Awareness about mental illness spread

Awareness about mental illness spreadIn an attempt to raise awareness about mental illness, dozens of people walked through Sunday.

Holding candles and a banner that read, `Lighting the path to understanding', they walked along Minnesota Avenue.

Sponsored by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Sioux Falls, Sunday marked the 18th annual Candle Light Vigil and Walk.

Susan Clift, the local group's president said, "It feels good; we brought some light in to the darkness."

Including a prayer service at First Lutheran Church, music and speakers, the event was held in honor of National Mental Illness Awareness Week and it drew about 50 walkers.

Advances and tools available for mental illness recovery were discussed by Dr. Jarod Giger of the University of South Dakota. Personal story of living with mental illness was shared by NAMI Sioux Falls member Barb Crayne.

Clift, who was diagnosed 29 years ago with bipolar disorder and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, said, "My goal is to advocate for change and end the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness."

To improve the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness, the organization's mission is to provide hope, education, support and outreach.