Misty is a certified bookkeeper and works as a service agent for a major airline. For many years, she worked in both mental health and substance use disorder hospital settings. She has volunteered for Archway Academy, a recovery high school in Houston. Specifically, she participated in recovery films and fundraising on behalf of Archway. Misty has been a public speaker for school outreach programs through the Houston Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. She has also been in long-term recovery from addiction since 1989. Misty lives with depression, anxiety and PTSD. In January 2015, Misty lost her oldest son with bipolar disorder to suicide and months after lost her step-son to a drug overdose. Many of her family members live with mental health disorders and dependency disorders. Misty is an advocate for removing stigma and creating change in both mental health and substance use fields by advocating and participating in events such as Facing Addiction.
Edward received his Bachelor’s in Criminology from the University of Houston – Clear Lake, and his Master’s in Psychology concentrated in Behavorial Neuroscience also from the University of Houston – Clear Lake. He has been in recovery from substance use disorder since 2009, and lives with generalized anxiety disorder. In 2014, he lost his sister to a prescription drug overdose. In the realm of mental health and substance use disorder, he has told his story to adolescents in efforts to dissuade them from continuing to abuse drugs. Part of his graduate curriculum included research studying the effects of an experimental compound on morphine and nicotine withdrawal syndrome. He currently works on a research team devoted to helping veterans take control of their diabetes. Edward has also been playing guitar since age 11 as his own form of artistic expression, and he hopes his playing will encourage others who struggle to express themselves musically.
Jackie Parker-Foster, CEM
Jackie has worked for a nonprofit organization in Houston, TX for over 20 years, with over six years of experience in managing the exhibits department. She has expertise in managing trade shows, event planning and other special events including: logistics, Request for Proposal (RFP) analysis, site selection, contract negotiations and budgets. Active in the trade show industry, Jackie recently received her Certification in Exhibition Management (CEM) from the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE). She is currently certified in Mental Health First Aid and advocates for individuals living with mental illness. Jackie is also skilled in pottery, painting and crafts.
Andrew is a student in the Graduate College of Social Work at the University of Houston. In academia, he focuses on crisis intervention theory and understanding suicide. Andrew earned his BS in Behavioral Sciences from the University of Houston in Clear Lake in 2013. He has diverse professional and personal experience in the mental health field. Specifically, he has volunteered on a suicide hotline in central Pennsylvania; worked with the chronically mentally ill and homeless in Philadelphia; and, volunteered for the National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder (NEA-BPD). Andrew lives with bipolar II disorder and is a suicide attempt survivor. He has been in recovery from addiction since 2010. Having lost an aunt, and many close friends to suicide, Andrew is dedicated to doing whatever is possible to let others know they are not alone, and to reducing the stigma associated with feeling suicidal. He is an accomplished photographer and plays a variety of instruments including the violin, viola and mandolin.
Justin Anderson, MA, LMSW
Justin received his Master’s in Social Work from the Graduate College of Social Work at the University of Houston. He has a Bachelors in Psychology from Texas A&M University and a MA in Counseling/Student Affairs from Texas State University. He currently works at psychiatric hospital in Houston. Previously, Justin has worked in HIV case management, adolescent counseling, and dual diagnosis inpatient treatment settings. He also worked as a trainer and community outreach liaison, focusing on fitness and wellness for people with chronic illness and injury. Justin has lived with ADHD since he was a child and has battled anxiety for most of his life. He has been in recovery since 2010.
Jose received his Bachelor’s in Psychology from the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas. He comes from a musically inclined family and has witnessed the positive impact that the arts can have on a person’s life. In the past, he has worked in mental health and substance use treatment hospitals. He has also worked with various local, national and international non-profit organizations directing fundraising and coordinating events. His most recent non-profit work has included translating medical terminology, diagnoses, and treatments for Spanish-speaking only patients at a local clinic that offers services to low-income, migrant and refugee populations. Professionally, his work regarding cognitive-behavioral therapy for anxiety has been published in a high-impact peer-reviewed journal. Currently, he works on a research team that teaches techniques and skills to help older adults reduce worry and stress in their daily lives. Having had experience with anxiety-related disorders, he hopes his career and nonprofit work will help increase access to mental and physical health services available to underserved minority populations.
Katy loves thinking about the way people think. That’s why after 10 years of working as a communications professional, she changed course by leaving a Director of Communications position and began pursing a Master’s in Social Work with a clinical concentration at the University of Houston. She is currently an intern at a psychiatric hospital and an advocate in the mental health field. Katy is working to give a platform to artists with mental illness and dismantling stigma along the way. When she’s not studying or working, Katy performs long-form improv and plays music around Houston. She lives with depression and anxiety and has been affected by addiction in her close relationships.
Jennifer is currently an Accounts Receivable Coordinator for a manufacturing company in Houston. Most of her 18-year career has been in the manufacturing industry with various jobs from administration, inside sales and finance. She has been in long term recovery from addiction since 2010 and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and seasonal affective disorder several years ago. Jennifer has a passion for listening to other peoples’ stories. She also uses her own experiences to help others not feel alone. Jennifer often talks about how the WiLP team and community events have been greatly therapeutic in her own life. WiLP has given a platform for many talented artists with mental illness. In turn, it has served as a catalyst for Jennifer’s involvement in mental health awareness.