Effort underway to start a local chapter for a mental illness advocacy group – THE RANT

A local woman is working to create a Lee County section of the National Alliance Against Mental Illness (NAMI), and looking for anyone interested in getting involved.

Micki Smith recently moved from Washington State to Sanford and didn’t notice any local chapter of the national organization that provides advocacy, education, support and more to individuals and families affected by the disease. mental illness.

“In 2014, I took a course in Washington because my kid was having significant issues and they encouraged me to train” to offer NAMI services, Smith said. “I became one of two state trainers in Washington and took a course called Provider Training, which is aimed at helping doctors with frontline diagnostic problems and helping people who come to hospitals to find resources for mental health support. “

Smith said that since no NAMI chapter currently exists in Lee County, she contacted the Wake County chapter for help getting started. To begin with, Lee will report to the Wake County Chapter. But the hope is that one day soon, a Lee County NAMI organization will be able to fend for itself.

“It takes a long time to start a local because you need two teachers and facilitators for each offering,” she said. “So Wake County is going to do it with us, and it will be a matter of co-Wake / Lee to establish it here. I think Sanford certainly has a sufficient population and needs it. “

Smith said she hopes to offer basic classes like classes for parents or caregivers of people up to 22 with mental illness issues. She also hopes to create an age-unrestricted family support group for situations like the spouse or child of a parent with mental health problems.

“NAMI Basics”, a free six-course virtual classroom, will be available from January to anyone interested. Interested parties should register in advance on www.nami-wake.org/nami-basics.

“I’ve met people here locally who have kids or grandchildren who are pretty involved with mental health issues,” Smith said. “And it’s a safe place to be able to talk about that sort of thing. People don’t judge you, and that’s what I’ve taken advantage of the most. These people are normal, they love their children and they still have it. these problems. “

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