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    Mental Health Awareness month

    As Mental Health Awareness Month nears its end, I would like to remark on the amazing transformation this topic has undergone in our community in 2019. Twenty years ago, mental illness was a taboo subject. Ten years ago, discussing mental illness with anyone outside of your tight circle of family or friends was suspect. I am thrilled that this topic is getting the attention it needs and deserves.

    Our lives are many-faceted and we are called to ensure that we find meaning in our daily rhythm. It is important to balance four key areas of life: work (paid or volunteer), social connections and interactions; giving to those in our community through the donation of time, effort or finances; and, finally, to address the spiritual aspect of our lives.

    To this last end, NAMI Rome hosted a candlelight service in two local communities earlier this month. The candlelight services were a part of the “National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding”. Members of Balance Living staff from the Rome and Dalton offices were able to attend; I felt privileged to attend the Dalton service. Jim and Bonnie Moore, in coordinated efforts with individuals served, members of Crosspointe, Judge Minter and his staff, local law enforcement and mental health professionals and community members gathered to reflect on the mental health and spiritual needs of those in our midst.

    The singing was beautiful and was focused on hope. The speakers addressed the successes that can be accomplished through various avenues of support. Seven candles were lit by members of the community, each one representing: Truth; Healing; Understanding; Hope; Thankfulness; Faith and Steadfast Love. We came together, members of many walks of faith and varied backgrounds, to express our commitment to helping others on their mental health recovery journey.

    My hope is that we grow in awareness in our community. My hope is to double the number of those in attendance next year at NAMI’s Candlelight Service, a visible sign of support and encouragement. My hope is to bring hope to those in need, ending the silence, as we help others find balance and healing in their lives.

    End the Stigma. Seek Balance. Remain Hopeful


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