Your Health Sept. 27, 2013 Walk for mental health - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Your Health Sept. 27, 2013 Walk for mental health

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Birmingham, AL -

Tomorrow, hundreds of people will gather in Railroad Park and walk to improve the lives of people affected by mental health.
    ABC 33/40'S Linda Mays spoke with Laura Wells from the National Alliance on Mental Illness to find out more about this fundraiser.

  Tell me about NAMI?

NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Formed in 1979, it is the nation's
largest grassroots organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and
families affected by mental illness. NAMI has a national organization and state and
local affiliates in more than 1100 communities across the nation.

• Would you tell us more about mental illness?

Mental illnesses are diagnosable medical conditions that interfere with a person's
thinking and feeling and disrupt daily functioning. Mental illnesses include but are
not limited to depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic
disorder, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder. Mental illness is not a
character flaw, nor a sign of personal weakness. It is an illness - just like diabetes or
heart disease. Mental illness is treatable through therapies and medication. People
with mental illness will experience recovery through an individualized treatment plan.
Ongoing treatment works! Medication compliance is a lifetime commitment.

• What does NAMI do?

NAMI strives to offer hope, reform, and health through support, education, and
advocacy. NAMI insists that mental illness become a high national priority. Mental
illness affects 1 of 4 families. NAMI offers support and education in an array of peer
education programs, initiatives and services for individuals, families, health care
providers and the general public. NAMI's programs draw upon professional expertise
and upon lived experiences. Committed to empowerment, NAMI's advocates provide
a voice to facilitate research, to end discrimination, to reduce barriers, and to promote
timely, effective mental health services and supports.

• How did you become involved in NAMI?
I became involved after losing a very dear friend who suffered severe depression. I
became disheartened by the misinformation surrounding mental illness that still
circulates in our modern times. If we could begin talking more openly about mental
illness, we would truly see that we all are touched by mental illness somewhere in our
support systems of families and friends. And, maybe we wouldn't be so fearful, and
judgments and stigma would disappear. We have allowed the stigma to stand for too
long. Stigma erodes the confidence that mental illness is real and treatable and
perpetuates a hopelessness that is unwarranted.

• Tell me more about the walk NAMI is hosting.
Our walk will kick off National Mental Health Awareness Week. The walk is
Saturday, September 28. The 1.5 mile walk is held at Railroad Park, 1600 1st Avenue
South 35233. Registration begins at 9:00 a.m. and the walk will commence at 10:00
a.m. Look for the NAMI banner. You may pre-register at
This is our biggest fundraiser and all monies raised stay here in Birmingham to help
consumers. We look forward to the Birmingham community lending its support!
• How can we find out more about Birmingham NAMI?
Please, visit the website at

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