The St. Tammany affiliate of National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI), along with St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce, will be presenting a special educational program "Choosing to Live Life Well: A CPA and Psychiatrist Share Their Stories of Struggle and Personal Change,” featuring Dr. Leanne Truehart and Jason Clausen, CPA. The program will be held Monday, September 24, 6:30 pm, at the Chamber office, 610 Hollycrest Blvd. in Covington.
Both will share their stories of struggle and recovery in an effort to raise public awareness about mental illness, reduce stigma and promote mental health and well being. Clausen and Truehart have both experienced mental illness, recovered and are willing to share their experience with other professionals. Clausen owns his own accounting firm in Michigan and is in recovery from bipolar disorder. Truehart, a psychiatrist in private practice on the Northshore, has struggled with depression and anxiety.
"It is estimated that one in four American adults will suffer from a diagnosable mental illness within a given year,” says Celeste Falconer, NAMI St. Tammany Board President. "Although most individuals living with a mental illness will not commit suicide, suicide prevention and mental health are two sides of the same coin. In order to truly be effective in conquering suicide, awareness and education concerning mental health is critical. With educational programs, like ‘Choosing to Live Life Well’ the stigma of mental illness can be overcome and replaced with the concepts of hope and recovery.”
NAMI St. Tammany’s mission is to increase awareness and advocate for families and persons with mental health illnesses. The mission is accomplished by envisioning prevention, education, and training as the primary pathways to better services and a healthier community. The St. Tammany West Chamber Board of Directors fully supports the efforts being made to address the mental health situation in our Parish.
Founded in 1979, the nonprofit organization NAMI has more than 1,100 state/local affiliates who seek equitable services for people with mental illnesses, which are known to be physical brain disorders. Working on the national, state, and local levels, NAMI provides education about brain disorders, supports increased funding research, and advocates for adequate health insurance, housing, rehabilitation, and jobs for people with psychiatric illnesses, as well as providing resources.
Recent advances in medical research, treatment, and recovery now enable individuals with mental disorders, such as depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, anxiety and other mood disorders to lead productive lives. Within the community, organized efforts are still needed. NAMI St. Tammany works to further this goal.
Earlier in the year a Chamber resolution was passed in support of the work being done by St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s office, as well as volunteer and governmental agencies including Volunteers of America, the Mental Health Association of St. Tammany, the St. Tammany Community Health Center and the 22nd Judicial District Court. "As the voice of business, I believe it is imperative that the Chamber supports families and community health care providers in their efforts to strengthen critical social and health-related pursuits that are so important to our members, their families, the vitality of our businesses, and our beloved Parish,” said Kieran Weldon, Chairman of the Board for the Chamber. The Chamber also recently held an open round table discussion on the impact of the closure of Southeast Hospital will have on our community. Parish leaders are working tirelessly to extend the date of the state’s closure and build partnerships to address its impact. For more information on the work of NAMI St. Tammany, please call 985-626-6538 or toll free 888-521-2297. To RSVP for the September 24 presentation, please call the Chamber’s reservation line at 985-892-3216, ext. 4.