Advocates: Stigma of mental illness prevents some from seeking help

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — October 10th is World Mental Health Day, a day meant to raise awareness of and support people suffering mental health issues, such as depression.

“One of the things we see is that families or individuals don’t want to receive mental health services, and a lot of that stems from the stigma that is around receiving mental health services,” said Dana Keim of the Stephenson County Health Department.

Stateline residents are working to remove that stigma this week.

Wired Cafe, at 414 E State Street in Rockford, is selling “Sunshine Cookies” and “Happiness Mochas,” with 25 percent of the proceeds going to the Northern Illinois Branch of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

“It’s just something that we could give back to, in a little bit,” said owner Crystal Douglas. “I mean, being a small business, there’s not much I can do, but it’s making people aware, and throwing a little money at the organization.”

Douglas says raising awareness for mental health is a cause close to her heart.

“I have had family members who have committed suicide, and I also have family members who have struggled with issues, whether it be depression or just dealing with everyday life,” she said.

NAMI’s executive director, Danielle Angileri, says community support is a big help to sufferers she treats.

“We have a lot of different community organizations that are on board. They just get it. They understand everyone is impacted by mental illness. Everyone has a story. Everyone knows someone. It’s very important to have everyone involved,” she said.

And while NAMI has been raising awareness of depression, suicide and mental illness, she says there’s still a long way to go.

“I think, in our community, we are taking a lot of strides in the right direction. I know it’s not an overnight fix to a broken system, but we’re moving forward,” she said.

Wired Cafe will be selling the “Sunshine Cookies” and “Happiness Mochas” through Saturday.

NAMI will hold a rally at Veterans Memorial Hall on N. Main Street beginning at noon tomorrow, Friday, October 11th.

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