Spirit of Acadiana: Walking to Understand

Hopes Are That NAMIWalks Event Opens Door to Discussion
Posted at 6:25 PM, Oct 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-04 19:48:04-04

LAFAYETTE, La. — At the track at Teurlings Catholic High this Saturday morning, a lot of people will be moving their feet: left, right, left, right, repeat. And it's all for a good cause.

"So it's a 5K walk for mental illness," explains Rose Seach, NAMIWalks Acadiana manager. "To raise awareness about mental illness."

The host organization is NAMI---- the National Alliance on Mental Illness. And while walking and having fun and fundraising are parts of Saturday morning's event, the ultimate goal is to use those elements to bring the discussion about mental illness out of the shadows.

"And the more we can talk about it," continues Seach, "we can bring down all those ugly stigmas that surround it, and then we can help our community understand what mental illness really is, change their view on mental illness."

Why does NAMI and this NAMIWalks gathering matter? Eighteen years ago, NAMI's Karen DuBois watched her daughter battle mental illness. DuBois wishes she'd had more information so she could have done a better job of handling an escalating situation in the family.

"I'll admit that to this day, we're still suffering the consequences of what I did when I didn't understand mental illness and what was happening," says DuBois.

There will be a lot of feet moving. And students--- college, high school, maybe even younger—-can benefit from the doors that will open, the discussions that will happen Saturday morning, 9 a.m. to Noon at the Teurlings Catholic football stadium and track in Lafayette.

NAMIWalks may provide the perfect opportunity for perhaps.. NAMI... TALKS?? Could be.

"Mental illness is not talked about," adds DuBois. "It's the big secret in the family. and some people don't find out about the mental illness in the family until the funeral. And that's too late. We can't have that."

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