“We’ve invited stakeholders, law enforcement, government, people who have mental illnesses, [their] family members and mental health providers to come and learn about mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety — the list goes on,” chapter president Jim Moore said. “... We are involved statewide with a program called Crisis Intervention Team, where law enforcement officers get trained on mental illness and how to de-escalate those situations and that’s one of the things we want to be able to do is see if we can make a bigger dent into the Bartow County law enforcement community.”
Moore said the closing of hospitals and mental health facilities across Georgia has created a negative effect on those suffering from mental illness as well as family members and the community as a whole.
“Since we live in Rome, when the Northwest Georgia Regional Hospital closed, it just shifted the burden from the hospital to the jail,” Moore said.
A local branch of the national organization, Rome NAMI has been in existence for nearly 20 years.
“Our organization does everything at the local level. We’re a grassroots organization which means we really are made out of people who have mental illnesses and family members,” Moore said. “All of the classes and support groups that we do are not run by a professional counselor or anything like that, we come at it from a different perspective.
“At the local level we advocate for services for people with mental illnesses ..., we educate by offering free educational classes and courses ranging from six weeks in duration up to 12 weeks, we offer support groups — for example, the Rome affiliate has two support groups that meet each Monday night. One group is for people with a mental illness and the other group is for family members and caregivers.”
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website, www.cdc.gov, “The economic burden of mental illness in the United States is substantial—about $300 billion in 2002. Mental illness is an important public health problem in itself—about 25% of U.S. adults have a mental illness—but also because it is associated with chronic medical diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity.”
Moore is requesting those who plan on attending the event to RSVP before Tuesday, 706-232-4607.