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James Plastiras Director of Public Information New York State Office of Mental Health 518-474-6540 james.plastiras@omh.ny.gov

October 15, 2020

New York State Recognizes Capital Region Man for Role as a Young Adult Peer Specialist

Tele Rabii Honored for Using his Lived Experience with Mental Illness and Addiction to Support Youth

Albany, NY - New York State is honoring Tele Rabii, a 24-year-old Peer Specialist in the Capital Region, with the 2020 ‘What’s Great in our State’ Youth/Young Adult Award.

Tele uses his lived experience to help other young people in their recovery. With his 5 years in recovery from mental health issues and addiction, Tele uses his voice and experience to provide peer support. He has worked at local programs like the Hope House Adolescent Inpatient Program, the Living Room Crisis Diversion Program and the Ellis Hospital PROS program.

Tele is an active member of the Advisory Council for Youth Voices Matter- NY, a statewide youth recovery community organization, and also serves as a board member for New Choices Recovery Center. He presents at local schools to promote awareness of mental health struggles and the value of peer support. He has also worked with other Schenectady youth to establish a local Youth Voices Matter group.

“Tele Rabii shows us ‘What’s Great in Our State’ by being a shining example of how people in recovery with mental health and substance use disorders can be vital in the recovery of others,” said New York State Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan. “Tele is using his personal experience to help young adults navigate their own mental health struggles and serves as an example of what recovery can be with treatment and peer support. We thank him and all our honorees for their hard work and commitment to children’s mental health.”

Tele was presented with the award at the annual ‘What’s Great in our State 2020’ event on October 15th held virtually via WebEx. The celebration recognizes the individuals and programs that are successfully advancing the cause of children’s mental health in New York State.

“I feel very, very honored and grateful to be able to receive and accept this award. Working in the human services field allows us the unique opportunity to work with individuals on a deep level,” said Tele Rabii. “Working for agencies like Ellis PROS and New Choices Recovery Center and running Friends of Recovery-Schenectady, YVM-Schenectady and the CR-PPLC has given me the life-changing opportunity to assist individuals in making real and effective changes in their lives. The road to recovery is not an easy one and to be able to work with people to obtain and sustain their recovery (whatever it means to them), is a blessing and a gift that is indescribable.” 


What’s Great in Our State’

The ‘What’s Great in Our State’ event was first launched in 2010 and is typically held during Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week, a national movement that rasies awareness about the importance of children’s mental health. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was postponed and reorganized as a virtual celebration.

The event is sponsored by six New York State agencies and several children’s mental health advocacy organizations: The Office of Mental Health, the Council on Children and Families, the Department of Health, the State Education Department, the Office of Children and Family Services and the Office of Addiction Services and Supports, Early Care & Learning Council, Families Together in New York State, Inc., Mental Health Association in New York State, Inc., National Alliance on Mental Illness - New York State, New York State Network for Youth Success, Prevent Child Abuse New York, Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene, Inc., and the Suicide Prevention Center of New York.


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