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Tour calls attention to mental-illness discrimination

Published: Tue, August 12, 2014 @ 12:01 a.m.

NAMImobile brings awareness to mental-health discrimination


Katie Dillon speaks to a reporter about the purpose of the NAMImobile anti-discrimination tour. The recreational vehicle stopped in Boardman on Monday.

By Sean Barron | news@vindy.com


Robin Williams was a comic genius and an Academy Award-winning actor. His talents endeared him to millions.

But Williams, 63, who died Monday, apparently taking his life, suffered from depression, a mental illness. These other famous figures — President Abraham Lincoln, singer Kurt Cobain, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and writer Virginia Woolf — also dealt with mental illness yet were esteemed by many.

A much-larger number of people who have chronic depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other types of mental disorders, however, are stigmatized by many, a mental-health expert contends.

“One in four people [in Ohio] have a mental illness,” Katie Dillon noted. “But they are much less likely to be violent than victims of violence.”

Dillon, the children and youth outreach coordinator and media specialist for the National Association on Mental Illness, arrived Monday at 8302 Southern Blvd. in a 31-foot recreational vehicle as part of the 2014 Anti- Discrimination Against Mental Illness bus tour.

The NAMImobile is traveling statewide as part of a four-month tour that began in May. The purpose is to end what many in the mental-health field contend is discrimination against those with mental illness and better educate the public, Dillon said.

Discrimination against those with such challenges can be difficult to discern, though.

For example, someone who gets fired from a job might have had too many unexcused absences or disobeyed work rules, yet feel discriminated against because of the illness, she explained.

But many people with mental illness feel they are being stigmatized, which often leads to further depression, despair, anger and hopelessness.

The result can be prolonged hospitalization, employment loss and, in some cases, suicide and death, Dillon continued.

Nevertheless, “Your illness doesn’t define you,” she said.

Despite greater awareness of and better treatment for the problem, discrimination remains a serious issue, she said.

In a typical 40-hour workweek, the Columbus-based NAMI organization receives 15 to 20 complaints from people who feel they have experienced discrimination, Dillon noted.

“We’re moving in the right direction, but we’re far from where we want it to be,” she said.

Dillon added that NAMI’s main office has established a helpline for people who have questions related to the mental-health system, wish to further understand their rights and request additional resources.

The bus tour, which wraps up at month’s end, has reached out to an estimated 264,000 people throughout Ohio, partly through media efforts, Dillon said, noting that she expects the NAMImobile to visit all 53 of the state’s mental-health boards, as well as 75 communities.

For information and resources, call NAMI at 800-686-2646 or visit its website, www.namiohio.org.


1concerned(231 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

Pharma front group.


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2poland21(106 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

NAMI is not a pharma front group.

Like most "illness" organizations, they do receive funding from pharma - but where else are they supposed to get it? MH funds are cut every year from State and Local governments. Treatment providers can barely make ends meet, and have no money left over to use for community training and advocacy.

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3walter_sobchak(2418 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

The organization received $23M over a two year period from big pharma. This is a drop in the bucket for these companies when compared to their advertizing budgets. The intent of the group is to end the discrimination and reduce the stigma for those that are mentally ill. Society can easily accept someone with a physical malady, such as cancer, diabetes, or even epilepsy. It is also easy to accept people with Downe's Syndrome. But, someone is bi-polar or has a chemical imbalance in the brain? This is just a lack of self-control or maybe self-inflicted and can't be accepted. Mental illness has a very dark underbelly that most people don't comprehend. Learn about it.

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4concerned(231 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

Ah Walter you stopped before saying 23 million in that time period was 75% of their donations.

Since neither of you bothered to actually read the article I linked here is a little info...

Rather, these groups—while raking in millions of Pharma dollars each year—frenetically lobby Congress and state governments to channel billions more taxpayers dollars into mental health programs that benefit the industry that funds them — not the patients they claim to represent. Among the issues these groups have supported include forced drugging of patients, endorsement and promotion of psychiatric drugs documented to be dangerous and lethal, mental health screening of all school children, drugging and electroshock treatment for pregnant women. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. These groups have also done all they can to suppress and/or minimize any workable alternative non-drug method (e.g. Soteria House a proven and workable non-drug treatment for those diagnosed “schizophrenic”/psychotic) that threaten their multi-billion dollar psycho-pharmaceutical empire.

It is for this reason, and the disingenuous nature of many of these groups, that we are exposing their conflicts of interests because a patients’ rights group should be dedicated to patients—not the vested interests of the psycho/pharmaceutical industry. Big Pharma admits it gets more bang for its buck from funding these front groups than it does from spending on direct-to-consumer marketing (DTC).


I suggest people read the full article to be completely informed about who NAMI really is and what organizations are out there that are not pharma front groups in case you or a loved one needs assistance and support

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5walter_sobchak(2418 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

Ah "concerned", I did read the article but, as I have a son in medical research at OSU, I also realize that funding from "big Pharma" is essential in our system. The very first graduate school class he took there was "grant writing" and they are required to submit a certain amount of applications. My point is that the $23M is chump change for the companies when compared to their overall scheme and the article deals with mental-health discrimination. You seem surprised that companies have selfish motives.

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6concerned(231 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

That is not the point at all Walter although you keep trying to make it.

Again, you must have skipped even reading the two paragraphs above your last comment.

I disagree that is how things should work. Industry has a stranglehold on our healthcare. Right or wrong. And in my experience it is very wrong.

Who do you think is the number one lobby group in DC? I bet you can guess.....


If you think "medicine" should be for sale I strongly disagree. And nothing pharma does surprises me. I woke up to this after my son became "autistic" after a series of vaccines. That stole his health, ability to speak, and quality of life.

So, I posted my comment to alert people to who NAMI really is and they are definitely more interested in their own profits than truly helping people. There are other organizations that are patient centered and not profit centerered.

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7cambridge(3615 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

Walter....its interesting that you're for treating mental illness and are also a fan of ronald reagan who thought nothing of throwing the mentally ill out on the streets when he cut state funding while being governor of California.

Gilead Sciences sells their hepatitis C drug for one thousand dollars a pill. A twelve week treatment will cost $84,000 and some people will need twice that for their treatment. Pony up or die, that's what big pharm. is about.

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