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Local family goes public with journey to recovery from daughter's diagnosis with mental illness

A local theatre student and her family going public with their struggle to understand her clinical mental illness so others can take advantage of the program that helped them find the light at the end of the tunnel.

"We got a few phone calls from her," explained father Leo. "We didn't understand what she was explaining to us. It was the beginning of quite a bit of confusion for my wife and I."

They credit NAMI of Waukesha and its support group for helping them navigate the system and the confusion.

"I really am lucky," said daughter Lindsey. "They were able to understand so I could put the pieces back together for myself."

The National Alliance on Mental Illness is a nationwide, grass roots organizations, providing education, support and advocacy for families dealing with a mental health condition.

Mary Madden is Executive Director of one of the largest branches in Waukesha.

Madden says the stigma attached to mental illness often leaves both patients and their loved ones feeling embarrassed and isolated.

"Nami provides them a place to go to so they understand so they're not alone," Madden explains. "Recovery is absolutely possible for people with mental health conditions. As we know, services can be difficult. Sometimes insurance doesn't cover services. Access can be limited. It does take some persistence."

NAMI of Waukesha recently received a grant from the prestigious Waukesha County Community Foundation.

The money will help the group continue to provide its services for free.

Madden hopes that through this family's bravery to speak out, there will be more dialogue about the real issues.

She does worry that sometimes only mental illness is discussed around the context of violence or a mass shooting and that can be a disservice.

"People start to believe that that's the norm with people with mental health conditions," cautions Madden. "That's not the norm. People with mental health conditions are more likely to be victims of violent crime. Sometimes people with mental health conditions do bad things. Sometimes bad people just do bad things."

For more information call (262) 524-8886.

For a link to the Nami of Waukesha website with more on Lindsey's story click here
 

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