FEATURED SPEAKER - JANUARY 3, 2012
 
Gini Woodward, National Alliance on Mental Illness
 
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Gini Woodward, our first speaker of the new year 2012, is no stranger to Rotary, having shared a variety of programs in the past.  These have encompassed items of information concerning the Boundary County Museum -- the museum's existing and proposed design upgrades, the 2011 Smithsonian Exhibit and its historical perspective.

Gini spoke about her personal experience related to mental illness in her family.  Her daughter was an outstanding student in high school both scholastically and in extra-curricular activities.  Admitted to Eastern Washington State University in 1987 on a Presidential Scholarship, Debbie sustained a mental breakdown.  Gini has been involved with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) since then.  NAMI is described on its website http://www.nami.org as “the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI advocates for access to services, treatment, supports and research and is steadfast in its commitment to raising awareness and building a community of hope for all of those in need.  From its inception in 1979, NAMI has been dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness.”  NAMI provides easy to understand information about mental illnesses, mental health care, diagnosis, treatment and recovery.           

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During her description of her encounters with mental illness, Gini provided information about  NAMI Far North in Sandpoint that she became involved with several years ago.  She referenced the terms CIT (Crisis Intervention Training) and F2F (Family to Family ) training.  Additionally, she addressed problems associated with first responders who have had little or no training in initially diagnosing and treating mental illness.  Information was also shared regarding the difficulties finding correct medications to treat mental illness and as well as appropriate ways to handle the stigma associated with mental illness.          

Gini described the Far North Chapter of NAMI’s upcoming 12-week Family-to-Family education program being offered free of charge for families and friends of individuals with mental illness.  The classes are being offered in the Panhandle Health Classroom on Caribou in Bonners Ferry from February 6 through April 23, 2012 every Monday evening from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m..  Course topics include family responses to the trauma of mental illness, problem solving workshops, medication review, available rehabilitation services, and dealing with the many different forms of mental disorders and illnesses.

 
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