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There is help available for those with a mental illness or their loved ones. The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare has prepared a comprehensive list of resources.

Or visit the sites for the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), the National Mental Health Association or NAMI-Idaho. The toll-free number for NAMI-Idaho is 1-800-572-9940.

Here's what the participants from "In Our Own Voice" had to say about the importance of seeking help:

Bev Smith
Bev Smith, ACT Team Client and Worker

There's really good help out there. I've been blown away at the level of help that has been available to me. I'm just astounded at the people who work in this field in this area. And I know that it's got to be similar in other areas. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Just don't be afraid. Go for it. Call somebody. Call a friend. Use any of the help numbers that are in your local phone book. They're all available. Use them.

Craig Tanner
Craig Tanner, Client

I would say seek treatment for you body but not for your mind, but not for your soul. Seek treatment from the government, the ACT team. They're there to take care of your body. They're there to protect you from physical danger. They're there to medicate your illness to the degree to which you're not a hazard, you're not a danger to yourself or others. But don't let them tell you how to think. Let your mind be free.

Martha Tanner
Martha Tanner, Craig's mother

It is a disease. I know that. I know that. And so I am not ashamed. But lots of people don't know that. They don't have the education to know that and so their first reaction is to keep it from anybody knowing it. And that is the worst problem that we are dealing with today. It is why these patients with serious mental illnesses are political orphans because families don't speak up when their children with these terrible diseases are not getting good treatment because they're ashamed.

Ella Tam
Ella Tam, Nurse

I think one thing right now that is very important is for families to stay involved and become better educated about the illness that their family member has and what they can do to be supportive of them. That way they have a better chance of living in the community, still remaining a part of the family. To be ostracized from your family and to be ignored because you have an illness that is not your fault is in itself a big hindrance to getting an adjustment.

Marilyn Standfield
Marilyn Standfield, Kevin's mother

I feel like I'm still right in the middle of the process or the crisis. I don't have a solution. I would suggest that at the onset of the problem you get help immediately. You decide the kind of care that you believe is best for your loved one and try to find the assistance you need to do that. Don't blame yourself. It's not your fault.

Mary Ellen Walsh
Mary Ellen Walsh, Client

I think there are many people who ask themselves, What's wrong with me? Just as I did. And who don't really understand that there are new treatments that can make people happy to be alive and make them like themselves and make them pleased with who they are. Get professional help. Find out by checking around who are the truly respected providers of care and make an appointment and go in there. But if at first, if you're not pleased, if it doesn't feel right to you, by all means see someone else.

Shirley Becker
Shirley Becker, Diane's Mom

It's tough when you're going through it. There are people who will support you. Please don't hesitate to go to support groups, get educated, share. It's not something that we need to be embarrassed about. It's not their fault. It's a chemical imbalance. There are resources there. And don't give up hope, because they do come back.

Arnold Kadrmas
Arnold Kadrmas, Psychiatrist

If you know a mental health professional, talk to that person. If you don't know a mental health professional a good place to start is with a family doctor. The family doctor will either be able to diagnose that or usually knows the resources that area available where you might be able to send the person. Now it's not uncommon for family members to say, "I'm not depressed," "I'm not going to see anybody," "I'm not crazy," or "I'm not sick." A lot of times what I will recommend to people is get a brochure, get a brochure on depression and leave it laying around. Hopefully the person will pick it up and read it and go, 'woah.'

Richard Schmidt
Richard Schmidt, Social Worker and Client

Instead of nagging them about taking medications, probably the first primary thing is to tend to their immediate needs. Are they hungry? Tired? Need to go to the bathroom? Need a shower? Need someone just to talk to? And then eventually go into the things where "let's see if we can't get you this kind of help or that kind of help," But sometimes, when people experience this for the first time, you know, it's pretty hard to admit that you're crazy. You wouldn't want to tell someone that you're crazy.