Local Support Groups
Alcoholics Anonymous 349-4410.
Anxiety Support Group meets every Thursday at Delano Clinic. Please register by calling 321-7090 or 226-5600.
ASK (Advocacy Services for Kids) Parent Support Group for parents of a child with an emotional disorder meets first Monday of each month 5:30-7pm, call to register 343-5896.
DBSA (Depression & Bipolar Support Alliance) Support Group 1st,2nd & 3rd Mondays of each month from 7-9pm at Chapel Hill United Methodist Church , S.W. corner of Romence Rd and Oakland Drive in Portage for adults. Contact Dave Miner 324-0049 for additional information.
DBSA (Depression & Bipolar Support Alliance) Support Group 1st and 3 rd Mondays of each month from 7-9 pm same location as above, for middle school through college age, facilitated by a psychologist. Contact Dave Miner 324-0049 for additional information.
Gryphon Place -24 hour crisis and referral service -Emergency Line: 269-381-HELP
National Crisis Line 1-800-SUICIDE
KCMHSAS (Kalamazoo Community Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services) Family Support Group is for families that have a loved one with a mental illness. We meet at 418 W. Kalamazoo Ave, Community Mental Health Bldg, 7pm, the 2nd Wed of each month. Contact Mari McKinlay 276-0207 for additional information.
NAMI of Kalamazoo offers one on one support by calling - Ann Bonevich 349-8444, Mike Kenny 343-6952 or Tom Belco 685-8243.
Narcotics Anonymous 382-6262.
Schizophrenics Anonymous meets every Wednesday evening 6-7 at Pathways, 119 West Vine St. Public is welcome to attend.
Second Time Around, a support group for grandparents (family members) raising grandchildren. For additional information please call Joyce Stout 384-8054.
Survivors of Suicide Support Group is the last Thursday of each month. Please call Judy Whitehurst at (269)381-1510 for more information. This group is for those who have lost a loved one through suicide
Dealing with an Unwelcome Guest
When we were visited with the unwelcome quest of serious mental illness in our mid-twenty year old son's life, we did not know what to do first. He had not lived at home for the past six years and we found out that we had no control over his medical or financial matters. A traumatic incident turned into a disaster and we had no knowledge of the resources available and how to proceed to correct the situation. Here are some of the steps that we discovered were useful handling the situation.
1) Contact Local NAMI and County Mental Health Services - Through both, many resources became available. We learned about the various programs, for example treatment and outpatient care, for which our son was eligible. Also through NAMI we met others who were able to provide us with support, guidance and help with crisis planning.
2) Contact an Attorney - If the consumer is having serious financial problems and refuses to discuss medication and treatment, contact an attorney who deals with family and probate matters.
a) Guardianship - They will help you set up a partial guardianship for medical and treatment purposes only. This will let you become part of the treatment team and all caregivers are obligated to share information with you. This will allow you to become a better advocate for the consumer.
b) Conservatorship - The attorney will also help you obtain a full conservatorship. This permits you to talk to all creditors and handle all finances. The Conservator will then control all assets and any checks made to the consumer can be deposited in an account under the conservator's control. It is important to know that you will not assume any debts that the consumer has or makes in the future.
3) Make Sure That You Stay Actively Involved - It is important to continue talking with County Mental Health Services, NAMI and the caregivers. Keeping informed will allow you to ensure that all avenues of resources and treatment are being exercised. Family resources, like Families in Action, Family Support Services and Support Groups, will help you personally deal with the serious mental illness of your loved one.
I hope this brief outline helps and that you will find that the more you become involved with the treatment of your loved one and others, the more knowledgeable and supportive you will become - a true advocate for the seriously mentally ill.
Presented by an anonymous parent.