May 13, 2013

Mental Health Awareness Month

You will note that we are turning our attention to May as Mental Health Awareness Month. I invited Kat Dawkins to guest post today. Kat is a remarkable young woman and an example of an individual giving her life away to de-stigmatize mental illness, to educate, and to equip others as they navigate mental illness. 

Essential Support and Educational Resources

Kat Dawkins

Her Bipolar Life and Kat Galaxy Blog

Because of educational and support-based mental health resources, I am informed, inspired, and in control of my bipolar disorder today.

My lived experience has shown me that no one can nor should go through bipolar disorder alone without resources to assist and support them.

I have put together a list of my favorite resources; resources collected along my journey. Please feel free to explore and share them with others who may benefit from this information.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

NAMI is America’s largest grassroots mental health organization. Since 1979, they have operated under the belief that mental illness affects everyone.

In fact, according to NAMI.org, nearly 60 million Americans experience a mental health condition every year.

Hundreds of local and state entities make NAMI accessible across the US.

Largely volunteer, NAMI’s members, and supporters raise awareness and provide essential education free of charge as well as advocacy services and support groups.

When I was first diagnosed with a mental illness, my aunt, who was volunteering for NAMI in Phoenix, directed us to the organization.

Since then, nearly 12 years ago, our family has taken NAMI classes, attended support groups and fundraising walks, and received much needed support and information that we couldn’t have received anywhere else.

My aunt now works full time in the NAMI Indianapolis office, and my parents’ business is a main sponsor of our local NAMI walk every year.

We wouldn’t be nearly as educated and aware if we hadn’t found NAMI, and it is an organization that is dear to my heart.

Patient Assistance Programs

For those who do not have health insurance, or cannot otherwise afford their medications, Patient Assistance Programs created by manufacturers of mental health medications can be a lifesaver when brand name medications are medically necessary.

Without patient assistance, my medication would cost me thousands upon thousands of dollars per month, and I would not be able to afford any of the brand name medications I take.

To apply for patient assistance programs, talk to your psychiatrist and see if you are eligible at websites like pparx.org and rxassist.org.

Social Media and Mental Health

Social media has rapidly evolved since I started with Facebook in 2006. Once a vehicle for college kids to meet, social media has become accessible and essential to almost everyone.

In the past couple of years especially, I have found great support and solace in the people I have been able to meet in the bipolar community online.

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google +, and blog sites like WordPress have created mental health communities with people from all walks of life. They are educational, easy to access, and provide friendship for those who feel alone.

Sites like TreatmentDiaries.com and AllIndividual.com are great places to connect with the community of bipolar individuals on the Internet.

Take the time to explore resources; no, MAKE the time to explore the resources available to you. You’ll be glad that you did.

You can reach Kat via email at  katgalaxy8606@mail.com and her blog is available at katgalaxyblog.com. You can follow Kat on twitter: @katgalaxy.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

To tap into more of Kat’s writing, click <<HERE>>.Many thanks for Kat for sharing these mental health resources with us today.

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