Joan, 95

(2/2) “After my children were grown, I became interested in mental health, and from there I became very interested in a group called NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. I was on the board and I was a representative of the VA. The reason I got interested in NAMI was because my two sons had gone to Vietnam and came back quite disturbed, and they are still very ill. The reason I didn’t completely object to them going into the service was because they went into the Coast Guard and we thought it meant they would stay in the Continental U.S. And the other reason was, I thought they would get an education by being in the service. That was a long time ago. I got a letter from them at different times and they said they were going to Hawaii. I thought that was nice, but going to Hawaii meant they were on the way to Vietnam. I didn’t know it was a stop over. One thing I’d like to stress is what NAMI does. They have wonderful programs. It started off just for families and it became a lot more involved. They had a group called Family to Family and it’s a 12-week course where you learn about different illnesses and how to act comfortably with the person with the illness. It’s really incredible.”

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