Barbara Taylor and Jerry Mosley are walking together this weekend. Tomorrow, Taylor will lead a team from the Community Services Department of the Mississippi State Hospital in NAMIWalks, a benefit for the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Taylor, 54, has worked for the Mississippi State Hospital for six years as an administrative assistant. The Community Services Department runs transitional programs for people moving out of mental health institutions, helping them build life skills in a group home.
As captain of her walk team, Taylor is leading the group's donation drive. NAMIWalks raises money for NAMI's advocacy and education efforts by soliciting sponsors for every walker. Last year, the event had 97,000 participants across the county, and organizers are aiming for 117,000 this year. NAMI's Mississippi chapter hopes to raise $50,000 this year.
Walking with Taylor will be Jerry Mosley. Mosley, 48, was once a recipient of state mental health services. Now, he helps others like him, as a peer-to-peer counselor. NAMI sponsors a monthly group meeting for people in the Community Services Department's transitional program. For the last year, Mosley has been facilitating the monthly support group, helping participants work through problems.
"When I first became mentally ill, I had no idea about mental illness; I faced a lot of stigmas," Mosley said. "With me facilitating, keeping the group under control, it also helps me share my experience."
Taylor knows the importance of mental health issues, even if mental illness has not affected her immediate family.
"Mental health affects individuals from all walks of life, economically as well as race," Taylor said. "It has no barriers."
NAMIWalk kicks off at 10 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 7 at Lefluer's Bluff. Call 601-899-9058 for more information.
Do you know a Jacksonian or Mississippian who should be the JFP Person of the Day? Briefly tell us his or her story, sending it to [e-mail missing]. Include contact information and a picture, if possible.
That's great! Maybe I will see them at the walk tomorrow. I'm so glad that people are opening up more and more about mental health issues. It's about time!
By the way, more about tomorrow's event: http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/index.php/site/comments/namiwalks_is_tomorrow/