Week’s events fight stigma, raise awareness about mental illness



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The first week in October is Mental Illness Awareness Week, a nationwide public awareness campaign spearheaded by NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, reminding us that there is real hope of recovery for all.

This year, NAMI Yolo has chosen the theme “Home, Work and Recovery” to recognize the roles of safe, pleasant homes and meaningful work in successful recoveries from mental health challenges.

Each year, NAMI fights stigma, provides support, educates the public and advocates for equal care. Local education and support programs can be found at www.namiyolo.org.

“Each year, millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental health condition, as one in five U.S. adults will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime,” a NAMI spokesman says. “However, everyone is affected or impacted by mental illness through friends and family.”

Free community events planned in Yolo County during Mental Illness Awareness Week include:

* Rally for “Home, Work & Recovery,” 5:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 2, at Heritage Plaza, Second and Main streets in Woodland. The event will honor Dedré Rodriguez and Richard Gustafson.

* Interfaith candle-lighting ceremony, noon Tuesday, Oct. 3, at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, 640 Hawthorn Lane in Davis.

* “In Our Own Voice,” compelling personal stories of recovery, 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4, at the Woodland Community & Senior Center, 2001 East St. in Woodland. Seating is limited; call 530-756-8181 for reservations.

Launching the week’s programs at the rally, NAMI will recognize Rodriguez and Gustafson, both of whom are widely respected for their dedicated work in supportive housing and employment. Woodland Mayor Angel Barajas will lead with a proclamation and introduce NAMI Yolo’s new executive director, Becky Rush.

Rodriguez, the supportive housing honoree, operates Pine Tree Gardens East House, a Turning Point Community Program founded by pioneering mental health services advocate Pat Williams. Rodriguez, her family and staff strive to make living at Pine Tree East as close as possible to Williams’…