INDIANAPOLIS – The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) held their state conference in Indianapolis earlier this month, where serious mental illness and associated substance abuse disorders were the main focus.
Dr. Douglas Noordsy was the keynote speaker, with a presentation about available treatments for people with psychotic and substance use disorders. Various learning sessions were available throughout the day, including wellness recovery plans, advocacy for the mental health of children, crisis intervention training and supportive relations.
There were also “Ask the Doctor” sessions, which covered schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), mood disorders and brain disorders in children. These sessions were conducted by faculty members from the Department of Psychiatry at the Indiana School of Medicine.
During the conference, the South Central Indiana NAMI chapter was honored for their work in through the year. Linda Ricke, president of the South Central Indiana NAMI chapter, said there are currently 40 members in the chapter, though only 18 are active members. Ricke said they meet on the first Tuesday of every month at First Christian Church in Columbus.
South Central NAMI has been meeting since 1985, doing what they can to help others navigate through the often-invisible minefield that is mental illness. They serve a five county area, offering their aid in Decatur, Bartholomew, Brown, Jackson, and Jennings counties.
The main services provided by the South Central Indiana NAMI chapter are providing mental support for families, educating the public about mental illnesses, advocating for the mentally ill and service to the community. At the recent state conference, the South Central Indiana chapter was honored at the NAMI Indiana Affiliate of the Year for 2013. The award was for the special projects the chapter completed that support the shared goals of the organization.
So far this year, in addition to their regular activities, the South Central Indiana chapter has attended three health fairs to distribute information about mental illness to anyone seeking information. Ricke said she and the other chapter members have been able to help a lot of people who didn’t know where to go or where to turn.