Local NAMI group working closely with multiple agencies to improve mental health

NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is an organization that helps improve the lives of those who suffer from mental illness along with their families and friends. The organization offers education, support and advocacy.

On KVNU’s Crosstalk program Monday, NAMI representative Wendy Simmons said NAMI programs include advocacy, education in schools, family education and support groups.

Former NAMI of Cache Valley president Wally Odd said even though all this helps, a crisis may still occur.

“When that comes, a call needs to be made just the same as we would for any other emergency,” explained Odd. “We need to know that when you make that call to 911 that our law enforcement people have crisis intervention teams that are trained in mental illness who are to de-escalate problems and situations and emotions.

“We do that training. There is crisis intervention team training that is done with law enforcement all the time.”

Both Odd and Simmons said they work closely with Bear River Mental Health and they are advocating with the Utah legislature in an effort to get more money to help more individuals.

The creation of a mental health court has also been extremely helpful in improving relations among agencies and, more importantly, helping those who suffer with mental health problems.

“We’re very fortunate to be a community that has an adult mental health court,” Odd said. “Speaking from experience and working with Judge Allen and all of the members of that court, we’ve got our law enforcement people in that court, Bear River Mental Health is a part of that court, a probation is a part of that court, organizations that can really help people with a mental illness.”

He said helping one with mental illness to know that he or she is not alone can even do a great deal to help.

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