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Mental Illness Awareness Week

By Staff | Oct 11, 2012

Dear Editor:

October 7 through 13 is National Mental Illness Awareness week. During this time, there is an opportunity to learn about serious mental illnesses such as major depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

Mental illnesses are no-fault, biologically based brain disorders which cause disturbances in thinking, feeling and/or relating. Persons living with these disorders can receive medical treatment and a wide range of supportive services from mental health care providers and caring communities to improve their well-being and recovery. The majority of individuals living with mental illness can successfully be treated. Addressing stigma and misinformation helps fight against the social isolation resulting from mental illness. As we lessen the barriers to access treatment, we will encourage individuals to take care of their mental health long before it adversely affects their ability to function in their home, their work and in communities.

One in four Americans will experience a serious mental disorder in his or her lifetime, including major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and severe anxiety disorders. One-third of homeless people live with mental illness. Ninety percent of persons who die by suicide have had a diagnosable serious mental illness. There are more people with serious mental illnesses in jails and prisons than in state mental institutions. If a person struggles with a mental illness while having a substance abuse problem and/or serious medical needs, more treatment services are taking a holistic approach when working with these complications. When severe federal and state budget cuts loom and threaten mental health services across the country, we see people who do not receive treatment end up in hospitals, shelters, in jail, or dead.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) works to advocate for and support the needs of persons with mental illness and their families.

Our local affiliate, NAMI of NW IA will host its annual Public Forum on Monday, Oct. 15, at 7 p.m. in the Cedar Conference Room of the Spencer Hospital to share more about what NAMI does and can do for individuals and families. Our NAMI Iowa Executive Director, Nancy Hale, will present information about some of these resources, i.e. Peer to Peer, Family to Family, NAMI Basics, and Our Own Voice that offers assistance.

We invite you to come and learn more. If you have questions or want more information about the Public Forum, please contact Kim at 712-262-9438, at namiofnwia@ gmail.com or on Facebook at National Alliance on Mental Illness of NW Ia. We hope to see you there!


(signed) Kim Wilson, NAMI of NW Ia.