Community leaders spread mental health awareness

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – Community members along with the National Alliance on Mental Illness in

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – Community members along with the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Northern Illinois come together to share stories and spread awareness around the topics of mental illness and mental health.

“All of us who are on our journey really have an opportunity to make the world a better place,” Wester Wuori with the City of Rockford said.

Across the world, people spend October 10th taking care of themselves spreading awareness, and attacking negative dialogue when it comes to mental illness.

“What could I do to normalize being able to ask for help, when we’re in this darkness of struggling with either mental illness or different forms of mental illness how could we normalize this and break that stigma?” Owner of KP Counseling Kevin Polky said.

In 2001 Polky opened his business to help people in the region and the counseling service that started with just him has only grown

“On average we’re seeing and serving about 800 clients per week and that is a big part of what we’re trying to do either helping individuals with addiction, a variety of forms of mental illness, trauma as well as grief,” Polky said.

Jeanette Towns is a mental health activist who says she experienced some challenges.

“As I look back I can now see that I was often anxious or fearful,” said Towns “I can remember a feeling of dread or doom.”

After a road to recovery, Towns joined NAMI and takes pride in helping those who need it.

“Upon recovery, I was offered a full-time position taking care of eight mentally ill clients a day that was my best job ever,” Towns said.

Towns is now a public speaker who helps community members online and through her Facebook page.

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