Oryx Cohen, M.P.A.
Chief Executive Officer
The most important part of what informs Oryx’s work is his lived experience with altered states of consciousness: being diagnosed, hospitalized, and ultimately finding a path to healing. Part of his story is documented in the award-winning documentary film Healing Voices, which he co-produced with Producer/Director P.J. Moynihan, and is now available on Amazon Prime.
Work experience he brings to NEC includes being the first Co-Director (along with Sera Davidow) of the Western Massachusetts Recovery Learning Community (now the Wildflower Alliance). While there he helped develop a system funded peer-run alternative to the mainstream system that has experienced amazing success (wildfloweralliance.org). He also co-founded the Freedom Center in 2001, the Pioneer Valley’s only independent peer-run support/activist organization. Freedom Center’s purpose was to empower and support people with psychiatric labels while challenging oppressive mental health policies and practices (www.freedom-center.org). He has served on several boards and committees internationally, nationally and regionally, including We R H.O.P.E. and the Kiva Centers. He volunteered for several years with MindFreedom International, directing its Oral History Project. This project involved collecting and documenting c/s/x stories of abuse, empowerment, and healing in the mental health system.
In a short time as the CEO of the National Empowerment Center, Oryx is excited to have brought on an amazing and diverse team, and is proud of the incredible work the organization does. Emotional CPR (eCPR) and NEC’s other initiatives are changing lives every day. An eCPR trainer himself, Oryx sees eCPR as a way of being, and has experienced first-hand how the practice has enriched his daily life with family, friends, and the community.
In any spare time, you will find Oryx on the basketball court, where he coaches mostly young women and girls year-round. Together, Oryx’s teams learn about the value of hard work, teamwork, and accountability, all in an atmosphere of family and fun.
Oryx lives with his wife and two teenagers in Massachusetts.