Motorists traveling south Main Street on Monday morning may have noticed a big bus emblazoned with the logo of the National Alliance on Mental Illness parked in front of Hillcrest Baptist Church.
Katie Dillon, outreach coordinator for the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Ohio, discusses the mobile resource bus with Pete Floyd, president of Logan and Champaign counties’ NAMI branch, during a Monday morning stop along south Main Street in Bellefontaine. The bus will visit 100 communities throughout Ohio by summer’s end, Ms. Dillon said. (EXAMINER PHOTO | REUBEN MEES)
The NAMImobile, as the bus is known, made the stop in Bellefontaine as a summer-long campaign to reach 100 communities throughout Ohio with a message that mental illness is a disease and not something to be ashamed of or discriminated against, NAMI Ohio outreach coordinator Katie Dillon said.
“Our goal when we set out earlier this year was to raise awareness and dispel myths and stigmas about mental illness,” Ms. Dillon said. “It’s a mobile billboard and it gets a lot of exposure. On stops like this we’re able to get out and interact more with people.”
Pete Floyd, president of Logan and Champaign counties’ NAMI chapter, said he witnessed his mother suffer many years from depression before struggling with the disease himself.
“We want it to be where some day you can talk about it like you talk about any other disease like diabetes or cancer,” Mr. Floyd said. “It is a disease and not something to be ashamed of.”
The bus contained a station with information on a variety of illnesses and resources for treatment and living with those diseases.
One in four adults — approximately 2.9 million Ohioans — experience a mental health disorder in a given year, according to information distributed by the group. One-half of all chronic mental illness begins by the age of 14; three-quarters by age 24. Early identification and treatment is of vital importance to recovery.
The purpose of the bus tour, which was organized with the help of the Mental Illness No Discrimination Movement, “is to end discrimination against individuals living with mental illness and their family members by getting the facts about mental illness out to the public. Discrimination is a major barrier to people seeking help for their mental illness when they need it,” according to the information.
For more information on mental illness, call (800) 686-2646 or visit www.namiohio.org.