PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — A stubborn coastal storm forced the cancellation of a public event that was supposed to shine a light on a problem that affects many families.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Coastal Virginia, had planned to walk in the Neptune Festival Parade in Virginia Beach and it was going to set up a booth on the boardwalk. That will have to wait another year. But, for NAMI, there’s no time to wait for people who are crying out for help.
Last week in Tulsa Oklahoma, the top prosecutor was stabbed. His daughter is the suspect. 2013, in Bath county, Virginia State Senator Creigh Deeds was stabbed by his son, who later committed suicide. A few years earlier a local father was attacked.
“His son inflicted so much harm, put him in the hospital for numerous days and basically tried to kill him. Those stories are everywhere,” said Susannah Uroskie, president of the board for NAMI, Coastal Virginia.
NAMI, Coastal Virginia is writing the next chapter on mental illness in Hampton Roads.
“At NAMI, we advocate, we educate and we support. We do that for those who live with mental illness, but also for their families,” said Uroskie.
In addition to her role at NAMI, Uroskie’s other title is Alexa’s proud mother. Alexa loves dance, art, and writing. She is also a mental illness survivor advocate. A crisis earlier this year required police intervention.
“We probably came in contact with 10-12 officers over a 36-hour period and they were all well versed in the de-escalation language and their body language. They were very helpful”, said Uroskie.
But that’s not always the case. That’s why NAMI, Coastal Virginia, is educating the public about the many faces of mental illness.
Uroskie gives this advice to the mentally ill and the people who love them. “You are not alone. There are so many families that are going through what you are going through or have experienced it and there is support for you.”
The NAMI Coastal Virginia helpline is available MONDAY-FRIDAY from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Call 757-499-2041