Tom and I and some friends will be walking in the National Alliance on Mental Illness walk in Chicago on September 19. This is an important cause for me in particular for a lot of reasons.
One is that regular therapy over the past few years has probably been one of the most, if not the most useful treatment I've received in terms of learning to cope with becoming disabled, having chronic health conditions, dealing with the unknown and unexpected, etc., etc. I'm deeply appreciative of all the professionals who have helped me and continue to help me.
Another is that I am all too aware of the stigma associated with mental illness. I understand it to a certain degree but I don't like it. I like it even less now that if affects me personally. I want to walk to show solidarity with others who have or have had mental illnesses of any kind.
A third is that the state of mental health care, particularly access to mental health care is in many ways absolutely pitiful. Public funding has been cut in many circumstances. Some of the people who most desperately need help and support whether it be crisis intervention or long term care often have little or no access to the help they need. I have been remarkably lucky in that our health insurance covers mental health care at all and that our coverage recently removed the yearly cap on office visits. Others are not so lucky.
Here is the link to my personal walker page: http://www.nami.org/namiwalks10/GCH/shovelingferret
And here's the link for our team page: http://www.nami.org/namiwalks10/GCH/jamesgang
Any support, whether it be moral support, sponsorship in any amount, or joining our team if you're in the Chicago area will be immensely appreciated, not only by me but by all the other people your donation will help.
I'm hoping to figure out a way to stick a permanent link/gauge over on my sidebar as well...