Support group participants SHARE struggles, successes

Jody Demo-Hodgins - Guest columnist

As a longtime member of NAMI, I can honestly say that I believe in its support and education programs. I grew up with a sister who had a serious mental illness. I saw her being hospitalized and watched her struggle over the years. I also saw her benefit from treatment and work toward recovery.

There is no one answer to move a person from illness to recovery, but outreach, advocacy and education make a difference every day. This is the strength the NAMI family of Marion and Crawford Counties brings to the table. They provide guidance and support, as well as direction to treatment. And the great thing about NAMI is that they truly understand the challenges you experience as a family member. They have been on that path and are willing to walk with you as you help your loved one journey towards recovery.

NAMI of Marion and Crawford Counties is about support, education, and advocacy.

Several phone calls to the NAMI office in late 2015 made it clear that a depression support group was needed in Marion, and planning and preparations for what became known as NAMI SHARE began.

The program is led by support group facilitators who have been trained through NAMI Ohio, and who have experienced depression in their own lives.

Through the use of various resource materials, the program provides relevant background information on depressive disorders, offers tools for tracking moods, stresses the importance of building a strong support system, and suggests tips for developing a lifestyle that enhances wellness. This includes the benefits of counseling, building self-esteem and self-confidence, developing new ways of thinking, coping strategies, and triumphs in a confidential setting, while gaining encouragement, understanding, and insight from other group members.

According to SHARE group facilitator and local NAMI President Sharon Smith, “Participants come to share their stories and what they have been through with their own mental illness. It is so heartwarming when someone in the group hears the experiences of others and realizes that they ARE NOT ALONE.”

Co-facilitator and ADAMH Board Marketing and Outreach Coordinator Tina Thompson said, “It’s important for individuals with depression to find a safe place where they can talk openly about their struggles without fear of judgment. They know that even we as facilitators have walked a similar path.”

The SHARE group embraces NAMI’s 12 Principles of Support, the last, and perhaps most important, of which is, “We will never give up hope.”

Registration for NAMI SHARE is not required, but interested individuals may call (740) 375-0796 for additional information.

Jody Demo-Hodgins

Guest columnist

Jody Demo-Hodgins is executive director of NAMI of Marion and Crawford Counties. Email her at [email protected]

Jody Demo-Hodgins is executive director of NAMI of Marion and Crawford Counties. Email her at [email protected]