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2022 Healthcare Hero: Ryan L. Cook

Winner Category: Advocacy/Policy Employer: The Hope Corner • Title: Founder & Director Return to honoree page
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Ryan Cook, founder of The Hope Corner, is a leading voice in mental health. Founded in 2017, The Hope Corner consists of volunteers whose mission is to discuss the importance of mental health.

He’s responsible for education, professional resources, peer support, group discussion, volunteer recruitment and all business-related operations.

What have been your significant contributions to your organization in the past year?

Tapping into peer support can be hugely beneficial in mental health care. As we address the national mental health crisis, we would be remiss not to invest in peers as part of the solution. Thus, I conduct person-to-person/group discussions, mindfulness techniques and reaffirm there is a community of support dedicated to helping navigate one’s mental health.

When we give our time to another, we give them hope. We are that light that shines at the darkest of times. It’s our responsibility to make the world better not for us, but for others.

Tell us about a challenge in your job that you were able to overcome.

There has always been a stigma associated with mental illness. As one who has battled the illness for more than half my life, I’m trying to encourage others to look past the words crazy or weak and try to understand our illness does not define who we are.

How has COVID-19 changed your job?

Often the term, “volunteering” is assumed to be a physical activity. As a result of COVID-19 and its impact on the world, help is needed everywhere. In doing so, we have embraced technology and sought out newer tools (remote volunteer, apps, websites and video conferencing) to reach our communities.

Personal side:

City of residence: Waterbury

Favorite way to relax: Hiking

Hobbies: Photography, the arts, sports, volunteering, U.S. history, world affairs

Favorite Movie: “Superman” (1978)

Currently reading: “A Common Struggle,” by Patrick J. Kennedy

Favorite cause: Mental health and human rights

Fun Fact:

Direct descendant of William Lewis, a founder of Hartford, CT

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