My life has been touched by mental illness in many ways. Many family members and friends have been diagnosed with a variety of mental illnesses or mood disorders. Some of them suffer terribly with their illness, while others are less impacted. But, there is no doubt, that any type of mental illness or mood disorder affects day to day life for millions of people, and their loved ones.
Mental illness has a great deal of stigma associated with it. This frustrates me because unlike addictions to alcohol, drugs, cigarettes or food, mental illness is not something someone chooses. Having another drink is always a choice, but waking up every day with mental illness is not a choice. The National Alliance on Mental Illness is a group that helps increase knowldege and decrease stigma associated with mental illness.
From their website:
NAMI stays focused on educating America about mental illness. NAMI is the foundation for hundreds of NAMI State Organizations, NAMI Affiliates and volunteer leaders who work in local communities across the country to raise awareness and provide essential and free education, advocacy and support group programs for people living with mental illness and their loved ones. NAMI creates change and works tirelessly to advocate for an American health care system that ensures access to treatment to those in need.
NAMI focuses on support, education, research and advocacy to help individuals and families affected by mental illness. Learn more about awareness and support, NAMI's education programs and our advocacy efforts.
You can help NAMI with their great work by becoming a member, donating funds, contacting your legislators or participating in NAMI Walks. Nami Walks are available in 44 states. Click the link to see when/where the next Nami Walk is in your area. Oregonians: Mark your calendar for May 20th, 2012 for the next NAMI Walk 5k at the Eastbank Esplanade in Downtown Portland!