NAMI Southwest Iowa is a newly, developed organization that has obtained local affiliation. This organization will serve Cass, Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Monona, Montgomery, Page, Pottawattamie and Shelby counties.

NAMI Southwest Iowa will work to achieve a community which is stigma free by: increasing public awareness about mental illness and providing advocacy, support and education to individuals and families impacted by mental illness.

Currently, NAMI Southwest Iowa members have been meeting in various locations throughout southwest Iowa to build membership and participation for the organization. We are in the process of establishing Board Members and hiring a part-time SWIA NAMI Director.



Thinking about our Upcoming Family to Family Class?

Family-to-Family: A Father’s Perspective

By Frank Ryan

Guys, for some strange reason, historically let the gals do the heavy-duty learning when mental illness strikes the family. And that’s got to end. It’s past time for the fellas to get involved.

I wish someone would have wised me up a decade ago while I was regaling one of our sons who has mental illness with all sorts of stupid advice. I wrote about it in the Iris a few years ago as a sort of personal confession and as an awakening—an epiphany brought on by Family-to-Family.

While our son was trapped in the abyss, as an act of despondency and desperation, I took the Family-to-Family Course. It was one of the wisest moves I ever made. And that’s no exaggeration.

In Family-to-Family I learned about mental illness—no-fault mental illness—and the pain that people like my son were going through. I learned that I oversimplified his situation. I learned to appreciate his courage. I learned to deal with stigma in a healthy way. And that learning process helped save my marriage and relations with our other children.

Things have changed dramatically since the experience with Family-to-Family . . . taught by my wife Claire, by the way.

Claire and I stopped arguing about the illness and its effects. We promised our son that we would never abandon him, no matter what. Our other children came together on the situation and offered major support. We all helped.

Today, nearly 20 years after his first diagnosis of schizophrenia, and after years of painful difficulty, the miracle has happened.

With the right medication and with amazing support from case managers, psychiatrists, and his Consumer Support Program, our son is doing great. He’s back in college—even made the Dean’s List. He works part-time, participates in sports, watches his diet, doesn’t drink alcohol, doesn’t take illicit drugs, and is active in volunteer work, including participation on NAMI’s Consumer Council.