SALT LAKE CITY, Utah: Making mental health a priority, especially during such a challenging year, has never been so important. May is Mental Health Awareness Month and the Utah National Mental Illness Alliance is hosting its 18th annual NAMIWalk Your Way fundraiser on Saturday, May 22 to break the stigma of mental illness and improve the lives of people living with mental illness helping them to know are not alone.
This walk will be held virtually this year with the option for participants to walk alone or join online events such as cardio and group yoga classes.
Peter Cornish, 62, of Murray, is grateful to have connected with NAMI years ago. He has dealt with chronic depression for more than half of his life. When he was about twenty, he began to get more anxious and had trouble sleeping and concentrating. At the time I was working on an incredibly stressful job in computer software.
Finally, she broke up during a date with a doctor over an unrelated topic when she was first referred to a psychologist.
“When you’re depressed, everything is gray, everything is hard,” he explained. “My self-esteem is gone.”
NAMI offers peer support groups for those with mental health issues, as well as caregivers and relatives of those affected. “All the people who suffer and all the people who support the people who suffer – we’re walking, you know, a lifetime,” he said.
Cornish said his connection to other people who are also struggling with mental illness has been essential to their overall well-being. Through peer support groups, which he now facilitates, he found a sense of identity knowing that he is not alone.
“The disease is very difficult because I feel like I’m crazy and no one understands me, and with NAMI, we all have different experiences, but we share some things in common and that’s, I think, the most important thing is to be around other people you can relate to, ”Cornish said.
Cornish has also relied on medication, conversation and electroconvulsive therapy, journaling, exercise, meditation and the company of his wife, Ann, children and the sweet dog, Nala.
He acknowledges that his illness will probably not be cured, but he has learned to face it and find the good in life.
“I’ll probably be on medication my whole life and have more depressive episodes, but I can handle it,” he said.
Cornish urged others to seek the help they need. For him, life has changed.
“When you get out of depression, life is much more beautiful. You can see colors, smell smells, feel love, ”he described.
Cornish invites everyone who is looking for help to participate in the Saturday walk and connect with other people who also understand it. The funds raised will go to free tutorials, support groups, peer-to-peer courses and suicide prevention efforts.
Everyone can sign up for free here.