Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wellness Wednesdays: What is NAMI, Joplin?

Welcome to Wellness Wednesdays here on Since You Asked, where we will explore different aspects of healthy living and the importance of taking care of ourselves.

Today’s post comes from my friend, Rick Wiseman.  Rick and his wife of 49 years, Carol, live in Joplin with their oldest son and Carol’s mother.  Rick and Carol’s oldest son was first diagnosed with “borderline autism” around age 2.  At the time of his diagnosis there were no mental health services available in Joplin, so his doctor sent them to Tulsa to be diagnosed.  He has suffered with his illness throughout his life.  As an adult his diagnosis was changed to Asperger’s Syndrome.  He has additional diagnoses and his difficulties became severe as an adult.  When their son started attending NAMI support groups, Rick and Carol noticed a marked positive change in him.  He suggested Rick and Carol also start attending the family support groups that NAMI offered.  This soon became their passion and they became deeply involved with NAMI, serving as volunteers, trainers, and board members of the Joplin affiliate.

In the wake of the 2011 tornado, mental health has been of the utmost concern for health care professionals and counselors in Joplin.   According to the Australian PsychologicalSociety, “Depression is the second most commonly observed psychological disorder in survivors of disasters followed by various problems with anxiety.”  Organizations such as the Missouri Foundationfor Health have recognized the need for increased support for mental health facilities and professionals following 2011’s disaster and have generously provided funding and manpower to help facilitate services for the many individuals who have suffered from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) since the tornado.  These proactive measures have, in turn, helped maintain the overall well-being of our community. 

I am thankful for Rick’s insight on the importance of diagnosing and treating mental health illnesses, and I trust that his article will prove informative to you, as well.

NAMI Joplin
By Rick Wiseman

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness.

NAMI has over 1,100 affiliates in communities across the country who engage in advocacy, research, support, and education.  Members of NAMI are families, friends, and people living with mental illnesses such as major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post- traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and borderline personality disorder.


The fact is this:  Mental illnesses are medical conditions that disrupt a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others, and daily functioning. Just as diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas, mental illnesses are medical conditions that often result in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life. The good news about mental illness is that recovery is possible.

Mental illnesses can affect persons of any age, race, religion, or income. Mental illnesses are not the result of personal weakness, lack of character, or poor upbringing. Mental illnesses are treatable. Most people diagnosed with a serious mental illness experience relief from their symptoms by actively participating in an individual treatment plan. In addition to medical treatment, psychosocial treatment such as cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, peer support groups, and other community services can also be components of a treatment plan and assist with recovery. The availability of transportation, diet, exercise, sleep, friends, and meaningful paid or volunteer activities contribute to overall health and wellness, including mental illness recovery.


Locally, NAMI Joplin provides support, education, and advocacy to our friends suffering mental illness and their families. We offer support groups, peer training, and training for other providers of mental health services, social events, and special events.
NAMI Joplin has speakers available to present to your group or organization.
For more information contact your NAMI Joplin office directly at 417-781-6264 or visit
NAMI Joplin is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization. Much of the information presented here is from NAMI information.


  1. No matter how much research is done on mental illness, everyone's circumstances are different. I'm glad there are organizations like NAMI to help out. I work with several individuals who have dual diagnosis of mental illness and developmental disabilities. Life is a constant struggle for them. This was a great post!

    1. Heather, I'm so glad you stopped by! I agree - there is still so much to learn about mental illness, but it's encouraging to know there are groups like NAMI working to inform and advocate on behalf of those who utilize their services.