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Morton paving the way for NAMI in Athens

Athens Daily Review - 1/2/2020

Jan. 2--Ginger Morton recently graduated from the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and is wasting no time in getting the program accessible to Athens.

Morton started attending the 12-week class after seeing a loved one struggle with the stigma of mental illness. Being powerless to help was just not an option, so being a strong woman, she put heels to pavement and started educating herself on how to help this issue.

"Mental illness is an insidious illness that negatively affects not only the person diagnosed but the whole family," Morton said "There has much too often, been a stigma around mental illness. People don't understand or they are just not knowledgeable about this crisis."

She said she believes that just like other more physical health issues, mental health should be addressed as a medical issue, not as an embarrassment or even something that they have imagined.

People suffering from mental illness such as depression, hear:"Just get over it, all you want is attention" or "others have it worse than you."

While well meaning, phrases like this are dismissive and minimize the pain of the person struggling.

Many of these issues are the effects of a chemical imbalance in the brain that have to be addressed just like diabetes, hormone issues etc.

According to the NAMI website:

"NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.

What started as a small group of families gathered around a kitchen table in 1979 has blossomed into the nation's leading voice on mental health. Today, we are an association of more than 500 local affiliates who work in your community to raise awareness and provide support and education that was not previously available to those in need."

NAMI does this through advocacy, education, and their help-line. The company celebrates their 40th anniversary in 2019 and also communicates with the media to emphasize awareness.

For Morton NAMI means something more. Love, support, understanding, knowledge, advocacy, friendships and hope for a better tomorrow.

Families all across the world, regardless of financial status, ethnicity, gender or religious belief have struggled with this issue.

"These people want to get better and live good lives," Morton said. "My promise is that I will continue to work through NAMI to eliminate senseless stigma, support early detection, and educate the public about biological and treatable mental illness giving hope to families."

She is working to get the program implemented in churches, schools and universities. This will start providing education, information and support in the community at the ground floor. Parents of children with mental illness struggle with helplessness and do not want to give up on their child. Giving them the tools through these courses helps them know they are not alone and enables them to be more empowered through a course of action.

"Together we can make a difference," she said. "We want to use our voice to help educate and bring knowledge to our community. There are support groups and programs for everyone."

If you would like to find out more about NAMI, please view its website. https://www.nami.org/

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