By Paula Verrett, NAMI Fox Valley’s Recovery Specialist
Have you ever been at a loss for words when you’ve wanted to express your support for someone struggling with a mental illness? Or, perhaps you’ve searched in vain among the racks of store greeting cards, only to come up empty handed.
NAMI Fox Valley is hoping to change that. On Saturday, July 20, we invite NAMI friends and participants to our special Art from the Heart card making workshop. Art from the Heart is NAMI Fox Valley’s ongoing series of recovery-focused creative arts workshops. Our next workshop is planned from 1-3:30 p.m. , July 20 at the Atlas Coffee Mill & Cafe (425 W. Water St., inside the historic Atlas Mill).
Our plan is to dream up and create greeting cards with verses that will bring comfort to those who are hurting because of mental illness. We often refer to mental illness as the no casserole disease, because it can be rare when friends and neighbors will stop by with a card and casserole after someone has been hospitalized due to psychiatric illness, is in the depths of major depression, or has been struggling through a medication change, for example.
Sadly, because of stigma, it can be awkward and uncomfortable for people to openly address mental illness. Many people just don’t know what to say, for fear they will offend or say the wrong thing. So they say nothing. But that silence hurts.
If you’ve been impacted by mental illness, we invite you to the workshop to help us create the cards. What words would you want to hear if you or a loved one were hurting, in crisis or in the hospital? Our hope is to develop several cards that we will have printed and then sell as a fundraiser for NAMI Fox Valley.
We hope you can join us for coffee, conversation and creativity as we come up with just the right words to offer comfort and hope to others. If you plan on attending, call us at 920-954-1550 to register. Our weekly Saturday Coffee Clutch meeting will follow at 3:30 p.m. at the cafe.