NAMI Fights Stigma of Mental Illness, Hosts Support Groups

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is a nonprofit support, education and advocacy organization made up of more than 200,000 members seeking services for people living with severe mental illnesses. NAMI of PA, Bucks County Chapter, in Warminster, and NAMI of PA, Montgomery County Chapter, in Lansdale, are focused on the local level, with the mission of improving the lives of area residents affected by mental illness.

NAMI’s programs educate individuals with mental illness about their condition and provide support to those individuals and their family members, who can then better understand their loved one’s illness, stressors and how to live in recovery. Their Stigma-Free campaign is part of a public awareness project to shift the social and systemic barriers to those living with mental illness and serious brain conditions. NAMI also advocates for training of teachers, law enforcement and first responders to recognize and respond appropriately and compassionately to citizens with mental illness.

The organization offers a range of ongoing support groups to Bucks and Montgomery County residents. The Connection Recovery Support Group is free and open to all adults with mental illness, regardless of diagnosis. Run by trained peers, the group offers a safe, confidential and empathetic setting to help attendees gain hope and develop relationships.

The Family Support Group, which is led by trained family members of individuals living with mental illness, is confidential, free and designed for adult loved ones (ages 18+) of individuals living with mental illness.

The NAMI-CAN group is a parent support group for parents of children and adolescents up to age 23 and is also led by trained family members. The full schedule can be found by visiting the website or calling the local offices.

Additionally, NAMI staffs a toll-free HelpLine 12 hours a day, seven days a week, with a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week message line.

Debbie Moritz, executive director of the Bucks County chapter since 2004, says, “People are surprised to find out that there are other people and families just like them in the community, who can relate to their experiences. I always say, just give it a try.”

Location: 600 Louis Dr., Ste. 106, Warminster, and 100 W. Main St., Ste. 204, Lansdale. For more information, call the HelpLine at 1-866-NAMI (6264). For more info on the Bucks County chapter, email Info@NAMIBucksPa.org or visit NAMIBucksPa.org. For more info on the Montgomery County chapter, call 215-361-7784, email Office@NAMIMontcoPa.org or visit NAMIMontcoPa.org/support. December 2017

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