The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Guests share personal stories on South about mental illness

By David Rojas/reporter

While people with mental illness can receive the right treatment, the stigma associated with their illnesses is harder to deal with, guest speakers told students April 1.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness vice president Ed Guthrie and ministry leader Chris Janvier presented In Our Own Voice on South Campus.

NAMI is the country’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness.

Guthrie and Janvier shared their personal struggles with mental illness.

“We overcame our first stigma,” Janvier said about being diagnosed with bipolar disorder and advocating to remove its stigma.

More often than not, most individuals are misdiagnosed with their mental illness, Guthrie said. Therefore, it takes more time to get proper treatment.

“This is not a what-to-do presentation,” he said. “It’s what works for us.”

Everyone’s case is different. However, with accurate diagnosis, effective medication and support from loved ones, most individuals with mental illness can get relief from their symptoms and can go on with their lives, Guthrie said.

The men addressed the dark days often experienced and acknowledged that recovery is an ongoing journey. The acceptance of having a mental illness is not easy for most, but once accepted, recovery can begin.

Treatment comes afterward, and having some honest communication with health care providers will help develop a plan that fits an individual, the speakers said.

Coping skills are essential if one hopes to move forward with a healthy lifestyle. They recommended a daily routine and balance of exercise, nutrition and rest to ensure recovery.

Even recognizing small success and setting realistic goals helps individuals know that they can have fulfilling lives, they said.

For more information on mental illness, one can visit www.namitarrant.org.

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