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Nonprofit group offers varied efforts to support those affected by mental illness

Marla Byrnes (photo by Jim Howe)

Marla Byrnes (photo by Jim Howe)

One in four families will be touched by mental illness, says Marla Byrnes, the president of the Syracuse chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. She talks about her personal experience with mental illness -- as a mother and as a nurse. She also talks about the services offered by NAMI Syracuse, including support groups, crisis intervention training, a speakers' bureau and a program called "Ending the Silence," designed to educate middle and high school students. Among the possible signs of mental illness: a change in sleep patterns, appearance and/or appetite; a loss of interest in things for which you previously had a passion; feeling bad or a loss of energy; stating that one feels depressed; and feelings of anxiety or worry. Since these symptoms may have a medical cause, Byrnes encourages an appointment with a health care provider. 

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