Free Course Helps Families With Mental Illness
KREX News Room
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. Mental illness impacts at least one in four adults in our country, but it's not always talked about.
Groups like NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, work to change that, giving people with mental illnesses help. They also address another piece of the puzzle, helping family members.
Just a few years ago some local families dealing with mental illness couldn't find support groups to talk about what they were going through. For many, NAMI's program has allowed them to better take care of their loved ones and themselves.
Unlike a broken arm or the flu, diagnosing mental illness is not always black and white.
"For years, I mean, I knew there was something wrong, but I couldn't put my finger on it," said Monty Rhodes, a Family-to-Family student.
Just two and a half years ago, Rhodes' son was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, already in his 30s.
"It was frightening, scary, a lot of 'what did I do wrong?'" she said.
Rhodes says she discovered NAMI's Family-to-Family program on accident and says it changed her life, "The biggest takeaway is empathy and understanding."
Facilitators of the group, like Jackie Spivey, know first-hand what it's like dealing with mental illness, "It's real-life, I go through it, I cry. You know, I have ups and downs just like them."
Spivey is a mother who also has a child struggling with mental illness
"And taking Family-to-Family you realize it's not anyone's fault. It is what it is," said Spivey.
Helping others is not only therapeutic for them but also her.
"Helped me so much to understand as a mom, that I was doing all I could," Spivey said.
"I feel empowered now, I feel like I have a mission to get out there and share this," said Rhodes.
Both mothers hope their stories inspire others, and changes the way our country views and deals with mental illness.