On behalf of the National Alliance on Mental Illness here in Missoula, please accept our thanks for Anthony Mazzolini's (Aug. 8) article on Ellis Henderson and his struggle with chronic depression. The statements that "depression isn't always regarded with the same severity that physical ailments are" and that "People still don't really understand the disease" are both sadly true; but articles like Mazzolini's will help change the situation. The references to Henderson's struggles with medications, and to his need for "talk therapy" as well, are equally relevant to helping the public understand the reality of living with, and coping with, mental illness.

In particular, we commend Henderson's courage in speaking out about his experience: "It doesn't make you a bad person. It doesn't make you a weak person." First-hand narratives are the best way to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness, and we are grateful to Ellis Henderson and to you for sharing his story.

Please know that NAMI Missoula is another local resource for individuals struggling with mental illness and for their families and loved ones looking for information and support. Our office is at 202 Brooks Street (Room 210); we can be reached at 880-1013 and at namimissoula@gmail.com. We also have a website (www.namimissoula.org) where people can find information about our programs.

Thank you again for your contribution to raising public awareness about depression. September is "National Suicide Prevention Month," and your article is a timely reminder of that issue.

Jack Shifflett, vice-president,

NAMI Missoula

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