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Workshops put focus on understanding mental illness
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Turlock Unified School District, in partnership with the National Alliance on Mental Illness, will present a series of workshops that will highlight mental illnesses and start a discussion on complex mental health issues. The first one, titled “In Our Own Voice,” will provide an introductory understanding of mental illness by featuring speakers who have dealt with or are currently dealing with mental illnesses themselves.

“This workshop is meant to put a human face on a very complex topic and get a discussion started in order to better understand mental illness,” said TUSD program specialist Matthew Devins.

The workshop will be presented by NAMI volunteers and will introduce different types of mental illnesses, while offering characteristics of each. The volunteers, many of which suffer from mental illness or have a family member who has been diagnosed, will be available to answer any questions that participants might have.

Stressing the need for overall education regarding mental illness, Devins hopes that guests will walk away from this workshop understanding that people who suffer from mental illness are just like everybody else.

“I am always upfront in discussing my anxiety and depression so that people can see that I am still successful and have a family, but there are still things that are trying to weigh me down,” said Devins.

Since 1979, NAMI has been addressing the stigma of mental illness and advocating for mental health throughout the country. With the goal of building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness, the organization is committed to raising awareness by providing access to services and treatment.

The “In Our Own Voice” workshop will be the first of a series of workshops to be hosted by TUSD to raise awareness regarding mental illness. Offering two sessions free of charge, the “In Our Voice” workshop will convene in room 102 at the Turlock Unified School District Office on Thursday. The morning session is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. and the evening session will begin at 6 p.m. Translation will be provided for both morning and evening sessions. Child care will be provided for the evening session. 

Guests are invited to reconvene on Oct. 9 for the “Parents and Teachers as Allies” workshop and again on Nov. 13 for the “Ending the Silence” workshop.