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.
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.
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.
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.
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.