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Focus on Funding & Stigma During Mental Health Awareness MonthSubmitted: 05/07/2013
Focus on Funding & Stigma During Mental Health Awareness Month
Story By Kailey Burton

RHINELANDER - Mental illness can be a tough topic to think about and deal with, but recent acts of violence like the shooting in Newtown have drawn more attention to the issue.

In May be recognize Mental Health Awareness Month. Governor Scott Walker said he wants to increase mental health spending by $30 million in his next budget. Some local advocates say that's a good start.

"Mental health is severely underfunded in this country. We don't have nearly enough caregivers, or professionals. There are no incentives to go into mental health care. I'd like to see all those things [change]," said Mick Fiocchi, the President of the Northern Lakes chapter of the National Alliance for Mental Illness.


Fiocchi says 20% of the population suffers from "severe mental illness"; that includes major depression, schizophrenia, and different forms of bi-polar disorder.

He'd like to see the increase in funding build a mental health support center in the Northwoods.

"Where people with mental health issues would be able to obtain services... like job support, peer support. And this could include not just people with severe mental illness, but it also could be military veterans who are dealing with PTSD. There are such facilities located in other parts of Wisconsin," he says.

Another goal Fiocchi would like to focus on during Mental Health Awareness Month, is breaking the stigma of mental illness. He says people around you are dealing with mental illness every day, and it's important to remember that like any other illness, mental illness CAN be treated.

The Northern Lakes chapter of NAMI meets every fourth Tuesday of the month, from 7 to 9 p.m. , usually in the community meeting room of the Rhinelander Goodwill Store.

On May 28, the guest speaker will be NAMI co-founder Bev Young she'll share her story and experiences of advocating for families with mental illness. That meeting will be at First United Methodist Church on Arbutus Street in Rhinelander.

NAMI also offers a support group the second Saturday of each month at 10 a.m.

For more information call NAMI Northern Lakes at (715) 362-0423 or (715) 272-1294, or the Oneida County Mental Health Inter-Agency Council at (715) 369-6118.


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MINOCQUA - You don't need to wait for the grass to turn green for golfing.

Minocqua's Ice Golf is an end of season charity tournament coming up on March 3rd.

The tournament raised more than $18,000  last year for charities including the food pantry and Dr. Kate Hospice.

It has become a Northwoods tradition for some people.

"First year we had it, we had only like 35 golfers, now last year we had over 300 golfers," says Albee's owner Randy Albrecht.

If you don't have a group, they'll put into one.

After everyone is done putting, there will be dinner and a raffle.

For tickets and info call: Albee's Yacht Club at 715-356-1366 OR The Thirsty Whale at 715-356-7108.


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