What many people do not realize is that one in four adults will be diagnosed with a mental illness, and one in ten children will be diagnosed with a serious emotional disorder.

The mission of the National Alliance on Mental Illness is to raise awareness and erase the stigma associated with this common disorder.

The good news is this: NAMI offers a unique program called "Connections."  The support group meets once a week at three different locations.  People with a mental illness are encouraged to attend and if they prefer---participate in the discussion.

Connections has 12 principles of support:

1.  We will see the individual first, not the illness.

2.  We recognize that mental illnesses are medical illnesses, that may have environmental triggers.

3.  We understand that mental illnesses are traumatic events.

4.  We aim for better coping skills.

5.  We find strength in sharing experiences.

6.  We reject stigma and do not tolerate discrimination.

7.  We won't judge anyone's pain as less than our own.

8.  We forgive ourselves and reject guilt.

9.  We embrace humor as healthy.

10. We accept we cannot solve all problems.

11.  We expect a better future in a realistic way.

12.  We will never give up hope.

The Connections Support Groups meet:

Sunday 6-7:30pm at 1st Congregational Church, 11th and Minnesota

Monday 3:30-5pm at Avera Living Well Center, 38th and Minnesota

Tuesday 7-8:30pm at Church of the Gate, 6820. W. 26th Street