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Mental illness will be the topic at ‘Lunch and Learn’ Feb. 15

 

Mental illnesses, along with alcohol and drug abuse, are difficult subjects for most people to talk about. However, the conversation has to start, said a volunteer with the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Harold White and Curtis Oliver, both NAMI volunteers, want to start this conversation in Brookhaven with the first public meeting of the organization Feb. 15 in the Robby Sauls auditorium at noon at King’s Daughters Medical Center.

The purpose of their meeting is to introduce the NAMI organization to Brookhaven and surrounding areas. “People can learn how NAMI can be of assistance to them outside of what our community center, Region 8, can provide for them,” White said.

NAMI has collaborated with Region 8 Mental Health Services and many more organizations whose goals are to help others.

The men are a part of the NAMI Southwest Mississippi affiliate, NAMI 4 Rivers Mississippi.

NAMI 4 Rivers Mississippi covers the areas surrounded by the Mississippi, Pearl, Homochitto and Bogue Chitto rivers. That includes Lincoln, Pike, Lawrence, Franklin, Jefferson, Adams, Wilkinson, Amite, Walthall and Claiborne counties. Oliver said the immediate interest to start an affiliate in the area came from the Brookhaven community.

“Everyone in our group is basically in Brookhaven, so that’s why we want to have our first event here,” he said.

Both Oliver and White were drawn to help others after seeing the effects of mental illnesses and drug and alcohol abuse in their personal lives. Oliver is a recovered chemical dependency addict, and White left Tennessee with his wife, Nancy White, partially to help care for her brothers who suffer from mental illness.

“My wife was a special education teacher in Tennessee for almost 30 years and always had a heart for serving people for many years,” White said. “Through her, I’ve become very committed to this for seven years.”