Texas, the local affiliate of the National Alliance of Mental Illness, has announced the hiring of Dulce Gruwell to serve as the organization’s first Peer Program Coordinator.
“We are thrilled to welcome Dulce to the NAMI Central Texas family,” said Executive Director Karen Ranus. “Her professional experience paired with her personal mental health journey makes her an ideal choice for this role as she expands opportunities for peers like her to be a source of hope and help through our peer programming.”
Gruwell joins NAMI Central Texas following experience with two California nonprofits, Mental Health Systems, and NAMI San Diego, where she served as an employment specialist, focusing primarily on providing vocational services for individuals struggling with emotional and behavioral adjustment, substance use disorders, and homelessness.
As the Peer Program Coordinator, Gruwell is charged with expanding NAMI Central Texas’ selection of peer programming and increasing the number of peer volunteers within the organization. Gruwell said she experienced unwanted intrusive thoughts from a young age. In her new role, she hopes to use her personal story to provide individuals and families with encouragement, mental health information, and an understanding voice.
“I was scared. I was scared of myself. I was scared to tell anyone. I suffered in silence with depression and anxiety,” Gruwell said. “As an adult, the unwanted thoughts worsened. I was just surviving until I reached out for professional help. Therapy and medication helped me to cope and heal. I have gained happiness and feel my life is worthwhile and wonderful.”