While thrilled to read the prominent article, “Mental illness: A disease kept in shadows,” (Jan. 11, Page B1), I wondered if readers would nod and think, “Yes, but what can just one person do?” Here are some ideas:• Become informed by contacting your local NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness). Merced County’s nonprofit affiliate of volunteers is active in education, advocacy and support – and everything we provide is free.
• If you love someone with a mental illness, learn from folks who’ve been through it, how to understand, cope, and move past the trauma through the Family-to-Family program.
• If you have a mental illness, come to Peer-to-Peer and/or Connections, taught by survivors and thrivers, to learn how to manage your symptoms and get on with your life.
• If you have a club, church or professional setting and want to educate and inspire members of your group, let us come and present one of our programs.
Every one of us makes a difference, and NAMI gives us a forum for teaming up and making positive change happen together. If we move mental illness out of the “shadows” and talk about it, the stigma goes away and we can deal with it.
JAN MORITA, President
MARY HOFMANN, past president
NAMI of Merced County