Taylor Blanco joined South Florida Wellness Network, Inc. as the Youth Outreach Coordinator and the coordinator of the Youth M.O.V.E. (Motivating Others Through Voices of Experience) Broward chapter. She works with at risk youth in the transition age of (14-29) that may or may not have any lived experience in the realms of Mental health, Substance Use, Child Welfare, or Juvenile Justice. She is extremely passionate about working with young people because she views them as the future advocates and professionals of our society.
Ms. Blanco, personally, has lived experience in mental health, substance use and having to manage a chronic illness. At age 11, the day after her birthday, she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. This marked a huge turning point in her life, as many of her mental health symptoms began to emerge around this time. The overload of having to take care of a disease at such a young age brought on multiple mental health diagnoses including Depression, Bi-polar Disorder, and a form of an eating disorder specific to Diabetics, referred to as ‘Diabulimia’.
Transitioning into her teen and young adult years, Ms. Blanco was referred to multiple therapists and psychiatrists and was prescribed various medications in hopes to alleviate some of what she was experiencing. When she felt as if none of this was working, she began using substances as a form of self-medicating. She lived this way until age 21, when she experienced a self-awakening that made her aware of how she had let labels, diagnoses, and disease take over her life. She made the personal decision to embark on the journey of recovery with the support of friends and family.
Today at 23 years old, she is happy to say that she enjoys life free of medications and much of her recovery journey relies heavily on holistic practices such as yoga, meditation, and essential oils. In her free time she also enjoys forms of creative expression such as taking photographs of nature and journaling.
Ms. Blanco strives to serve and provide education to others so that they may also live a fulfilling life regardless of their struggles. She believes that one’s dietary choices and lifestyle can hugely affect his or her mental health. She’s partaken in various trainings such as WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Planning), WHAM (Whole Health Action Management), eCPR (Emotional CPR) and MHFA (Mental Health First Aid). She plans to continue to raise awareness throughout Broward County on the importance of looking at whole health, and to hopefully inspire transformation within the system of care.