Western’s library, the Learning Resources Center will feature speaker Linda Magouirk from the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) and Pioneer Alumna on Sept. 25 at 10 a.m. in the LRC’s reading lounge. Topics covered in her address will include depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress syndrome. The event is free and the community is cordially invited to attend.
Magouirk, who was in the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, Scholars for Excellence in Child Care Program, completed Western’s Child Development Assistant Certificate of Mastery in 2010. She is now President of NAMI Caring Families of Southwest Oklahoma based in Lawton and an ordained minister in the Church of God.
According to the organization’s website at nami.org
NAMI is 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, support and research and is steadfast in its commitment to raise awareness and build a community for hope for all of those in need.
NAMI is the foundation for hundreds of NAMI State Organizations, NAMI Affiliates and volunteer leaders who work in local communities across the country to raise awareness and provide essential and free education, advocacy and support group programs.
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and some of the mental illnesses most commonly associated with suicide include depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, personality disorders, anxiety disorders and eating disorders. “These are very important topics for campuses because individuals with major mental illness are first diagnosed in the ages between 15 and 24. With the stressors that are in college that becomes a time when people are diagnosed with major mental illnesses. Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are more frequently diagnosed in the college years. 1 in 4 individuals have mental illness, therefore most people you meet have a mental illness or know someone with a mental illness,” said Magouirk.
Magouirk will also address Post Traumatic Stress Disorder during her session. She says of PTSD, “A traumatic event that causes symptoms of PTSD does not have to have happened yesterday. It could be anytime of life from childhood to adulthood. This is to encompass any kind of trauma such as physical, emotional or sexual abuse. Different things can trigger different people for them to relive the trauma. We always need to be prepared to help people and to identify those people, not to stigmatize them, but to help them get treatment.”
“PTSD is a very important subject. It’s important for communities to address this issue. Traditionally, military people suffer from the stigma of coming out and speaking from their superiors who say “let’s put them out of military service,” whereas they still need treatment and recovery is possible with treatment.”
Magouirk wants those who may be suffering from anxiety, depression or PTSD to know, “Treatment does work. It comes in different forms. whether it’s making you aware of what’s happening, seeking out professionals for help or in the form of medication or therapy. It’s important for us to talk through those things so that we are better able to handle our lives, to be a person in recovery living with mental illness.’
For more information about NAMI and its services, please visit nami.org