Support for families experiencing mental illness

To the Editor:

As a year-round resident and a mother of a mentally ill son, I feel it is my duty to spread the awareness of National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

While living a seemingly normal life, my son’s hopes and dreams were suddenly stolen once he started his battle with mental illness 10 years ago. Despite medication after medication and endless trips in and out of hospitals, my son and the rest of my family were left hopeless and in the dark. My family and I were watching my son suffer, and we were doing it alone. At least we thought we were.

Two years ago I learned about NAMI. NAMI’s purpose is to educate, provide support, and advocacy for all who are affect by mental illness and their families. For those of you who have been directly or indirectly affected in any way by mental illness, I want to let you know that there is hope here on Martha’s Vineyard. NAMI Martha’s Vineyard offers a Family-to-Family Education Program to help families care for a loved one with mental illness. The program, which is taught by trained volunteers, covers topics designed to spread their personal knowledge and experiences gained dealing with mental illness. The program covers everything ranging from basic information and medications, to recovery and rehabilitation. To register or to find out more information please email emailinfo@namicapecod.org or call the NAMI Cape Cod Office at 508-778-4277.

Though my son still suffers from mental illness, NAMI has given me and my family the knowledge and support we had searched for all those years. We are much stronger today and encourage anyone who is affected in any manner by mental illness to take advantage of this extremely helpful and valuable organization.

My family is no longer in the dark or alone. My son may have mental illness, but mental illness does not have my son.

Lucy Robinson

Chilmark