Have you been taking care of your mental health? It’s more important than you may think. That’s why the National Alliance on Mental Illness, or NAMI for short, is coming to Caswell. NAMI is an advocacy group with the goals of promoting healthy mental lifestyles and providing support for families in crisis. They are looking to get involved with local youth service programs to help make the community stronger and more connected.


NAMI Affiliate President James Allegretto strongly advocates for the power of positive mental health, and its influence on your daily life. “Everybody has mental health,” he explains, “but it isn’t like what most people think it is.” Mental health is not a static, unchanging state of mind. It constantly changes throughout the day, shifting with your surroundings and circumstances. If you trip and fall down the stairs, your mental health will get worse. If you eat a tasty meal, your mental health will improve. The problem that NAMI looks to address is that people with mental illnesses tend to take longer to recover from mental health setbacks, and need support to start properly recovering in the first place.


Mental illnesses are a difficult problem to deal with, as they are hard to find in the first place. They are not like broken bones, where you can easily see the symptoms in another person. Most of the time, the only way to spot them is if people with concerns about their mental health reach out and communicate their issues. There is a lot of stigma revolving around mental illnesses, so it is important for every parent to make sure their children are comfortable talking with them about it.


Allegretto states that you should start seeking help for mental issues “as soon as you feel that you’re hitting a brick wall in life, if you haven’t been feeling yourself, and before it becomes a big issue.” One in five people have a mental health crisis in their lifetime, meaning roughly three thousand people in Caswell will have one at one point or another. This is why it is important to provide advocacy for mental health even if you don’t have any issues of your own, as it is likely that someone close to you does.


If you want to get involved with NAMI, you can call James at (336) 675-1300 or send an email to NAMI is also looking to bring monthly mental health support groups to Caswell, where people with mental health issues can come and discuss their problems. James is looking forward to spending more time with the community and to participating in more community events.


Everybody should feel comfortable coming and being a part of the conversation.


Even if you have no personal mental health issues, if you care about the community, you should care about mental health.


As published in The Caswell Messanger Apr 5, 2023