There's power in our experiences. On "I Live This," you'll hear why these experiences can drive change, foster connection, and - ultimately - transform the way we look at mental health.

Through a partnership between the Massachusetts Association for Mental Health (MAMH) and The Kiva Centers, "I Live This: Transforming Mental Health through Personal Connection" explores the way people draw on their living experience to support others, innovate, and advocate for change. In this series, you'll hear from those with living experience, learn about the different ways that individuals provide peer support in their work, and better understand the value of personal connection.

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Tune in each week during May is Mental Health Month for new episodes. We'll discuss the intersection of mental health and a variety of topics, like creative expression, peer-led models to support people with "too much stuff," culture, eating disorders, houselessness, the criminal legal system, the sexual and reproductive health of LGBTQ+ people, and more.

Find new episodes weekly online or on your favorite podcasting app.

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Episode 1: Cassie Cramer and Lee Shuer

Buried in Treasures: Understanding over-finding and keeping, plus how peers can help

Read more about clutter, stigma, expression, and self-disclosure here.

Listen to our episode with Lee here. You can also find the episode on your favorite podcast listening platform.

Guest Bios

Cassie Cramer

Cassie brings more than a decade of experience supporting at-risk older adults living in the community. She has worked in Elder Protective Services and currently is a clinician on one of the state’s first older adult behavioral health outreach teams (EMHOTS). She is a Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) and has a background in peer, aging and cross-disability advocacy. She is co-chair of the Elder Behavioral Health Collaborative and the MA Aging and Mental Health Coalition, where she advocates for critical statewide behavioral health, peer and wellness supports to help older adults live in the community or setting of their choice.

Lee Shuer

Lee Shuer is a Certified Peer Specialist and co-founding member of Mutual Support Consulting, LLC. He is an internationally recognized expert in hoarding disorder and peer support. Lee has been at the forefront of developing self-help groups for people like himself who live with HD. He co-authored the evidence-based Buried in Treasures Workshop Facilitator’s Guide, with Dr. Randy Frost, and published WRAP® for Reducing Clutter, with Dr. Mary Ellen Copeland. During the Covid lockdown he adapted the BIT Workshop for online use with Becca Belofsky. Media appearances have included CBS Sunday Morning, Scientific American, and The Chicago Tribune. Academic research partners have included Stanford University, Columbia University, Smith College, and UCSF. Since 2006, he’s delivered hundreds of keynotes, workshops, trainings and self-help groups across the US, Australia, and online. When Lee's not asking people to stop using the word hoarder, you'll find him building abstract Lego sculptures, trying to beat his Atari high scores, writing, playing violin, making art, and trying to unravel the mysteries of the universe and the mind from his home base in Western Massachusetts. Learn more about his work at


Buried in Treasures

An action-oriented self-help support group program that is highly structured and time-limited. The workshop consists of 16 sessions spread over 16 weeks.

The Copeland Center for Wellness and Recovery

Promotes mental health recovery through education, training, and research based on the Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP), a personalized wellness and recovery system born out of and rooted in the principle of self-determination.

MassHousing Hoarding Resources

Find links, organizations, and other resources in Massachusetts to help individuals address hoarding.

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Episode 2: Alison Sabean and Yvonne Castaneda

How a Latina social worker and author tackles stigma, mental health, and recovery

Read more about pushing back on perfectionist ideals surrounding therapy and our personal experiences here.

Listen to our episode with Yvonne here. You can also find the episode on your favorite podcast listening platform.

Guest Bios

Alison Sabean

Alison is a Master of Social Work student at Boston College, focusing on macro mental health. She is a passionate advocate for mental health awareness and recovery, and shares her own experiences to help others. Alison lives in Newton, MA with her emotional support cat, Iris.

Yvonne Castañeda

Yvonne Castañeda, MSW, LICSW, is the author of Pork Belly Tacos with a Side of Anxiety: My Journey Through Depression, Bulimia, and Addiction, a memoir for young adults, and a part-time faculty member at the Boston College School of Social Work where she teaches Basic Skills in Clinical Social Work and Social Welfare Policy. As a clinical social worker, she has worked primarily with the Latinx population in community health centers in Boston, with a focus on providing therapeutic support and treatment to adverse populations suffering from complex trauma.

Having worked for many years in the fitness and wellness industry, Castañeda approaches her work with an eye on the mind-body connection and the effects of trauma on both the physical body and the brain. She received her Masters of Social Work from Boston College in 2018 and was a proud member of the Latinx Leadership Initiative. She is also an Online Course Facilitator for the Certificado de Liderazgo Program, a Spanish-language leadership certificate program offered through the BC School of Theology and Ministry.


The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)

NEDA is the largest nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting individuals and families affected by eating disorders, and serves as a catalyst for prevention, cures and access to quality care.

The Multiservice Eating Disorders Association (MEDA)

MEDA is the foremost eating disorder nonprofit in New England (located in Newton, MA).

National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD)

ANAD is a nonprofit organization providing free, peer support services to anyone struggling with an eating disorder.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)

AFSP provides those affected by suicide a nationwide community empowered by research, education and advocacy to take action against this leading cause of death.

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Episode 3: Vesper Moore and George Halfkenny

One peer's journey from incarceration to restorative justice

Read more about the criminal legal system, race, houselessness, and more here.

