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Program Offers Support For Mental Illness

A free program to help families cope with mental illness is giving one family from Wilder a return to their relationship with their son.

Medical Reporter Liz Bonis tells us about it in today's Medical Edge.

Nick Westcott is back on the mend now, but recently he recalls...

Nick Westcott, Son:
"I was talking to myself, I would think about stuff, not talk to anyone, I zoned out."

His parents tried to find out what was wrong, but admitted...

"We were at a loss, we didn't know what to do ..."

So, they signed up for a national program offered by local chapters of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. It is called "Family to Family."

Cindy Thomas, Mother:
"It helped put things into perspective, that you are not alone."

The program is free. It lasts for 12 weeks and offers support for everything from major depression to what Nick has struggled with, a brain disorder known as schizoaffective disorder.

As part of that program, they learned a lot about mental illness and helping others, but they also learned a few things about living with a person with mental illness that they want all of us to know, too.

First, if you feel like this...

Micky Thomas, Father:
"We didn't know what was going on, we didn't know it was a mental illness at that time, we just had no idea what was happening, we were at a complete loss, and we had nowhere to go forward."

You are not alone.  Families, such as Nick's, are now trained mentors and there are many across the country to support you.

"We learned that everybody has issues, everyone does, it's just to what degree."

And third, maybe most importantly, is what Nick learned when he got the help he needed about his parents...

"They're the best parents ever, you know."

His mom and dad, think the exact same thing about their son.
There is another local Family to Family, free program beginning September 3rd.

For details you can call 859-261-4080.




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