Letters to the Editor

The reality of mental illness in South King County | Letters

Mental Illness Awareness Week is Oct. 2-8. As a member of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) South King County Affiliate, I would like to ask Federal Way Mirror readers what comes to mind when you think of an individual experiencing mental illness.

What is your awareness of how they live out their lives? Of course, the media often portrays those with these disorders as dangerous potential or confirmed criminals. And so the media should in some cases. But my challenge to us all is to also reflect on the vast majority of individuals with mental illness who walk shoulder to shoulder with us day by day…and live out their lives as responsible and productive citizens.

Even I, as one who has studied mental illness for decades, was startled to discover a new statistic from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This research reveals that about one-half of all U.S. adults will develop a mental illness during their lifetime.

In light of this reality, it seems fitting for us all to look around ourselves and be acutely aware of mental illness, for we are all very vulnerable to experience mental illness close to home — in ourselves and in our families and in our circles of friends. It then behooves us to respond with the utmost of compassion and concern.

To assist us in awareness of mental illnesses, the NAMI South King County Affiliate works to meet the needs of patients who struggle with mental illness, as well as their families and friends, who live in the Federal Way community.

With our services offered nearby in Kent, NAMI South King County Affiliate welcomes all Federal Way residents to avail themselves of our free services such as support groups for patients, families and friends; a phone help line; monthly presentations by community experts; and a monthly newsletter.

In keeping with national NAMI goals, NAMI South King County Affiliate’s objectives include not only support and education, but also advocacy and research.

In essence, NAMI efforts are focused on educating America about mental illness, offering resources to those in need, and insisting that mental illness become a high national priority.

To learn more about NAMI and local support groups, contact (253) 854-6264 or email namiskc@qwestoffice.net. Also visit www.nami.org.

Sandra Klungness, NAMI South King County Affiliate Board Member


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