People with mental illness can and do lead lives that are just as rich and meaningful as anybody else’s. Even so, many find that life with mental illness can occasionally feel lonesome. There are times when even friends and loved ones may find it difficult to understand what you’re going through. It’s common to want to share your experiences with people who “get it.” For many, there is nothing like meeting someone who understands—who has had similar experiences and can help you make sense of your own. Now imagine a roomful of people like that!
I Still Matter is proud to partner with the Jacksonville chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). NAMI is the largest advocacy group in the country for people with mental illness and their family members. The local chapter, NAMI Jacksonville, is a resurgent organization that reaches hundreds of people in the community through its grassroots support and educational programs.
NAMI Connection support groups currently reach dozens of adult men and women in Jacksonville living with mental illness of all kinds. In Connection groups, members take time getting to know one another as they share their experiences in a safe, supportive, and affirming environment. What makes these groups special is the collective wisdom and the empathetic attitudes of the people in them. Every member brings a valued perspective to the group, one enriched by lived experience. When you attend a Connection group, you are invited to share as much or as little as you’d like; the important thing is that you feel comfortable. Members consistently report feeling more informed, more connected, and more “listened to” after attending group.
There are currently two NAMI Connection support groups in the Jacksonville area. One meets at River Point Behavioral, 6300 Beach Boulevard, every Thursday from 7 to 8:30. The other meets in Orange Park at Clay Behavioral, 89 Knight Boxx Road, every Tuesday from 6:30 to 8.
In addition, NAMI Jacksonville regularly offers peer-to-peer classes. The NAMI peer-to-peer class is a free, 10-session educational program for adults with mental illness who are looking to better understand their condition and journey toward recovery. Classes are held throughout the year at various locations.
Finally, NAMI Jacksonville also offers family support groups and free family-to-family educational classes to family members of people with mental illness.
If you would like more information about NAMI programs or would like to register for a class, please call the NAMI Jacksonville hotline at 904-724-7782, email [email protected], or visit namijacksonville.org/meetings.
NAMI Jacksonville hopes to see you soon!
~ Chandler Coggins, NAMI Volunteer and ISM Ambassador
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