As Calaveras County moves forward with long-overdue housing and employment services for people with mental illnesses, I would like to share a message from a poster on the wall of the NAMI Gold Country office in Angels Camp:

“Know me as a person

Not by my mental illness

We are your friends, neighbors and family

We improve and recover

We deserve dignity and respect”

The poster has faded over the years, but the message speaks clearly to us today. It is time to reject the stigma and misunderstanding connected with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, PTSD and other disorders. No one chooses to have a mental illness. Treatment works, but people in need often don’t seek help because they fear being labeled and misunderstood. Let’s stop using the term “the mentally ill,” and instead see people who deserve care, compassion and support.

Pat Davis,

NAMI Gold Country

Local Affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness


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