We are not defined by a diagnosis—we are so much more
founder and Executive Director of RISE
Monica Gullotta, B. S., M.S., founder and Executive Director of RISE (Restore, Integrity, Standards, and Ethics) is an educator, author, lecturer, and mental health survivor. In 1991, she founded and facilitated the Upstate Group for Panic, Anxiety and Depression, where she provided educational group meetings and activities for 16 years.
In 2008, Monica received the Volunteer of the Year Award, presented by the Mental Health Association of Onondaga County, and was honored for “innovative work, that gives people suffering from panic, anxiety and depression the support and knowledge needed to help themselves.” This award was given each year to an individual who displayed exceptional commitment and dedication to those contending with mental illness.
In 2009, she founded the Ray of Hope Wellness Center, where she provided one-on-one mentoring sessions to educate individuals contending with anxiety and depression. Her work primarily focused on helping individuals understand the origin of their anxiety and depression, and implementing techniques to improve their overall functionality. She provided an array of coping strategies and techniques to mitigate symptoms while emphasizing the development of strategies for reframing the way anxiety and depression were viewed.
Ms. Gullotta has attended Syracuse University and Capella University and has a master’s degree specializing in counseling. She has written a number of educational workshops, including: Rethinking Anxiety & Depression: Anxiety the Ally, Depression a Discovery Device, Moving Beyond Limitations, Letting Go of the Past, Overcoming A Victim Mentality, and Fear Blasting. She has both lectured and spoken on a wide range of topics at a number of venues, such as: Cayuga Community College, Baldwinsville Public Library, Fayetteville Public Library, Oneida Public Library, Nami-Promise Incorporated in Syracuse and Oneida, St. Joseph’s Mental Health Service Continuing Day Treatment Program, Jim Marshall Farms Foundation, Inc., Jamesville Correctional Facility, The Mental Health Association of Onondaga County, and Ophelia’s Place. Monica has authored the book, Therapy Land, a memoir that chronicles her life. She is presently working on her second book.
In 2016, after 16 years of therapy having received four different diagnoses herself, and after working with individuals for over twenty years who were contending with various mental health issues, Ms. Gullotta became disillusioned with the mental health system. She had witnessed individuals and families who were being adversely impacted by a health system that medicalized mental health and pharmaceutilized care. The current system, she believes, has caused a multitude of additional problems for the people it was meant to help.
Monica also realized the diagnoses she had received were detrimental, having caused her to create a pseudo identity and thwarting her potential. She too had been mislead by inaccurate research and data, like "biochemical imbalances in the brain" later discovering there are actually no biological, genetic, chemical, or other tests of any kind to determine the presence of mental illness.
In 2018, RISE was born. RISE is a grassroots movement committed to helping individuals and families who have been adversely impacted by a medicalized mental health system and pharmaceutilized care. Through education, advocacy, empowerment, and community outreach we will initiate change and restore our mental health system.