Reflections on Katrina
Teri Brister, NAMI regional leadership consultant, shares her thoughts on living through Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.
When asked to write a Mississippian’s perspective on living through the Katrina disaster, I willingly said, “Sure, no problem.” When the time came to actually put the experience into words, however, it was much more difficult than expected. The reason for the difficulty likely has a lot to do with denial.
Living in a state that borders the Gulf Coast means that hurricanes are a fact of life. They come, they leave various degrees of damage, and they are gone. Not so with Katrina. It just won’t go away.
There are homes, schools, hospitals, mental health centers, physicians' offices, and multiple businesses that are gone – not damaged, but gone. The two mental health centers that cover the coastal counties both sustained massive damage; staff lost homes, cars, and belongings. Some lost family members. Yet the majority of these providers, as well as other health care practitioners and law enforcement officials, were out providing services within the first few days of the storm. Services were provided in shelters, on the street, in parking lots, and in the shells of buildings. Read more...
Abraham Lincoln lived with mental illness.
It ran in his family. He experienced two major depressive episodes. His friends put him on suicide watches. He also liked popcorn, oysters, and a strong cup of coffee.
Just in time for Mental Illness Awareness Week (October 2-8), Lincoln's Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness by Joshua Wolf Shenk is appearing in bookstores. It is more than a "stigmabusting" profile from which to draw inspiration. It is also a gripping, carefully documented narrative and scholarly social history that will alter how Americans view the formative years of our 16th president -- going well beyond tales of log cabins and splitting rails that children learn about in elementary school. Read more…
NAMI Advocates to Visit Capitol Hill in June
NAMI is calling on advocates to join us for our 2006 Annual Convention in Washington, D.C., next June. We are planning a major lobbying push to spur action on the recommendations contained in the final report of the President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health. Although the report – which echoed much of what NAMI has been saying for years – supplied concrete goals to transform our nation’s mental health care system and laid out specific strategies to achieve these goals, not enough has been accomplished in the two and a half years since its release. Join us next June 28 – July 2 in Washington, D.C., when NAMI unleashes thousands of grassroots activists to meet with Congressional representatives to demand action now! Read more...
Hispanic Heritage Month
Hispanic Heritage Month began on September 15, the one hundred and eight-fourth anniversary of independence for five Latin American countries - Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua.
According to the latest Census information, one in eight people in the United States is of Latino origin. By 2050, the number of Latinos living in the U.S. is predicted to increase to 97 million, constituting nearly one-fourth of the population.
Unfortunately, as many studies document, Latinos face formidable barriers to receiving much-needed mental health treatment, and often times receive inadequate care. The need for culturally competent treatment for the Latino community is not being appropriately addressed. As a result, thousands of Latinos with mental illness and their families have to struggle against an often biased and insensitive system. Read more...