Mental health conditions affect 25% or more of the general population, yet access to medical treatment and supportive services continue to fall far behind other biological illnesses.
NAMI was our life savior during our devastating time in 2008 when I was so fortunate to find my only child, my son, barely alive, after a horrendous psychotic break that left him mute, "blind", incoherent, disabled and all alone in his apartment in Los Angeles while in film school at Loyola Marymount. Hence began our family's introduction to the devastation caused by brain illnesses (mental illnesses).
My son had always been very independent, so when he wanted to study in Los Angeles, we sent him there with our blessings. The Television/Film production curriculum at LMU was as demanding as law school but my son loved it. Sleepless nights and 30 hour days are routine as all projects have a quick turnaround with deadlines and group members that don't do their part, professors that are considered Film Gods and an environment of drugs, drugs and more drugs!
Little did we know that the stress from such a demanding college major, peer pressures from the industry and the carefree drug culture would introduce our son to a world of caffeine charged drinks and dangerous ways to stay awake and alert while "on the job". With my son's genetic predisposition, this environment was not at all healthy for him.
God gave us a second chance when I found my son barely alive that Thursday, May 2nd, 2008. We found a way to help our son survive his brain illness through several hospitalizations. I also found NAMI Westside L.A. whose angels saved my own life by giving me the Family to Family class with support, love and friendship. At the same time, my husband had NAMI Greater Houston gift him the Family to Family class.
My husband and I agreed that I could not leave Los Angeles, if we wanted our son to stay alive; so, we contracted corporate housing and I telecommuted from Los Angeles while both of us commuted back to Houston. Our main focus was saving our son's life and so I became a very active Mental Health Advocate for my son and the thousands who live with these devastating but treatable brain illnesses. As a Board Director of NAMI Westside Los Angeles and NAMIWalks Westside LA Walk Representative we provided support, education, advocacy that changed lives.
Without NAMI, life would have been much more difficult and we would not have been prepared to be the mental health advocates that we have become. NAMI angels saved us and we have been paying it forward for over 10 years. NAMI programs continue to provide hope and help. NAMI is focused on delivering life saving services to our Communities including advocacy services that we hope will change the way the world looks at mental illness.
Please support my NAMIWAlks Greater Houston so that families with mental illness in their lives will have the support, education, and advocacy services they desperately need.