Speaker delivers RESPECT

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 - Speaker delivers RESPECT

JOPLIN, Mo.—Diana Ames musters up every ounce of courage when, as a graduate of RESPECT Institute, she shares her journey of dealing with mental illness. Her diagnosis and treatment of schizo-affective disorder and borderline personality disorder have been a lifelong process punctuated by struggle. Nevertheless, Ames said she is determined to share her story with the community; doing so solidifies her own recovery process and, she hopes, might allow others to realize their potential for recovery, as well.

“With my message, I want people to understand help and hope for the future are available,” said Ames. “So many times, people are disabled just by the diagnosis of a mental illness. We get derailed by its impact, thinking nothing can change when the reality is that most people can be treated. Being a part of RESPECT has allowed me to give that hope to others.”

RESPECT speakers have personally experienced the cycle of mental illness and will willingly share their stories to help others who may encounter similar obstacles. Administered by Ozark Center, RESPECT Institute empowers those with mental illness to tell their story, equipping them with speaking skills and a voice to deliver their message.

Graduates of the 2010 RESPECT Institute are available to present to all community groups, including classrooms, civic organizations, church groups, hospital groups and auxiliaries, local law enforcement and emergency personnel, mental health advocacy organizations, and mental health professionals. Each speaker has designed a presentation that will relay his or her own personal journey, providing a snapshot of mental illness, said Lisa Badgley, Ozark Center Director of Program Development. Speeches are approximately 10 minutes in length; RESPECT speakers can answer questions following their presentation.

Although it affects one out of every four families in Missouri, many lack a basic understanding of mental illness and may avoid seeking effective treatment because of the stigma associated with it.

“We hope by hearing these stories, the community can help Ozark Center begin to fight the stigma so often attached to mental illness,” said Badgley.

RESPECT is a movement begun by international consultant Joel Slack to help educate the public by telling his own personal story of the powerful impact that respect has on a person recovering from a mental illness. The RESPECT Institute’s four-day training session was grant funded by Missouri Department of Mental Health and administered through Ozark Center. Eight individuals, selected by Ozark Center case workers, graduated from the program.

RESPECT Institute graduates may be scheduled for presentations through Freeman Speakers Bureau at freemanhealth.com/speakersbureau.


About Ozark Center
An integral component of Freeman Health System based in Joplin, Missouri, Ozark Center provides comprehensive behavioral health services to children, adults, and families in an area that includes more than 450,000 residents from Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. Ozark Center continually looks for innovative ways to address the mental health needs of the community and promote awareness of mental illness in an effort to eliminate the discrimination associated with it. For more information, visit ozarkcenter.com or call 417.347.7600.
For media inquiries, please contact Freeman Media Coordinator.