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Honoring Veterans Day: Hope and Recovery Found in NAMI Programs

Written by: Phoebe (Raleigh, NC)

Phoebe is a Navy Veteran who has participated and found hope in our NAMI programs. As we honor Veterans Day today, we are grateful for all of the men and women who have served our country. 

Up until Covid-19 started, I was receiving all my mental health recovery treatment from the VA Medical Center in Durham and the Vets Center in Raleigh, North Carolina. I am a Navy Veteran who has been suffering with depression, bipolar disorder, and PTSD. My daughter who is 21 also suffers with mental health disorders; schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety. Prior to the pandemic she was being seen by a psychiatrist at Carolina Outreach and attending a psychotherapy program four days per week at South Eastern PSR.

The dynamics of my household became intolerable because all of the services were shut down due to social distancing and safety reasons. Suddenly, my daughter and I did not have the support we needed in order to be in a safe environment. My husband of nine years felt helpless. He found it to be difficult to deal with the constant emotional instability of our household.

When I was looking for help for my daughter, I wound up finding help for myself and our family! After my husband and I had a virtual appointment with Sandra Mann, she suggested that I participate in the NAMI Peer-to-Peer class. She also suggested that my husband and I take the Family-to-Family class.

The NAMI Peer-to-Peer class has helped me to navigate through painful emotions that I was experiencing. The most profound thing that happened to me at the in the class was when I shared my story. It was very emotional and freeing for me. This was the very first time I shared my story. Releasing my trauma, my pain, my struggles by sharing my story helped me to unload a lot of baggage that I have been caring through guilt and shame.

The recurring pain from PTSD as a child, adult, and in the military has made it extremely difficult to cope with my daily life throughout the years. The eight-week course was filled with tears, laughter, empathy, and new friendships were formed. I am incredibly grateful to Sandra Mann, the program facilitator, Roy Schmidt, the Peer-to-Peer facilitator, Casey Geiger, the Peer-to-Peer group leader, and the entire group. We have continued to meet after the eight-week course in a new group organized by Carolyn Baxter, called “NAMI Group Vibe Check.”

The NAMI Family-to-Family class that my husband and I took for eight weeks was also extremely helpful. We both got a better understanding of the different challenges of dealing with mental health disorders and recognizing when our loved one may be in a crisis. With the rise in suicide we were able to help our daughter through these difficult times. Dale and Sandra Mann did an amazing job navigating this education program for family members of adults with mental illness. There was a wealth of information that has been beneficial to helping us to learn how to communicate and have empathy for our loved ones.

We were encouraged to share our stories with each other virtually, which has been particularly supportive during this critical time of social distancing. The many resources that we were given in the Family-to-Family guide will help us to get our daughter the help she needs to become a productive independent member of society. We have more hope and different perspective concerning mental health after attending this course.

Without a doubt, I believe that these NAMI programs are critical to the survival of our youth and those dealing with mental health disorders. I am very appreciative having the opportunity to take these classes and look forward to being more involved with the NAMI community after our daughter is more stable.

Our programs are free and available for anyone looking for support and community. If you are interested in registering for one of NAMI Wake’s education classes, please visit:

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