Mental Illness Support Group, friends and family need support too
Facing mental illness is rarely an easy task- for both the patient and for friends and family members. The patient receives mental health treatment, but friends and family members often don’t know where to turn for the support they need to, in turn, support their loved one.
One place friends and family members can seek encouragement is through the monthly NAMI Family Support Group meetings at Murray-Calloway County Hospital. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is a mental health organization devoted to improving the lives of individuals and family members affected by mental illness such as major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and borderline personality disorder.
At each support group meeting, a sharing and support time lets attendees be heard in a safe, confidential and welcoming environment. Event organizers also bring in guest speakers who present on a wide range of mental illness-related topics from general information to legislative updates. Ruth Ann Taylor and Brenda Benson co-founded the Murray support group. The two now serve as facilitators for the group, which has been in existence for a little more than one year.
“The group has been well-received in the community and we have anywhere from 12 to 15 people each meeting,” Taylor said. “Mental illness affects one in four families, so a support group like this is definitely needed.”
In addition to offering support, Taylor said she tries to focus on removing the stigma often associated with mental illness. She said there are many who do not see it as a treatable disease and have a hard time coming to terms with any mental illness.
The NAMI Family Support Group meets on the third Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in the Educational Services Building at MCCH. The building is located on the corner of South Eighth and Elm streets. For more information, call (270) 748-6923 or (270) 748-6133.