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Say a prayer

Cynthia E. Griffin- | 1/16/2009, 5 p.m.

The Urban Los Angeles Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness is holding a candlelight prayer vigil for justice Sunday from 5-6 p.m. in front of the Twin Towers Correctional facility, 450 Bauchet St., in downtown Los Angeles.

The purpose of the vigil is to: (1) pray for public understanding of mental illness as biological brain disorder; (2) pray for more housing facilities where people can be transitioned from arrest to treatment; (3) pray to raise the awareness of the criminalization of the mentally ill where mental illness means incarceration.

According to a 2006 U.S. Department of Justice report, "Mental Health Problems of Prison and Jail Inmates," more than half of all prison and jail inmates--including 56 percent of state prisoners, 45 percent of federal prisoners, and 65 percent of local jail inmates--were found to have a mental problem. Many were suffering from very treatable disorders like major depression, bipolar disorder and substance abuse."

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is a grass roots, self help, support and advocacy organization dedicated to improving the lives of families who have relatives with a brain disorder (mental illness). This includes families and consumers diagnosed with a mental illness, relatives and friends, mental health professionals, and all who share NAMI's vision and mission.

The organization was started in 1979 by 254 caring people and now has grown to more than 210,000 members in more than 1,200 international affiliate groups.

NAMI Urban Los Angeles is an a non-profit, grassroots, self-help, volunteer support and advocacy organization of consumers, family members and friends of persons afflicted with serious brain disorders (mental illnesses) such as schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, major depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety disorders among others.

It is also an affiliate of NAMI-California. Founded in 1979, NAMI has more than 210,000 family members and consumers who seek equitable services for people with severe mental illnesses.
For more information, contact the organization at (323) 294-7814 or www.namiurbanla.org.