NAMI provides important service to people in need

“Sometimes in our lives we all have pain, we all have sorrow. But if we are wise, we know that there’s always tomorrow. Lean on me, when you’re not strong, and I’ll be your friend. I’ll help you carry on.”

Those supportive words are the lyrics to a song called “Lean on Me,” released in 1972 by musical artist Bill Withers.

Dark days can often be made brighter by something as simple as having someone to talk to, a cathartic release of emotions.

Support groups are a good means of accomplishing that, and that’s exactly what the National Alliance on Mental Illness Alger/Marquette is offering.

NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization with the mission of building better lives for the millions of Americans who live with, or know someone who lives with a mental illness.

The local NAMI chapter hosts support groups the second Monday and third Thursday of the month at 7 p.m. in the Baraga Place conference room, located at 128 W. Baraga Ave., Marquette. Special educational meetings are held January, February, March, April and May, and then again in September, October and November on the last Monday of the month, unless it falls on a holiday.

The meetings are free and confidential. For more information, visit www.namiam.org.

Empathy and acceptance are good skills all of us should probably learn to use a little better, and understanding how to cope with mental illnesses or a loved one’s condition is a goal that is without a doubt worth pursuing.

Mental illnesses can certainly feel overwhelming, and maybe even a burden on our friends and family. But the situation is only exacerbated if one’s knowledge of the disease is limited.

Talking with other people who are in similar situations as yourself will help, as education, understanding and acceptance are all part of the equation.

Having someone to lean on in troubling times is a blessing. And no matter how difficult your situation may seem, it’s important to note that you are not alone.

When you’re not strong, lean on NAMI.