In Our Own Voice at Crawfordsville Kiwanis

Aug 04

Kiwanis in Crawfordsville will be hosting NAMI’s In Our Own Voice during its meeting on Thursday, August 21.

NAMI In Our Own Voice (IOOV) unmasks mental illness, using speaker stories to illustrate the individual realities of living with mental illness. You gain a better understanding of what it is like to live with mental illness and stay in recovery. NAMI In Our Own Voice can change attitudes, preconceived notions and stereotypes regarding mental illness.

Crawfordsville Kiwanis meetings are open to the public. Lunch will be served at 11:30 am, followed by a brief business meeting at noon, which will be followed by the In Our Own Voice Presentation.

Date: Thursday, August 21
Time: Lunch @ 11:30 am, meeting starts at 12:00 noon
Place: Crawfordsville Public Library (Basement) 205 South Washington

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Meeting Recap

May 09

Five people attended last night’s meeting. To honor our group guideline #3 of absolute confidentiality, I’m not at liberty to disclose details of who shared what during our meeting, but the main question we discussed was how to talk about mental illness to loved ones who either think they know everything or are judgmental. This question actually falls into two categories:

  • Whether to disclose and to whom.
  • How to disclose.

I posted some time ago “Disclosure in the Workplace,” which generated some insightful discussion. Here, I’d like for people to share any insights and tips about disclosing to family members and other loved ones.

The following sections contain some suggestions gleaned from Bipolar Disorder For Dummies on disclosure in the workplace that are also relevant to talking about mental illness outside the workplace.

Choosing Whether to Disclose and to Whom

You may be able to gauge how receptive people will be by considering their past behaviors and comments they have made about mental illness. If they have demonstrated empathy for others who have had similar conditions, you may predict that they will treat your situation with care and understanding, as well. If they’ve done or said things that reveal a lack of understanding, they probably will not understand or have compassion for your situation.

If you hear someone describe a person with mental illness as a “nut job,” for instance, that’s not somebody you want to open up to. The person is obviously ignorant of mental health issues and needs some education, but not at your expense.

How to Talk About Mental Illness

Here are some suggestions on how to talk about mental illness if you choose to do so:

  • Play the role of teacher. Take a non-confrontational approach to presenting the facts about the illness.
  • Start by disclosing your condition to the people you trust most and those who seem more understanding and open minded.
  • Keep in mind that you control exactly how much you choose to disclose to each individual. You don’t have to tell everyone everything. Readiness to receive information varies depending on the individual.
  • If you’re the one who has the illness, describe the way you feel when you are experiencing symptoms. Nobody can argue or become defensive when you simply describe how the illness makes you feel.
  • Describe common symptoms you have. How is your behavior or the behavior of your loved one likely to change when you’re symptomatic? By describing symptoms, you accomplish two things. First, you let people know what to expect, so they are better prepared to handle any behavioral changes. Second, you enlist them in helping you spot early warning signs, which you may not notice when you’re feeling manic or depressed.
  • Share information about the treatment you’re seeking and what the goals of that treatment are. Many people with mental illness are “just like everyone else” when they receive effective treatment. Most people don’t know that.
  • Keep in mind that it may take some time for the people you tell to absorb the information you provide and even longer for them to accept it and change as a result.
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Volunteers for Mental Health in Montgomery County

May 08

Volunteers for Mental Health in Montgomery County (VMHMC) has a meeting tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, May 20 at 7:00 pm at the Crawfordsville Public Library. I’m not sure in which room the meeting will be. I’ll post more details as soon as I know.

Kitty will be presenting at the meeting to inform attendees about what NAMI has to offer in Crawfordsville. Cecie and I will be attending, as well. I’m interested in finding out more about VMHMC. If you’re available, please come to the meeting to show your support.

 

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Opening Doors to Recovery

Mar 17

At our previous meeting, a couple people mentioned that the state of Georgia provides a good model for how mental illness should be managed. I found the following video about the Opening Doors to Recovery program. This certainly looks like what we should be striving for.

If you can’t watch the video embedded on this page, view it on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2NJEL2WfCU.

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Mental Illness Awareness Week

Oct 08

In 1990, the U.S. Congress established the first full week of October as Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) in recognition of NAMI’s efforts to raise mental illness awareness. Since then, mental health advocates across the country have joined with others in their communities to sponsor activities, large or small, for public education about mental illness.

CvilleNAMI hasn’t planned anything this year, but our NAMI affiliate, NAMI-WCI, is hosting the NAMI Fall Classic 2 & 4 Mile Walk/run for Mental Illness Advocacy on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 2:00 pm, 800 Golfview Road, Lafayette, IN.

Next year, we should plan on doing something during Mental Illness Awareness Week. Maybe we can work on organizing a special event in the community to raise awareness — perhaps host NAMI In Our Own Voice and invite the community.

Let’s start thinking about and discussing ideas.

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Dangers of Untreated Mental Illness on 60 Minutes

Sep 30

60 Minutes has an interesting segment entitled “Untreated Mental Illness and Imminent Danger?” Except for some stigmatizing language, this is an excellent segment that sums up the serious consequences of replacing psychiatric treatment with incarceration. Watch the segment below (please bear with the commercials).

If you can’t view it on this page, try clicking the link above.

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