Importance of mental health resources highlighted by NAMI of Greater San Antonio

May is Mental Health Awareness month

The topic of mental health has come to the forefront in the years following the pandemic.

In any given year, one in five people will experience a mental health disorder, which is why it’s important to have resources available.

“My dream right now is to get like...fully support myself doing or doing I.T. work,” Sergio Salinas said.

Salinas has a passion for technology and is balancing work while studying for new certifications, all while living with a mental illness.

“I was diagnosed when I was 16 with bipolar disorder,” Salinas said.

His bipolar disorder is under control with medication and appointments with his psychiatrist, but Salinas says it’s his support system that really makes the difference.

“I feel it’s definitely possible to live like a healthy, productive life, but definitely like having a strong support system and somebody that really has your best interests at heart is really imperative for that,” Salinas said.

Part of that support system includes NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Greater San Antonio.

Doug Beach, the executive director, says they provide grassroots family support.

“We educate, advocate and provide support. All our programs are free to the public, and we like to get people, the public, knowledgeable about mental health so that they don’t face a crisis,” Beach said.

NAMI offers peer-led mental health education and support groups for individuals and families.

They also have what they call a “warm line” for people in crisis or who believe that they have a family member who is.

“It makes it easier for people, hopefully for people to call and begin that conversation about whatever is going on in their life that may have a mental health impact,” Beach said.

The “warm line” is open during their normal business hours; the number is (210)734-3349.

Beach and Salinas both hope that people dealing with mental illness or who have a loved one living with it know that there is hope.

“There’s hope NAMI’s here and the resources that we do have in the community that people do care and they want to help you,” Beach said.

Wednesday KSAT and our community partners are holding a mental health town hall.

A panel of experts will discuss challenges to accessing mental health care, especially for children transitioning into adulthood or aging out of foster care.

You can submit your questions here.

The town hall streams live on KSAT 12 News starting at 2 p.m. on Wednesday.

About the Authors:

Leigh Waldman is a news reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.

Gavin Nesbitt is a photojournalist and video editor who joined KSAT in September 2021. He has traveled across the great state of Texas to film, conduct interviews and edit many major news stories, including the White Settlement church shooting, Hurricane Hanna, 2020 presidential campaigns, Texas border coverage and the Spurs.