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The Power of Caring

By Padgett S. Mozingo, APR

Does the stigma around mental illness prevent you from discussing the challenges that you, a

family member or a friend may face? Many people feel isolated and alone as they struggle to

address and cope with mental illness. The numbers, however, prove that no one is alone.

One in five adults in the United States lives with a mental health condition, and 43.8 million

adults in America face the day-to-day reality of living with a mental illness. As a parent, it is

particularly important for me to note that half of all lifetime mental health conditions begin by

age 14 and 75 percent by age 24.

During the month of May, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) acknowledges Mental

Health Month, working to increase awareness and generate support for education, resources

and access to care.

This year’s WhyCare? Campaign focuses on this simple, four-letter word as a powerful way to

change lives for people affected by mental illness. Through our own words and actions, we can

shift the social and systemic barriers that prevent people from building better lives.

More than 100 community walks will take place across the country, including NAMIWalks

Columbia beginning at 9 a.m. on May 4 in Finlay Park. For the remainder of the month, NAMI

Mid-Carolina will continue raising funds in hopes of exceeding its $65,000 walk goal. Every

penny raised provides services to those in need right here in the Midlands.

CNN Mental Health Warrior and professional boxer Mia St. John, whose son passed away at

the age of 24 while battling schizophrenia and addiction, is the featured guest at the walk in

Columbia. She’s the ex-wife of well-known Young & the Restless actor Kristoff St. John, who

died earlier this year while dealing with the loss of their son. Their story is a powerful one that

clearly demonstrates that mental health impacts everyone, regardless of life circumstances.

Mia St. John is a five-time World and International Boxing Champion and a first-generation

Mexican born in America. She founded the "El Saber Es Poder" Foundation to empower

individuals suffering from mental illness, homelessness, addiction and poverty by providing

programs to better educate, inform and improve physical and mental health.

Since losing their son, Mia St. John has dedicated her efforts to continuing the fight for mental

health. In 2015, she was named a CNN Mental Health Warrior.

NAMI Mid-Carolina recognizes that recovery, resiliency and support are essential to improving

the wellness and the quality of life of those affected by mental illness. Nami Mid-Carolina

provides a variety of support groups and programs for families and individuals, based on the

family-to-family or peer-to-peer model.

 Join the movement by learning more and considering a donation to NAMI Mid-Carolina that will

provide services to resources to Midlands residents. Visit

For additional information about Mental Health Month, visit

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