Honoring A Pillar of Our Community: Patricia Maher-Brisen  - NAMI-NYC

Honoring A Pillar of Our Community: Patricia Maher-Brisen 

Last month, Patricia Maher-Brisen, a long-time NAMI-NYC volunteer, passed away. Patricia was a psychiatric nurse who understood the feeling of isolation personally. Because she knew isolation, “she loved people and making life easier for others.” That love radiated and impacted every single person she interacted with at NAMI-NYC. She was the kind of person who went out of her way to connect with people and make them feel less alone.

Patricia had a certain strength in her. She would individually facilitate our NAMI Connections support group, a 20-plus member group. Everyone in the group always felt heard and supported. Joseph (Joe) Tucker would co-facilitate NAMI Connections with Patricia. Patricia came to Joe’s first marathon and cheered for him with his family. Patricia was his mother’s name; he felt a maternal connection to Patricia. He shared, “she was saintly.” Patricia would retire from facilitating NAMI Connections in 2017. She chose Joe to lead the group in her stead. “Her faith in me continues to be a motivation in my volunteer work,” Joe shared. She passed the torch to him.     

Patricia was a light to anyone she interacted with. She was a considerate woman by nature and would connect people. Another long-time volunteer Miguel Andersson shared how Patricia learned he was burned in a fire and connected him to another person with a similar experience. She would listen to people, remember someone with a similar experience, and connect them together. Miguel said, “I am so grateful for Patricia, who introduced me to so many people, creating a chosen family that helped me battle social anxiety, low self-esteem, and the horrible feeling of being alone.”

Patricia gave NAMI-NYC community members many gifts. Because of her, we have our Saturday social groups. Because of her, we have our Hearing Voices support group every week. Because of her, so many in our community feel connected and less alone.  

Patricia, we owe so much to you, and thank you for being in our community. We’ll miss you.   

Patricia’s family will hold a funeral service open to the NAMI-NYC community. Here are the details:  

Tuesday, February 14, 2-4 PM   

Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel   

1076 Madison Avenue   

New York, NY 10028