Efforts in Kinder to improve mental health awareness

Everyone suffers stress. But a severe stressor can lead to a very destructive form of mental illness such as posttraumatic stress disorder.

This is Mental Illness Awareness week an event was held tonight in Kinder to help link people to mental health resources there:

When it comes to mental illness many people try to go it alone-- whether it's severe depression or anxiety or maybe even obsessive compulsive disorder. But in Allen Parish they're reaching out to people because getting help can mean much better quality of life.

At the community center in Kinder they spent the day making homemade dishes like red beans and rice. And setting up for what hopes to be a fun filled and educational night that will help link people to mental health resources.

Kandance Fontenot may be a cook today but at the 24 bed recovery unit at Allen Hospital she wears many hats. She enjoys helping those suffering mental illness and helping them achieve a better life. "A lot of the work I do is actually find placement for the people that come into our hospital that are homeless or they've had trouble finding places to live and when they come into our hospital they have nowhere to go. So, I have to find resources whether it's apartments or group homes or day programs."

Laura Frizzell is a nurse with a specialty in psychiatry who directs the unit in the rear of the hospital where they've also built a new prayer garden. She says getting help for mental illness can make life much better. "It really comes down to a quality of life for the person. There are issues that it's dangerous for themselves, dangers to others but actually, a person can just get a better quality of life and enjoy their life and be able to be a much more productive person on society."

Besides free food the community event sponsored by the hospital and NAMI includes a silent auction, door prizes, activities for children and more. But the opportunity to learn more about mental illness may be life changing for some. Said Frizzell, "We've learned so much more about therapy and we have psychiatrists that have really good skills, being able to identify, diagnosis and pick just the right medicine. So, today there really is hope and we see patients really get much better."

The was from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Kinder Community Center on North 8th Street there.

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