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Mental Health Advocate: Forget The Stigma, Get Help

12:15 AM, Dec 18, 2012   |    comments
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Greensboro, NC -- We don't know what set off the shooter in Newtown, Connecticut. However, we do know what he did was so very wrong and nowhere near normal, that it was not an action of rational thinking.

So far, there is no official reason or diagnosis or proof that Adam Lanza had any kind of disorder.

But given the fact we've seen this scene far too many times before, and we've seen what role mental and emotional issues have played before, there's reason to believe something was wrong.

Mental illness can affect anyone.

Chances are, there is someone in your own family or close circle of friends battling mental illness. Maybe it's you.

According to the National Association on Mental Illness, NAMI, one in four adults experiences a mental health disorder in any given year. And one in ten children is living with a serious mental or emotional disorder.

Those numbers aren't the problem, but the number of people who get help is.

According to NAMI, less than a third of adults and only half of children with a disorder are treated for it.

Those numbers aren't going to get any better unless people start talking about it.

"The perception, or the fear of stigma, that 'I'm going to be judged negatively, if I let someone know how I'm really feeling, if I let someone know that I need some assistance.' I think that fear often prevents people from taking the first step," said Peter Tyler, Executive Director of Guilford CARES, an advocacy organization in Greensboro.

Because of budget cuts for mental health on both the federal and state level, most organizations don't have any money for advertising, but the resources are out there.

Trying to figure out where to start can be overwhelming. So Guilford County has put a website together to help people navigate mental health services.

When you visit , you can search for mental health service providers.

It's anonymous. And the sooner you get help, the better.

"Early identification, easy access to care, these are things that we recognize do significantly increase successful treatment and successful life outcomes for both young and old," said Tyler.

Mental health services are normally covered by private health insurance, Medicare and Medicaid.

If you don't have any insurance, there are providers that offer a sliding scale fee based on what you can afford.

There are many other mental health resources across the Triad. Here is a list of places you can call in your county for help:

Alamance Caswell Community Operations Center
2451 South Church Street
Burlington, NC 27215
Phone: 336-513-4222
Fax: 336-513-4225
24-hour Access / Crisis Number: 888-543-1444

CenterPoint Human Services
4045 University Parkway
Winston-Salem, NC 27106
Phone: 336-714-9100
Fax: 336-714-9111
24-hour Access/ Crisis Number: 888-581-9988
CEO/Area Director: Betty Taylor

Guilford Center for Behavioral Health and Disability Services
201 N. Eugene St.
Greensboro, NC 27401
Phone: 336-641-4981
Fax: 336-641-7761
24-hour Access/ Crisis Number: 800-853-5163
Interim Area Director:Billie Pierce

Sandhills Center for MH/DD/SAS <>
PO Box 9
West End, NC 27376-0009
Phone: 910-673-9111
Fax: 910-673-6202
24-hour Access / Crisis Number: 800-256-2452
Chief Executive Officer:

You can find a list of all the licensed mental health facilities in North Carolina here:

Another organization that helps people and families dealing with mental illness is NAMI.  You can find the Guilford County chapter here:

On January 25, 2013, Guilford CARES Coalition is inviting anyone who have been affected by mental health or mental illness to an event at Jamestown Town Hall. For more information, you can visit their website at

Other Resources for Coping 


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