Listen to our episode with George here. You can also find the episode on your favorite podcast listening platform.

Guest Bios

Vesper Moore

Vesper Moore (they/them/elle) is a community activist, survivor, trainer, and writer. They have been a part of the Kiva Centers for several years and have been instrumental in the Kiva Centers’ growth as an organization. They have brought the perspectives of survivors to national and international spaces. They have experience working as a consultant for both the United States government and the United Nations in shaping strategies around trauma, intersectionality, and disability rights. They gave an address on “Intersectionality as a Human Rights Issue” for the UN’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). They have been at the forefront of legislative reform to shift the societal paradigm around mental health.

Vesper concentrates on building social movements and public knowledge to facilitate and sustain systems change. They are a skilled certified trainer of Intentional Peer Support and the MA Certified Peer Specialist Training. They have supported the development of peer-run organizations in different parts of the world. They have been a lecturer for many universities and institutions across the United States. They are a very well-known leader in peer support and are known as a powerful advocate. Vesper is also a skilled chess player and enjoys the late 80s/early 90s goth fashion, music, and film.

George Halfkenny

George Halfkenny was first put in a jail cell when he was eight years old. He started using alcohol at 11 and by 14, was deep into a cocaine addiction. He spent the next 25 years cycling in and out of treatment centers, prisons and hospitals. It wasn’t until George coupled traditional treatment with mental health counseling that he started to get positive results.

Today, George is a trauma survivor, and proud to be a person in recovery. He is a part of the Kiva Centers Unhoused Peer Support Project. He also co-founded Thrive Communities (a non-profit that helps people returning from incarceration.)


THIRVE Communities

THRIVE's mission is to empower communities to welcome and support our neighbors transitioning from incarceration. It is designed to empower returning community members and more deeply engage local community members in experiences of reentry and accountability.

STEPRox Recovery Support Center

STEPRox provides a safe place for the recovery community to meet and engage in activities that promote community participation through peer leadership. Those involved make a direct contribution to the community by providing guidance and direction to the community through advocacy, social activities, educational groups, support meetings, and trainings.

Restorative Justice Exchange (RJE)

Formerly known as the "Centre for Justice and Reconciliation," RJE is a powerful entity that serves scholars, researchers and practitioners in the restorative justice space through its offerings and publications.

Center for Restorative Justice (CRJ) at Suffolk University

CRJ's mission is to act as a bridge between the academy, professionals, and communities through public education, training, technical assistance, research, evaluation, and scholarship. As a community-engaged center based in the University, the Center fosters restorative practices in building just and equitable schools and communities.

Elizabeth Boskey

Episode 4: Andy Lamberto-Wilson and Liz Boskey

A therapist and advocate's thoughts on gender, representation and being an ally

An advocate and therapist shares why seeing someone for who they are can be a powerful form of therapy. Read more here.

Listen to our episode with Liz here. You can also find the episode on your favorite podcast listening platform.

Guest Bios

Anderson Lamberto-Wilson

Anderston Lamberto-Wilson is a Master of Social Work student at Simmons University and Project Manager at Boston Children's Hospital. He is interested in working with the LGBTQ+ community through clinical work, education, and advocacy, pulling largely from his personal experience as a transgender man.

Liz Boskey

Liz Boskey is an AASECT Certified Sexuality Educator and Certified Health Education Specialist living outside Boston, MA. In addition to her work as a therapist, Liz served as the expert in sexually transmitted diseases, sex, and gender for VeryWellHealth for 15 years. She is also the co-founder and leader of the New England C.A.R.E. Consortium. The goal of the consortium is to improve Collaboration, Access, Research, and Education in the field of transgender health by taking advantage of the expertise available in New England.


New England Gender C.A.R.E Consortium

The consortium consists of providers from over one dozen healthcare facilities in New England who are dedicated to improving access to gender affirming care. Their mission is to improve and support the health and wellbeing of gender diverse individuals across New England by promoting provider collaboration, strengthening advocacy and policy, increasing training opportunities across the spectrum of care, standardizing care, and building and supporting sustainable and ethical research.


GLSEN is a national network of educators, students, and local GLSEN chapters who work to ensure that LGBTQ students are able to learn and grow in a school environment free from bullying and harassment. They believe that every student has a right to a safe, supportive, LGBTQ-inclusive K-12 education.

The Trevor Project

The Trevor Project is a national organization committed to ending suicide among LGBTQ youth people. Through five key programs - crisis services, peer support, research, public education, and advocacy - they aim to achieve this mission.

LGBTQ Movement Advancement Project (MAP)

LBGTQ MAP is an independent, nonprofit think tank. They work to create a thriving, inclusive, and equitable American where all people have a fair chance to pursue health and happiness, earning a living, take care of loved ones, be safe in their communities, and participate in civic life.

Human Rights Campaign (HRC)

By inspiring and engaging individuals and communities, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBTQ+ people and realize a work that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all. HRC envisions a world where all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people plus community members who use different language to describe identity are ensured equality and embraced as full members of society at home, work, and in every community.


PFLAG is the nation's largest organization dedicated to supporting, education, and advocating for LGBTQ+ people and those who love them.

TransCare Site

A searchable database of transgender care listings.

If you have questions or comments - or would like to share your experience - email us at or find us on social media.