Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Help for mentally ill

I appreciate the article, "Idaho's suicide rate tops country" by Della Sentilles. Unfortunately these numbers are likely much higher as there is no way to count the "accidental" drug overdoses and car wrecks which might be suicides. Suicide is such a tragedy and often preventable with appropriate help. Help in Idaho is minimal.

According to the website of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (, Idaho ranked 49th in the nation in per capita mental health spending.

NAMI, which has affiliates all over the country, is dedicated to education, advocacy, and support of the mentally ill and their families.

Mental illness affects one in five families and de-stigmatizing mental illness is a priority. People need to know it is not a character flaw but a biologically based brain disorder and early intervention can greatly improve prognosis.

Our local group, NAMI Wood River Valley, received two generous grants from the St. Luke's WR Foundation and the J.A. + Kathryn Albertson Foundation Education Fund to purchase up to date educational materials from NAMI National. Our volunteers have recently distributed these to the teachers and staff of all schools in Blaine County. They are also available to the general public who visit our drop off sites such as churches, doctors' offices and health centers or call us. We are also compiling a reference library of books, CDs and DVDs to be placed in a public setting.

We provide free an annual Family to Family educational group, bi-monthly support groups, and are starting a Peer to Peer group soon.

In order to continue and to expand these services we are having a fund raiser in November and look forward to community support of our efforts. Our Helpline is 309-1987.

Sandy Hyde, NAMI WRV


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