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      Your Health Sept. 27, 2013 Walk for mental health

      Tomorrow, hundreds of people will gather in Railroad Park and walk to improve the lives of people affected by mental health.{}{}{} ABC 33/40'S Linda Mays spoke with Laura Wells from the National Alliance on Mental Illness to find out more about this fundraiser. {} Tell me about NAMI?NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Formed in 1979, it is the nation'slargest grassroots organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals andfamilies affected by mental illness. NAMI has a national organization and state andlocal affiliates in more than 1100 communities across the nation. Would you tell us more about mental illness?Mental illnesses are diagnosable medical conditions that interfere with a person'sthinking and feeling and disrupt daily functioning. Mental illnesses include but arenot limited to depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, panicdisorder, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder. Mental illness is not acharacter flaw, nor a sign of personal weakness. It is an illness - just like diabetes orheart disease. Mental illness is treatable through therapies and medication. Peoplewith mental illness will experience recovery through an individualized treatment plan.Ongoing treatment works! Medication compliance is a lifetime commitment. What does NAMI do?NAMI strives to offer hope, reform, and health through support, education, andadvocacy. NAMI insists that mental illness become a high national priority. Mentalillness affects 1 of 4 families. NAMI offers support and education in an array of peereducation programs, initiatives and services for individuals, families, health careproviders and the general public. NAMI's programs draw upon professional expertiseand upon lived experiences. Committed to empowerment, NAMI's advocates providea voice to facilitate research, to end discrimination, to reduce barriers, and to promotetimely, effective mental health services and supports. How did you become involved in NAMI?I became involved after losing a very dear friend who suffered severe depression. Ibecame disheartened by the misinformation surrounding mental illness that stillcirculates in our modern times. If we could begin talking more openly about mentalillness, we would truly see that we all are touched by mental illness somewhere in oursupport systems of families and friends. And, maybe we wouldn't be so fearful, andjudgments and stigma would disappear. We have allowed the stigma to stand for toolong. Stigma erodes the confidence that mental illness is real and treatable andperpetuates a hopelessness that is unwarranted. Tell me more about the walk NAMI is hosting.Our walk will kick off National Mental Health Awareness Week. The walk isSaturday, September 28. The 1.5 mile walk is held at Railroad Park, 1600 1st AvenueSouth 35233. Registration begins at 9:00 a.m. and the walk will commence at 10:00a.m. Look for the NAMI banner. You may pre-register at is our biggest fundraiser and all monies raised stay here in Birmingham to helpconsumers. We look forward to the Birmingham community lending its support! How can we find out more about Birmingham NAMI?Please, visit the website at