To the editor:
Most people believe that mental disorders are rare and "happen to someone else." In fact, mental disorders are common and widespread. An estimated 58 million Americans (or 1 in 4) suffer from some form of mental disorder in a given year.
Most families are not prepared to cope with learning their loved one has a mental illness. It can be physically, emotionally, and finically trying and can make us feel vulnerable to the opinions and judgments of others. Yes, stigma is still alive and well in America.
If you think you or someone you know may have a mental or emotional problem, it is important to remember that there is hope and help.
Here in the Keweenaw, we have an excellent support group- N.A.M.I. (National Alliance on Mental Illness). It is part of the national organization with affiliate groups in every state. Our group was started 25 years ago to meet the special needs of consumers and families coping with mental illness. Our goals are to provide an opportunity to share common experiences, to provide information on mental health resources, to provide current information via gust speakers and discussion and to establish friends and support networks that can provide help in the time of a crisis.
The Rice Memorial Clinic Foundation has been very supportive of our group and this spring, three of us from NAMI Keweenaw were able to travel to Detroit to attend the annual Michigan state conference and learn about new ideas and programs that we are now working on. Thanks to the Rice Foundation for their generosity.
Our next NAMI meeting will be 6 p.m. June 11 at the Institute, 900 W. Sharon Avenue in Houghton. Consumers, family members, and anyone who is interested in learning more about mental health illness is invited to attend.