2022 is coming to a close, and what a year it’s been! We’re excited to offer many of our classes and events in person, and it’s been a delight to connect with friends old and new. At NAMI CCNS, helping others is not just a duty, but a calling; and our staff and volunteers are honored to answer the call for all in need.
Chris is a longtime volunteer who has answered that call. His wife of 24 years, an accomplished artist, lived with severe untreated bipolar disorder that worsened over time. In 2012, his family was thrown into crisis when she experienced a manic episode with paranoia and psychosis. When his wife filed for divorce, Chris was left to hold his family together as a single dad of two teenage daughters with mental health challenges of their own. The family attended individual and group therapy but felt the need for even more support.
In NAMI CCNS’s Family Support Group, Chris found help for his family, but he also found it too infrequent. He thought, “I can’t wait a whole month to talk—I need more interaction!” Chris then took our signature Family to Family class, where he bonded with other participants over the challenges of having a family member with a mental illness. He realized that families need as much assistance as possible and was invited to become a weekly Family Support Group facilitator.
For Chris, becoming a facilitator helped bring about his own recovery. He learned that mental illness never disappears, but it can be managed with the right tools. Chris sees the pain that mental illness can cause and in 2019, he joined the NAMI CCNS Board of Directors. In his words, “There’s nothing more healing than sitting with a bunch of people who know exactly what you’re talking about”—and no one understands this better than NAMI CCNS!
At a time of great need, mental health matters more than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to strain relationships and cause trauma. World events stoke fear at a level unseen in decades. Crime is up, suicide rates are on the rise, technology floods us with bad news, and economic distress tries even the most privileged of us. Among the most vulnerable are the 1 in 5 of us who live with a mental illness and rely upon our broken healthcare system to stay well and lead a full and productive life.
NAMI CCNS fills the gaps that exist within our system – offering help and hope to all in need, regardless of means. Our services are free to everyone. When you give to NAMI CCNS, you answer the call by investing in peer-led, community-based services for the clients who need us most. Chris knows this well and hopes that you will join him this season in supporting our programs to improve the quality of life for persons affected by serious mental illnesses.
On behalf of our entire NAMI CCNS family, thank you for supporting us.
Alyx Kesselring Richard J. DeCleene
Executive Director President, Board of Directors
NAMI CCNS annual reports are always available upon request. If you have questions or have more questions, please feel to contact us!
All articles, information, free groups and all services NAMI CCNS provides are possible because of generous donations from people like you! Please consider donating today! NAMI CCNS is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, Nami Cook County North Suburban.