REPORTING: RABBIT ZIELKE
The National Alliance on Mental Illness or NAMI works with families and individuals to help understand and cope with the effects of mental illness in their daily lives. Their mission includes education, advocacy, and support programs. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, one in four adult Americans have a diagnosable mental disorder and one in seventeen have a serious mental illness. NAMI works to reduce the stigma of mental illness with the hope that more people will seek treatment.
Many people with serious mental illness end up in our prison system. According to a 2003 study by the Human Rights Watch, the incidence of diagnosed mental illness in the prison system is four times greater than that of the general population. NAMI Chattanooga is working with other mental health organizations and local law enforcement agencies to develop a crisis prevention intervention training program to better prepare law enforcement officers dealing with mentally ill citizens in the community. In September NAMI will host Heads, Hearts, and Hands, a conference in Chattanooga that will include a breakfast honoring the crisis intervention officers in our area.
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