GALLIPOLIS — A new organization launched Tuesday to serve people and families with mental illness in Gallia, Jackson and Meigs counties.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Gallia, Jackson, Meigs Associate Board, which formed and began planning nearly a year ago, will soon be an affiliate of NAMI Ohio, according to board member Angela Stowers.
“The mission of NAMI is to improve the quality of life and ensure dignity and respect for persons with serious mental illness and offer support for their families and close friends,” Stowers told Ohio Valley Publishing.
Stowers said the state organization was created in 1982 as a grassroots organization to provide mutual support, education and advocacy for individuals and families who are affected by disorders. Stowers said NAMI Ohio has had an effect on public policy and legislation on care and resources for individuals with mental illness.
NAMI works with individuals and families to offer education, advocacy, support and leadership.
NAMI Gallia, Jackson, Meigs Associate Chairperson Erica Kegley said a couple of the goals for the local affiliate are to have support groups and offer education.
“We feel like through education, we can get ahead of mental illness and get rid of the stigma as well,” Kegley said. “If we’re not going to talk about it and educate ourselves, we’re never going to get rid of the stigma.”
Kegley said the local board is made up of several members who work in the mental health field or have mental illness in their family.
NAMI will have guest speakers for the next three meetings. In March, the topic will be depression and anxiety during the pandemic. For April, members will hear about law enforcement and mental health. In May, children and mental health will be the guest speaker’s topic. Meetings will be in the evening, beginning at 5:30.
The organization has a Facebook page, where meeting links were included for February, titled “NAMI Gallia, Jackson, Meigs.”
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Kayla (Hawthorne) Dunham is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, ext. 1992.