I wanna know: local mental health services - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

I wanna know: local mental health services

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(Source: NAMI) (Source: NAMI)

Unlike cancer or heart disease, there is a stigma attached to mental illness which may make it harder for those who suffer from it to seek help.

Fortunately, the Southwest Louisiana Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is here to help, and for some members, it's a personal matter.

"We had a family member who went through a crisis, and in the middle of that crisis, the mental health system totally failed us as family members," said Lauryn Martin. "We didn't have a doctor to talk to. We didn't' have a facility that gave us information. It was literally like our family member went through a crisis and was out on the street and good luck."

Martin, who is now an instructor for NAMI's Family to Family class, says that NAMI helps provide guidance in such situations, including support groups for those with mental illness and their family members.

"NAMI gives you good foundational information about what's going on. It might be services that are available. It might be medications and how they affect your family. It might be just permission for you to take care of yourself in the midst of a family crisis."

Britney Mouton has children with mental illness and is also on the NAMI board.

"It's something that's really passionate to me to advocate and to be a voice for everyone that does have a mental illness," Mouton said.

Mouton said that NAMI helped her get services for her children, and they can help others too.

"They can point them in the right direction if they need housing, cash assistance, for any kind of situation that they're going through or if they need to be pointed in the direction of a doctor or even a hospital that will help them," Mouton said.

Jessica Weaver, 27, says she has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and borderline personality disorder. She suggests that others who are suffering see a doctor, like she did.

"How quick are your mood swings? Do you feel anxious doing something, or do you feel like the walls are closing in? Different things like that, just list all your symptoms you're having, and they can pinpoint if it really is something serious or is it something that will just go away in a couple of months," said Weaver.

NAMI Director Anastasia Armstrong says that their organization offers hope.

"People with mental illness, as well as their families, they lose that drive, because whenever the journey of recovery starts, it's very stressful, and people want to give up. And it's very scary, so there is hope, and that's our message. That's the message of NAMI. We want people to know that recovery is possible."

NAMI's goal is to help people pass from illness to recovery and to support them every step of the way.

NAMI will host a walk on Saturday, April 26 at 8 a.m. at the Lake Charles Civic Center. For more information on the walk, click HERE.

For more information on NAMI SWLA, visit their web site HERE.

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