by Penny Levers
OAK HILL – May is “Mental Health Month” and the Austin Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has a calendar of relevant events in the Austin area—and for the first time, in Oak Hill. From a screening of a movie about postpartum depression, to a live storytelling show, to a series of short documentaries from the Mental Health Channel made in partnership with KLRU and the Texas Tribune, there are a lot options that are sure to be insightful.
Considering the fact that 1 in 5 adults in this country live with some form of mental illness, there are few families that are not to some extent affected by mental illness. In any given year, more than 1 person out of 25 will suffer from a Serious Mental Illness (SMI), which will result in “serious functional impairment, which substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities,” according to the National Institute of Mental Health. For people who are trying to come to grips with a family member’s diagnosis, the Austin chapter of NAMI has been offering free help in the form of support groups and classes. “Family-to-Family” is a 12-session program “designed to help family members understand and support loved ones living with mental illness, while maintaining their own well-being.” These classes are taught by family members experienced with having a loved one living with mental illness. For the first time ever, these classes will be offered in the Oak Hill area.
A 12-week session beginning June 6 will be held at St. Catherine of Sienna Catholic Church on Convict Hill Road. Sessions will last from 6:30 to 9 pm on Monday evenings and will convey the latest information on mental health disorders, including medications and side effects, current research on treatments, strategies for handling crises and guidance on locating services in the community. People can find out more and download a registration form at namiaustin.org or they can call Program Director Jessica Miller at 512-374-1335.
Wednesday, May 18
Mental Health Matters: How Innovative Programs & Policies Make a Difference
11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. FREE
State of Texas Capitol Auditorium, 1100 Congress Ave.
Get a first-hand look at a series of Mental Health Channel short documentaries made in partnership with KLRU and the Texas Tribune and scheduled for broadcast on KLRU in July. Mental Health Matters highlights innovative programs that are making a difference in addressing the mental health concerns of children, veterans and the justice system. Screening includes a panel of experts who will discuss the challenges of improving mental health outcomes in Texas.
Monday, May 23
“Breakdown to Brilliance” featuring Ryan Sheehy, 2016 SXSW Interactive Presenter
7:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. FREE
George Carver Museum’s Boyd Vance Theatre, 1165 Angelina St.
We’re taking our monthly Community Meeting on the road in May to celebrate our annual community award recipients and to feature Ryan Sheehy, a recent South by Southwest Interactive presenter. As founder of the Austin-based PR firm, SHEEHY creative, Ryan recently made it her mission to change the narrative surrounding mental illness with “Breakdown to Brilliance”, an opportunity to publicly reveal her lifelong battle with bipolar disorder on the SXSW stage. During her presentation she’ll debunk myths, offer ideas for achieving wellness and inspire a cultural shift.
Thursday, May 26
All in Your Head: True Tales of Struggles with Mental Health
7:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. $5
Testify Austin at the Spider House Ballroom, 2908 Fruth St.
Storytelling is one of the most effective ways to change minds and hearts. Testify Austin is a live monthly storytelling show, and in May they’re “Going Green” for Mental Health Month. All in Your Head: True Tales of Struggles with Mental Health will feature people’s heartfelt journeys with mental illness. You won’t want to miss this event!