by NAMI Ohio | Feb 22, 2021 | Blog
It was my senior year of high school. I was an avid runner, and I was hoping to qualify for the state cross country championship. I spent the entire summer training. Our first cross country meet was a small local meet. I cannot tell you what my time or my place was. All I can tell you is that I could not catch my breath after crossing the finish line. My legs became weaker and weaker. I laid in the grass and hoped to recover. My body shook and I cried. I was afraid. I did not know what was wrong. I could not regain control of myself. My coach expressed disappointment. He blamed dehydration and explained that I needed to set a better example as the team captain. My dad took me to the emergency room. The doctor came in to speak with me and asked why I was crying. I was not sure. She explained that this was an anxiety attack, and it would be best if I took some time to relax and maybe get involved with therapy. That memory is a memory of many firsts. It was my first anxiety attack, my first IV, and my first experience of my mental health diagnosis being misunderstood and misjudged. Since then, I have devoted the last 10 years to therapy. I originally had a diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder before a more thorough assessment revealed I have posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I struggle with suicidal thoughts, nightmares, anxiety attacks, and depressive episodes. I have tried several interventions looking for ways to work through the complex trauma.
Today this is a combination of therapy, medication, and so much self-care. Recovery is a journey, and this journey has led me to self-discovery and a deeper understanding of myself. As I learn more about myself, I learn more about what helps. I am a social worker, and my career has taught me that I cannot be successful unless I take care of myself first. This is no easy task. My instinct is always to help other first, but this is a necessary lesson. I found NAMI through my professional life. I am now the Director of Programs at NAMI Hancock County. In my work at NAMI, I have found a mental health family and a passion for speaking up for those of us that live with such misunderstood diagnoses. I used to think that I was not “bad enough” for a support group or additional services. I have learned that there is no such thing as “bad enough” and we can all benefit from connection to those who understand. I am now proud to be a person that understands and proud to say I have not let my diagnosis win. I am still standing, stronger than I was yesterday. My diagnosis does not define me. I get to define me, and I am still an avid runner, a wonderful friend, and a compassionate human.
Bailey Kerr is the Director of Programs at NAMI Hancock County and is currently working as a graduate intern with NAMI Ohio. She is studying social work at Case Western Reserve University and will complete her coursework later this year.
by NAMI Ohio | Feb 8, 2021 | News & Updates
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 8, 2021
Contact: Luke Russell, 614-224-2700
The National Alliance on Mental Illness for Ohio commends Governor DeWine’s 2022/2023 State Budget for the focus on those with serious behavioral health needs.
The dollars allocated for cross-system collaboration and investments in housing will improve the lives of those with serious mental illness.
Columbus, Ohio – NAMI Ohio applauds Governor DeWine and his team for their continued commitment to the most vulnerable in Ohio, those with serious mental illness. Those with serious mental illness continue to be over represented in our jails, homeless shelters and on the streets of Ohio. These special folks continue to have a life expectancy rate 8 ½ years less than the general population. The ongoing need for basic supports such as food, housing, crisis intervention and care coordination must be addressed at the local, state and federal levels.
This budget is a huge step forward in moving us to a person-centered approach by investing in care coordination and housing with an enhanced focus on adults with serious mental illness. “Governor DeWine promised to address the fragmented system of care and is delivering by addressing the core elements of those most in need of basic supports within the mental health delivery system,” said Terry Russell, Executive Director of NAMI Ohio. “The $11 million investment to strengthen cross-system collaboration begins to address issues such as continued readmissions into inpatient hospitals, the revolving cycle of repeated incarcerations, and lack of transition as those with serious mental illness seek to live full lives in the community. Furthermore, NAMI looks forward to working with the General Assembly to maintain this safety net funding for those with serious mental illness.”
Also, NAMI Ohio applauds the Governor and the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services for their efforts to improve group homes for those with serious mental illness. “The $12 million allocation to improve the quality in these homes could not come at a better time with limited housing options and a freeze on admissions due to COVID-19. “During this COVID Pandemic, the Governor and Department have committed a sizable amount of time, energy and resources to ensure the 700+ group homes had testing, PPEs and vaccinations.” Said Russell. “This budget allocation is just a continuation of Governor DeWine and Director Lori Criss’ commitment to the individuals with serious mental illness that call these residential settings home.”
Russell stated, “Early on in Governor DeWine’s term, NAMI Ohio proposed that a priority be made to serve those with severe and persistent mental illness through a focus on community-based supports beyond what the current system is providing. This budget proposal is just another step and example of how the Governor and his Administration have listened to the cries of individuals and their families we represent.”
The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Ohio (NAMI Ohio) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to helping individuals and families affected by mental illness. NAMI Ohio is comprised of families, persons diagnosed with mental illness, and advocates working together to ensure that Ohioans with mental illness and their loved ones receive the treatment and support they need. The mission of NAMI Ohio is to improve the quality of life, ensure dignity and respect for persons with serious mental illness, and to support their families.
by NAMI Ohio | Feb 3, 2021 | Blog
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page” -Saint Augustine
For many people, taking a vacation or traveling to somewhere new is one of the best ways to relax and unwind for self-care. And it seems that it is healthy for us, as travel has been linked with increasing creativity and happiness while decreasing stress and depressive feelings1. With the current reality of travel restrictions, financial hardships, and temporary closures of many vacation destinations, a great way to experience the feeling of getting away without leaving your own home is through virtual experiences. There are hundreds of places all over the globe that are giving access, almost always for free, to their artwork, performances, and landmarks; some are simple cams that you can watch at your leisure whereas others are guided tours by some of the greatest experts in the world.
Below are some of my favorites:
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
The British Museum
The Museum of Natural History
Monterey Bay Aquarium
San Diego Zoo
U.S. National Parks
Virtual Tours of Popular Tourist Attractions Around the World
Photo from Pexels