Woman shares her struggle with addiction, becomes advocate for others battling substance abuse

Remarkable Women

INDIANAPOLIS – Danielle Burkett is open about her past—she’s in recovery from addiction and mental health issues. She also spent time in the criminal justice system.

Now, as manager of peer support services at Mental Health America of Indiana, she’s helping others going through hard times in their lives.

“I’ve worked towards changing my life from what it was in active addiction to today,” she said.

“Ever since I got into early recovery, I started sharing my journey and what the recovery really looks like and the beauty of it.”

Brandon George, vice president of Mental Health America of Indiana, nominated Danielle for our Remarkable Women initiative.

“She’s kind of been able to take some of our biggest deficits and turn them into assets for our community for our people as a way to help other folks,” George said.

Danielle oversees all the organizations’ statewide initiatives connected to the Department of Correction.

“We help with the reentry process for those who have substance abuse disorder,” George said.

As Danielle helps others, she’s also continuing her education, raising her kids, and grappling, like everyone else, with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I actually am quite impressed by my ability to move through it as I did,” she said.

“A lot of these things individually would knock somebody down,” George said. “You look at the areas of life—employment, family, education—the growth that she’s experienced over the last couple of years, even, has really been remarkable. And (she’s) certainly somebody I really look up to.”

Danielle hopes that sharing her story will give others compassion for those struggling with addiction and substance abuse.

“I hope some part of my story conveys a message of change, and that it’s possible,” she said. “We don’t have to be held back by things that we’ve done in active addiction.”

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