September 19, 2023
Region Ten Staff Profile: Paige DiPirro
Name and Position at Region Ten: Paige DiPirro, Prevention Specialist
Where are you from? I’m originally from South Florida, but I went to college in East Tennessee, then transferred to UVA and never left!
What drew you to the mental health field? I have always had an interest in the academic side of mental health, but my personal experiences really drew me to the field. I grew up in a family that struggled with substance use disorder and have been in recovery myself for the last seven years. I saw first hand what a lack of resources and education can do to a community, and that really catalyzed me to incorporate mental health work into my career path.
What are some of the highlights in your professional career? I’ve been lucky enough to have so many professional opportunities to connect with people and hear their stories! While in recovery, I was able to work with individuals and families struggling with substance use disorder and received many chances to share my experiences and help support others for which I am so grateful. I also got the opportunity to work on a task force addressing the increasing rates of Neonatal abstinence syndrome in Appalachia, and was able to help facilitate conversations between professionals and community members to find initiatives, interventions, and programs that were community-driven to address the issue. I remain inspired by the work those folks are doing, and was honored to be able to support them!
What do you enjoy about your work at Region Ten? I really love the prevention side of mental health, especially being able to have such a community-facing position where I get to continue hearing and learning from the community about their stories and their needs. I enjoy training people and discussing how their unique experiences with mental health have shaped their drive to help others. I think there’s something really exciting about working to help empower people with the skills and knowledge to act when they are concerned that someone they know may be experiencing a mental health challenge or crisis.
What does Suicide Prevention Month mean to you? Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, to me, is an opportunity to talk openly about an issue that affects so many people’s lives. On average, we lose 132 people a day to suicide. This is a staggering statistic! I grew up with a parent who struggled with suicidal ideation, and I know first hand how much shame and stigma exist around the issue. Awareness months like these give us the opportunity to shine a light on what can sometimes be a silent struggle, and start meaningful conversations in our community about how we can all come together to take care of each other through education and action. I encourage anyone who is struggling to reach out to 988 by call or text, and for anyone wanting to get involved with preventing suicide to come take a training with Region Ten!