Stigma often means that people with mental illnesses are marginalized or forgotten. NAMI is responding to the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina to try to make sure that that does not happen to the estimated 500,000 people in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi who live with serious mental illnesses.
NAMI’s national network of affiliates and volunteers are working to coordinate and supplement assistance with state and local agencies in the Gulf region and evacuation communities.
A comprehensive Resource Guide is available on the NAMI Website and being updated frequently.
To support these efforts, donations can be made on-line to the NAMI Katrina Hurricane Relief Fund. Additionally, NAMI has set up an account with Wachovia Bank to receive donations under the NAMI Katrina Hurricane Relief Fund. You can donate at any Wachovia Bank branch to account number 2000024603407. People can locate the nearest Wachovia location by visiting their Web site at: http://www.wachovia.com/ Contributions to NAMI earmarked for the Hurricane Relief Fund also can be mailed to 2107 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 300, Arlington, VA 22201.
Funds raised will go directly to help consumers. Every contribution will help, whether it’s $1, $5, $25, $50 or more. What’s important is the NAMI spirit that binds us as a community.
This week, The Infinite Mind radio show is broadcasting “In the Wake of the Storm: A Special Report,” on more than 260 public radio stations nationwide. (The program can be downloaded for free as an MP3 or RealAudio at http://lcmedia.typepad.com/katrina/). Beginning September 14, the show will focus on “A Road to Recovery,” highlighting the additional stresses being placed on a mental healthcare system already subject to Medicaid budget cuts.
The broadcast offers NAMI state and affiliate leaders an opportunity to contact in advance the local public radio stations that broadcast the show to offer local consumers, family members and psychiatrists for local interviews or panel discussions to follow the national portion of the broadcast. These stations are already familiar with the show; contact their station managers or programming directors. Public stations which do not presently carry the program can be encouraged to do so—for free—by recording it from the public radio satellite or requesting a special CD.
For more information or questions about localizing the program, please call The Infinite Mind’s outreach coordinator, Anna Todd O'Neal at 877-765-6610 (toll free) or email her at Anna@LCMedia.com . Persons participating in local broadcasts who need background information on current issues should browse the Policy Section of the NAMI Web site or contact NAMI Media Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where does humor end and stigma begin? Fox TV’s Head Cases which premieres on September 14 at 9:00 PM ET (check local listings) may set a standard. The first episode is borderline.
In the show, two consumer lawyers are paired for peer support. One lives with anxiety disorder; the other with “explosive disorder” (An actual DSM-IV diagnosis). Offensive, stigmatizing language hurled at them is authentic. But according to Fox, the show’s central plot line will show the characters "gaining the upper hand on those who attempt to stigmatize them [and] triumphing over adversity.”
NAMI will monitor the show and raise concerns with the network. The second and third episodes may be as important as the first in making an overall judgment.
Stella March, National Coordinator
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