Perspective: Family Support and One-on-One Services
To put it succinctly…NAMI McHenry pulled me and my diagnosed adult son out of desperation!
I don’t even want to think about where, or in what state, we would be without their guidance, compassion, and most of all their advocacy. I believe their success comes from their multi-faceted approach. My son and I have been the beneficiaries of family support group, peer-to-peer support group, recovery support team, one-on-one support, crisis support, and advocacy with hospitals, doctors, and the court. Add education to this mix, all the while focused on the specific needs of the person with mental illness, it exemplifies “When ‘I’ becomes ‘We’, Illness becomes Wellness.”
In my circumstance, my son was dealing with 3 simultaneous stressors, any one of which would be difficult, and he self-medicated with alcohol and heavy marijuana use which put him into full-blown psychosis. Calling the crisis-line only brought the suggestion to call 911. Multiple police visits only resulted in being told that mental illness is not a crime and they couldn’t help me. During this time, he was hospitalized twice for a short time and then turned back out into the street. It was at this time that my daughter suggested NAMI McHenry, and I began attending the family support group.
Here’s how NAMI McHenry specifically helped me in the time of an extreme crisis. They helped to get him taken into the hospital for the third time, but this time, through their advocacy, they helped the attorney convince the courts to require that he receive medication that the doctor advised. And when the doctors wanted to discharge him too quickly again, NAMI advocated for him to stay an additional two weeks which made all the difference. He was moved into the area where they had group sessions all day long. He accepted that he had an illness (something he had previously refused to acknowledge) and came out being compliant with his medications.
And, very importantly, we both received on-going support through all the NAMI programs mentioned above. An example, when my son was overwhelmed with filling out forms for state aid, the NAMI team jumped onto a Zoom meeting with him and worked through it together step-by-step. My son’s big challenge, currently, is finding employment. NAMI is working with him through Workforce Network to try to help.
It’s through the continuing support and programs that NAMI provides that I am able to function because, as a mother, I’m only okay if my children are okay. Thank you, NAMI McHenry, for your compassion and generosity.