Dozens gather in Medford to “March 4 Hope”

KOBI-TV 5 Medford, Sept. 13, 2014

Dozens of people gathered together in downtown Medford Saturday for March 4 Hope. An event to raise awareness for mental illness.

Mental illness affects the lives of 60 million Americans, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

President for Southern Oregon’s National Alliance on Mental Illness, Patricia Garoutte, said they put on the event to educate people about the disorder that affects so many.

“There is a terrible stigma associated with mental illness. You’ll have a family member or someone with mental illness and they won’t seek help because they’re embarrassed,” Garoutte said.

But she said we can overcome that stigma by education. And the alliance is working to change laws to get people with mental illness out of jail and into homes where they can receive treatment.

“We go from here demanding that the state of Oregon get more psychiatric beds made and available for people with mental illness,” she said.

Garoutte said without those resources the person struggling will either end up on the streets or back in jail.

“We need to break the vicious cycle of mental illness,” Garoutte said.