ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Mental health advocates ended the week with an annual “Rally for Recovery” in Rockford.

Congress declared this week Mental Health Awareness week beginning in 1990.

Over 125 mental health advocates and organizations took part in Friday’s rally at Veterans Memorial Hall, 211 N. Main Street, to encourage community leaders to inspire individuals suffering from mental illness to seek help.

“We all have a piece of that story ourselves and I think it’s really great that we all are able to be here and share that experience together for a greater good,” said Logan White, of RAMP Center for Independent Living.

White said his brother suffered from mental illness and lost his life to substance abuse a year ago. Since then, he says he’s dedicated his life to helping others in similar predicaments.

The rally was hosted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Executive director Danielle Angileri said it offered a chance for local advocates and organizations to get on the same page.

“Keeping the conversation around mental health in the forefront of people’s minds, bringing more understanding to the leaders in our community, to the community members, and allowing for more people to step up and say, okay, you understand so I can come to you for help,” she said.

Angeleri said she hopes it brings awareness of the full spectrum of mental health withing education, housing, decriminalization and crisis response.

“The more visible the resources are and the more people talk about their own experiences, the more people will start reaching out for help. And then maybe even more people will go into the field of helping others,” she said.

White added, “I think it is a pleasant and welcome surprise now seeing that we have the systems available. There is always room for improvement we do need to consolidate the services that we do have we do need to integrate and work together in order to ensure that these services are executed effectively.”