Social stigmas revolving around mental illnesses are set to be broken by an awareness program newly developed by The National Alliance, dubbed ‘In Our Own Voice’! Those individuals who faced the mental illness and are living with it would address the concerns and let others know about the nitty gritties of the illness.

Real Life Stories To Make People Aware

Lately, on Wednesday, Brian Ramsay and Tom Raposa – two of the NAMI members shared their stories with all and sundry present at Oak Bluffs Library. The presentations were divided into chapters pertaining to the dark days, how the sufferer accepted, started with the treatments, and learnt how to cope with the disorder with dreams, aspirations and hope.

Mr. Raposa was a tipsy lurch! He confessed that incidences of drugging and drinking with friends, rigorously resulted in a breakdown, as he was diagnosed with Schizo-Affective Disorder. Excellent psychiatrist came up with a myriad of therapies; his friends and relatives were immensely supportive! This helps him get better every day in his tough journey against mental illness.

Mr. Ramsay too has been hospitalized many a times. He got stupendous support from family and NAMI to come up from a mute stage! His condition is augmenting; he attends group meetings, plays Tennis and goes to church. Weight gain is considered an unavoidable side effect of the varied medications to fight mental illnesses. Hence, he has joined the Weight Watchers club!

Coping With The Stigma Is Tough

The affected individuals shared that the disgruntling inference that one needs to cope with is that s/he is no more ‘normal’, but trying to be! There is loss of credibility, respect, value and which in turn lead to emotional swings. NAMI has come up with prudent family-to-family education to ensure that people stop looking down upon mentally ill individuals. More than medications, its care and love that would help them get better! A similar mental illness warrior, Mental Health America of Licking Country (MHA) is offering free of cost training to various local community members.

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