A writer and activist I know through the Internet has given me his permission to post a short piece about what NAMI has helped him accomplish for his family.
NAMI LA Walk 2009
by Jim Randall
by Jim Randall
It's that time of year again, NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) is having its annual walk here in Los Angeles on October 3. It gives me an opportunity to tell you why this organization does terrific work and why they deserve your support.
In my teens, I doubt there were many families as affected with mental illness as mine. Both my older brother and sister had schizophrenia, the disorder that leads to hallucinations and delusions. Their illness was so disruptive that it made the rest of our lives seem almost more than we could stand. Through a tragic set of circumstances, we lost contact with both my brother and sister.
About 5 years ago, I became more interested in learning about mental illness to try to better deal with my past. I took the Family to Family class and learned about the various intricacies of mental illness, how to talk to someone suffering from a disorder, and how to accept them for who they were. I had thought I knew everything about mental illness, but the class taught me how little I truly knew.
But only a year later that new found knowledge became my family's salvation. I ran into my brother on the street after not seeing him for almost 25 years. The knowledge I learned in the NAMI class taught me how to play a positive and active role in his life and to get him the care and treatment he deserved. He's now off the street and has a part time job at Step-Up. I can tell you that miracles happen.
Better yet, I can tell you miracles can happen twice. I didn't pursue a career possibility outside the state because I thought my sister might some day turn up at my door step. After not seeing her for several years, that day finally came. Again, through the knowledge I gained from NAMI I was able to help her off the street and get her decent care.
So that is why every year I ask for your support. If you want to donate money, please click on this link.
If you want to be part of my team and help raise money by asking your friends and coworkers for donations, you can find out how at this link.