Monday , December 16 2019
Home / Family / Advocacy, education, support keys to effective treatment of mental illness

Advocacy, education, support keys to effective treatment of mental illness

A number of local resources exist for individuals and families attempting to cope with mental illness in all its forms. 

Local chapters of the National Alliance of Mental Illness serving Logan and Champaign counties are committed to providing caring, comforting support for patients and loved ones alike who are navigating mental illness, and all the related challenges that come with a largely misunderstood, often invisible condition. 

NAMI is a place where where families can go and feel empathy and understanding about stigmatized disorders of the brain, emphasizes Pete Floyd, president of the local NAMI/LC chapter.

Several local classes and support groups are ongoing in Bellefontaine and Urbana, including a family-to-family education program — a free, 12-week course for family members of persons with mental illness

Family-to-family courses are once per week for a total of 12 sessions, and is a program designed to improve coping and problem-solving abilities for the people closest to a person grappling with mental illness, according to information circulated by NAMI. 

Likewise, family-to-family support groups meet on fourth Thursday of each month. 

Group participants are empowered and feel less isolated through NAMI educational programming and support, advocates say. 

A “NAMI Basics, family support group” is a program for families with children grappling with mental illness

Weekly support groups for individuals with depressed mood and anxiety are conducted each Wednesday from 10 to 11:30 a.m., and 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., respectively, at Recovery Zones in Logan and Champaign counties, 440 St. Paris St., Bellefontaine; and 827 Scioto St., Urbana.

Through active engagement in NAMI classes and support groups, participants quickly realize they are not dysfunctional, but rather families facing serious health issues that require patience, understanding and self-care, most importantly, Floyd said. 

NAMI stresses the need for advocacy for individuals with mental health as a means for assuring appropriate services and treatments; expanded research that can ultimately lead to a cure for major brain disorders; and eliminating discrimination and negative stigmas often associated with illnesses of the brain. 

Established in 1979, NAMI is organized as a self-help organization dedicated to providing support, education and advocacy to anyone affected by persistent biologically-based brain disorders, according to administrative materials. 

With proper treatment, upwards of 90 percent of individuals experience a significant reduction in symptoms and improved quality of life, NAMI representatives report. 

Mental health advocacy, education and support can be the difference between someone following through with thoughts of suicide, or deciding to seek help, statistics indicate. 

About nine out of every 10 people that commit suicide have some underlying mental illness, NAMI advocates relate. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, but it is preventable. 

One-in-five adults in the U.S. lives with some form of a mental health condition, and approximately one out of every 25 adults copes with a serious mental illness

Mental health patients will typically begin to experience symptoms in their teens or early 20s. About half of all lifetime mental health conditions start by age 14, and some three-quarters of those diagnosed with a mental illness begin to experience symptoms by the time they’re 24. 

NAMI programming is available to mental health patients and their families at any age. 

The NAMI basics family support group is geared towards children and families with mental health concerns.

Similarly, weekly educational and programming and support groups offer regular reinforcement against debilitating symptoms of mental illness

For more information on the NAMI basics family support group contact, Angela Schoepflin, children’s program administrator, (614) 224-2700. 

To request materials and to join a family-to-family education program, contact Bill Heitman, (937) 631-9598. 

For more information on family-to-family support groups, contact Floyd, (9337) 750-1702.