The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 2011 Joplin tornado

August 22, 2012

Mike Pound: We’ve come a long way in understanding mental illness

For far too long, we have had a weird take on mental illness in this country.

We either joked about it or pretended it didn’t exist, and if we ran across someone suffering from mental illness, we hid them from view.

Despite what some politicians say, we have evolved. Over the years, we’ve learned to treat mental illness and those who suffer from it with respect. We’ve learned that mental illness is real, that it’s not a stigma, that it’s not something to be mocked or ignored. We’ve realized that mental illness can strike anyone at any time.

We’ve also learned that mental illness often doesn’t affect just its victims. It also hits the families and friends of those suffering. So now, when we treat mental illness, we don’t just treat the victims, we treat their families.

To be sure, we’re not perfect. For a number of reasons, too many people who need help still aren’t getting that help. But we’re doing better. And there are a lot of folks out there working every day to see to it that we continue to get better at treating mental illness. That includes the folks at the Joplin chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

The goal of NAMI Joplin is to continue breaking down the stigma associated with mental illness by providing education, support, encouragement and information to those affected and to the community. It’s not enough to just treat mental illness; it’s also important to see to it that the community understands and reaches out to those dealing with brain disorders.

It’s not an easy job, but it’s a vital job.

I don’t know this for a fact, but I’m guessing that a lot of people in the Joplin area have a different take on mental illness today than they might have had before May 22, 2011. I’m guessing that a lot of people experienced a lot of things during and after the tornado that still bother them. What I’m hoping is that they were able to find someone to help them. I’m also hoping that they were not made to feel as if something was wrong with them. I’m hoping that they felt comfortable talking about what was bothering them, and if they did, I’m thinking the dedicated folks at NAMI Joplin can take some credit for that.

Like a lot of organizations that do good work, NAMI Joplin is a not-for-profit agency.

I’ve always wondered how this country can raise $1 billion to elect a president, but we never seem to have enough money to share with not-for-profit agencies. Most of the time, the phrase “not-for-profit” is a fancy way of saying “just barely getting by.”

But wondering about things like that doesn’t do any good.

What does some good is helping out these agencies whenever we can. And if you play golf, you have a chance to help out NAMI Joplin by signing up to play in the group’s 10th annual charity golf scramble.

The scramble gets under way at 8 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18, at Joplin’s Schifferdecker Golf Course. The cost for individual golfers is $60, and that includes green fees and lunch. To enter, people may call 417-781-2519. Several sponsorship opportunities are still available.

Cash prizes and numerous other prizes will be awarded during the tournament

For more information, people may visit www.namijoplin.org

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May 2011 Joplin tornado
  • Local new-home construction catches up to previous pace

    After a slow start early in this fiscal year for Joplin, the construction of new houses has resumed at the pace that existed in fiscal year 2013, when permits for new houses averaged more than 16 per month. Since November, the beginning of Joplin’s fiscal year, permits for 118 houses have been issued for a total cost of $12.8 million. The average value has been about $108,000.

    June 11, 2014

  • 052212 unity walk1_72.jpg SLIDESHOW: One year later, One day of unity, updated Photos from a day of events commemorating the May 22, 2011 tornado anniversary

    May 22, 2012 1 Photo

  • 060314 Farmers rebuild 1_72.jpg Farmers Insurance writes manual based on experience from Joplin disaster recovery

    Joplin’s housing recovery from the 2011 tornado is one for the books. Jeff Dailey, CEO of Farmers Insurance, announced Tuesday that not only will Farmers Insurance stick with Rebuild Joplin to repair and replace the homes left on the local group’s waiting list, but the company also will kick off a similar recovery effort today for the city of Sea Bright, New Jersey, based on a book it has written to expedite disaster recovery that is based on its experience in Joplin.

    June 3, 2014 2 Photos

  • r052214butterflygarden.jpg New park feature opens on tornado anniversary to encourage healing

    Cunningham Park has become an emotional place for Pamela Praytor. The name of her son, Christopher Lucas, is engraved on a monument that stands in the park in memory of the 161 people who were killed in the May 2011 tornado. “Even though I cry when I come, it’s OK,” she said. “It’s part of the healing.”

    May 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • r051214greenbldgs3.jpg Home, business cited as examples of energy efficiency, strength

    Ramona and Charles “Hugh’’ Shields were not the least bit reluctant on Monday to open their new house in the tornado zone to a bunch of strangers who had a lot of questions. “I used to live in a house where I had to wear two pairs of socks in the winter to keep my feet warm — not anymore,’’ said Ramona Shields. “This house is nice and warm in the winter, and nice and cool in the summer.’’

    May 12, 2014 2 Photos

  • Mercy Health System to receive $23 million FEMA grant

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency will provide Mercy Health System of Joplin with $23 million in public assistance funding by the end of the year. The disaster relief was announced Friday by U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill.

    April 25, 2014

  • Respond With Love flower.jpg Joplin pays it forward with flowers; residents asked to return bulbs ‘fostered’ for other towns

    Suzan Morang’s front yard bloomed brightly last year from a colorful array of bulbs that she will happily pass on to someone else this year. Morang, 1207 Xenia Court, is a participant in America Responds With Love, a national nonprofit organization that distributes bulbs to disaster-stricken cities.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Creator of Joplin-based ‘Dear World’ exhibit features Boston bombing victims in new work

    The messages written on the skin of some Boston Marathon victims may be different, but Joplin residents will recognize the handwriting. Robert X. Fogarty, the creator of the “Dear World: From Joplin with Love” exhibit, took his signature style of photography and inspiration to Boston. Fogarty traveled to Joplin in 2011 and took pictures of community members with inspirational messages written on their bodies in black ink.

    April 21, 2014

  • r041414wildwood.jpg Opening of nursing home another recovery milestone

    Gladys Dutton has done a lot of things in her life, but Monday’s dedication of the Communities at Wildwood Ranch nursing home marked a first. “I’ve never cut a ribbon before,” she said. “I hope I do a good job.” Dutton was one of four residents to participate in the opening of the $8.5 million nursing center that eventually will be home to 120 people.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Joplin Redevelopment Corp. preparing for first property sale

    The first sale of property from the Joplin Redevelopment Corp. to Wallace Bajjali Development Partners is scheduled for May 16. The city staff will be working to prepare for that sale, it was discussed on Tuesday at a meeting of the JRC.

    April 9, 2014

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