NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Mental health advocates gathered in Nacogdoches Friday morning at a gathering called ‘Stamp Out Stigma’, as associated with mental illness.
Individuals shared their personal experiences with mental illness, and friends and family spoke in support to show that mental illness does not define a person.
The National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) knows this well; the grassroots mental health organization is dedicated to providing help and resources for millions of Americans diagnosed with mental illness.
Helen Stephenson wanted to find resources to help her son, who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. She attended a NAMI meeting at the closest location, which was in Tyler. However, she was so moved by the experience, she and others launched a NAMI satellite chapter in Nacogdoches.
“You can go to NAMI Nacogdoches’s Facebook page, called ‘NAMI Nacogdoches’, where you can get more information about participating,” said Stephenson. “We still need volunteers, but we’d also love for you to participate in [the] class.”
The class Stephenson referred to is a free NAMI class titled Family-to-Family, and it’s being offered on Aug. 19. She added that family education and support was vital to help a person with mental illness.
NAMI Nacogdoches will empower Constance Engelking, another mother of a son diagnosed with schizophrenia.
“I’m going to learn what I need to learn and I’m going to speak for them when they can’t speak for themselves," said Engelking. "And hopefully that journey is going to help me help others and as a community won’t we be a wonderful place.”
The Family-to-Family course is a 12-session education program that’s being offered free to family, partners, friends, and adults living with mental illness. If you’d like more information about the course, you can visit the NAMI Nacogdoches Facebook page.