NAMI-Rowan luncheon celebrates recovery for people with mental illness
?SALISBURY - Marcella Lozano has served 23 years in the military, but the last two years have been particularly tough. Lozano is recovering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
She was presented with an individual achievement award by the National Alliance on Mental Illness-Rowan at a Friday awards ceremony and luncheon.
The ceremony was held at the Hefner VA Medical Center as part of Mental Illness Awareness Week.
After receiving her award, Lozano said through tears that she has good days and bad days.
"Thank you for honoring us and acknowledging us," she said.
Lozano and others received awards for their efforts towards recovery or for supporting someone else during recovery.
Dr. Shanyn Aysta-Isaac, honored as a psychologist as Professional of the Year, spoke about the continuing process of recovery. Aysta-Isaac is a coordinator who trains the staff and veterans.
"Recovery is creating a meaningful life for yourself, working with a person to encourage the development of new meaning or purpose in one's life as you grow beyond the effects of mental illness," she said.
Recovery isn't linear, she said, there are ups and downs.
She encouraged the audience to commit to erasing the stigma of mental illness.
"We are all human beings on our own journey of recovery," she said.
Salisbury Post editor Elizabeth Cook was also recognized as a Professional of the Year. Cook was awarded the distinction for providing a platform for the organization to share information about mental illness.
Cook said she thought about how mental illness is portrayed in the media and how it could be improved.
"Words have power. It's really important to use the right ones," she said.
Cook said journalists need to help raise awareness and lift the stigma of mental illness.
Other award recipients included Wanda Jones, Tammy Smith, Alonzo Lynch, Kenneth M. Smith, Barbara Valentine, Jeffrey Millsaps, Michael Alexander, Marguerite Meyhew, Buck Bohon, Gary Bryan, Tony E. Hill and Bruce Peck.
Mental illnesses can include panic disorder, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and PTSD.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization that works to improve the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness.
The organization provides advocacy, research, support and education for people living with mental illness and their families. The Rowan chapter of the organization has been around for more than a decade.
Those gathered at the ceremony Friday also heard about services offered through the NAMI-Rowan, such as Peer-to-Peer and Family-to-Family.
Peer-to-Peer is a 10-week, two hour course, offered to give a chance for people with a mental illness to talk with someone else who has a mental illness. Lectures and workshops teach participants how to cope, said Sarah Keller-Boyd of NAMI-Rowan. The course is taught at the Hefner VA Medical Center.
"It's a good way to prevent relapse and promote recovery," Keller-Boyd said.
Family-to-Family, also provided at the Hefner VA, teaches family what the other member is going through, said Peggy Mangold, president of the organization, .
For more information about NAMI-Rowan, contact Peggy Mangold at 704-640-8811 or firstname.lastname@example.org.