Brookhaven Retreat Celebrates Mental Health Month in May by Hanging an Inspirational Mural Painted by Alumnae

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Brookhaven Retreat, a unique residential treatment facility exclusively for women with mental health and/or substance abuse issues, celebrates Mental Health Month in May by hanging an inspirational mural painted by alumnae.

Brookhaven Retreat ® LLC, a unique residential treatment facility exclusively for women with mental health and/or substance abuse issues, celebrates Mental Health Month in May by hanging a mural of inspirational artwork painted by clients who have completed The Lily Program ®, a 90-day program for women offered exclusively at Brookhaven Retreat.

Mental Health Month was founded by Mental Health America (MHA) 67 years ago to raise awareness about mental health conditions and the importance of good mental health for all.

This year’s theme for Mental Health Month is “Life with a Mental Illness,” asking individuals to describe what life with a mental illness feels like for them in words, pictures and video, and to share them on social media posts by tagging the posts with #mentalillnessfeelslike (or submitting to MHA anonymously). Posts will be collected and displayed at

The website says, “Sharing is the key to breaking down negative attitudes and misperceptions surrounding mental illnesses, and to show others that they are not alone in their feelings and their symptoms.”

In the spirit of sharing, each guest at Brookhaven Retreat’s annual Alumnae Reunion contributed her own 12 x 12 canvas to frame the six-panel mural painted by alumnae Megan Abbot and Rebecca Hubbard. The mural now hangs in the “Bear Room” at Brookhaven Retreat in Seymour, TN, which also symbolizes the program level to inspire self-understanding, self-soothing, a new perspective, strength and discovery. The goal in creating the mural was for graduates of the program to encourage newcomers with their legacy.    

Messages relayed in the artwork were sentiments such as, “I survived,” “I did it, you can, too,” “Hope,” and “New You – You’re strong. Trust yourself.”

Pam, an alumnae who has attended each reunion since treatment, and contributed to the mural recalls, “Coming to the reunion for the first time five years ago, I was amazed by those who had been successful (in their recovery), and I wondered how they did that. But this is my fourth reunion and I’m doing OK too.”

Brookhaven Retreat’s founder Jacqueline Dawes, says, “Surrounding ourselves with inspirational artwork created by women who have already experienced the program gives hope to the women who are just starting out. Recovery is not a simple undertaking and sometimes new clients feel a bit uncertain about what they’re setting out to do. They may lack confidence in their ability to do what’s required of them. But to have such beautiful reminders that others have done it and succeeded, we believe, is worth commemorating. Getting well is hard, but staying well is harder. The goal is to never give up. Right from the beginning, one must accept that it’s an on-going process that takes creativity, an open heart, patience, and of course, mindfulness.”

About Brookhaven Retreat
Brookhaven Retreat is a women's treatment center nestled on a naturally beautiful 48-acre site secluded in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. It has helped hundreds of women across the United States overcome depression, trauma, anxiety, substance use and a range of other behavioral health challenges. Brookhaven’s Founder, Jacqueline Dawes, has predicated its gender-specific treatment on “healing emotional breakage” for women. In this way, she has established a sanctuary and a place where women can feel safe, secure and cared for by a staff of highly trained professionals.

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Lisa Breeden
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