Journeys Fall/Winter 2016 - Page 9

Conversations on Mental Health NAMI Cabarrus provides information, education and support T There is a meeting Concord resident Rob Davies, 65, looks forward to attending every Monday night. “It’s like a social event for me,” Davies said. “I’ve benefitted greatly from it.” Davies, who suffers from depression and anxiety, is a member of National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Cabarrus and attends its weekly support group meetings at 7 p.m. on Mondays at the Cabarrus County Senior Center in Concord. chief clinical officer at Monarch, a statewide nonprofit that provides support for people with mental illness, substance abuse disorders, and intellectual and developmental disabilities. Common mental health illnesses among seniors are depression or related to depression, he said. In addition to stressors most people experience, seniors may experience loss of loved ones or their own independence, physical limitations, or socioeconomic concerns, Millsap said. NAMI provides support, education and advocacy for individuals who suffer from mental illnesses, also known as consumers, and their loved ones. “Groups like NAMI and NAMI Cabarrus are a great resource of information, education, and support for individuals and their families,” Millsap said. During most of the free weekly meetings, the people who attend are split into two groups: families and consumers, said Ismael Carrasquillo, president of NAMI Cabarrus. The groups then have an open forum for discussion and problem solving, he said. Davies said he appreciates that there is no fee to attend the meetings since he is retired and on a fixed income. He also finds it easier to talk in a group, instead of talking to a single therapist. During some meetings, mental health providers provide training on topics like dealing with depression. NAMI also provides social events, like going out to dinner or attending a baseball game, and educational programs, like Family-to-Family, a free, 12-week course for family caregivers of individuals with mental illnesses. While adults of all ages are members of NAMI, about 15–20 percent of the senior population has diagnosable mental illnesses, said Ben Millsap, senior vice president/ “It’s good to know there are people out there dealing with the same things. I’d encourage people who are interested to come and try it and see how you like it,” Davies said. n The NAMI HelpLine is prepared to answer questions about mental health issues. Call 1-800-950-6264 Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. or email Monthly Support Group Meetings at Cabarrus County Senior Center, Concord NAMI (Mental Health) Cabarrus Action Club Vietnam Veterans Parkinson’s Disease Mondays at 7 p.m. Second Monday at 6:30 p.m. First Tuesday at 6 p.m. Second Tuesday at 2 p.m. 7