Local Support Groups Provide Comfort for Those WIth Mental Illness

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ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- A local retired doctor wants more of us to realize when it comes to mental illness, we can all play a role in helping friends and family cope with depression and suicidal thoughts.

Doctor Charles Smith leads Group Hope, an organization that holds weekly meetings for those who suffer from mental illness or has a loved one who does. Smith started the meetings in 2003, a year after he lost his own daughter to suicide. He says, group therapy can be the best setting for those with depression and bipolar disorder.

“You can talk about your own story and then someone else will get a benefit because ‘it sounds just like me and I thought no one was like me’ and they give each other relief from all that stuff,” says Dr. Charles Smith.

He says when talking with someone suffering from mental illness, avoid using phrases like ‘Get a grip’ or ‘Why can't you be normal? and instead use phrases that validate a person’s feelings instead of dismissing them.

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