Talk about turning a difficult situation into a positive. Stephanie Appleby is proof that anyone can be affected by mental illness – and overcome it.
For 14 years, Appleby suffered from panic attacks and agoraphobia, an anxiety disorder where the sufferer perceives the environment as dangerous or uncomfortable, often due to the environment’s vast openness or crowdedness. One day, she was fine, the next she was paralyzed by fear.
Fortunately, Appleby has battled through to live a normal life and now serves as the events and marketing coordinator for the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) of Southwest Missouri. In essence, she’s an advocate of an organization that helps others come forward and seek help.
In other words, NAMI is an important part of the Ozarks, and it’s why the Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper is proud to have the non-profit on board again this year. The golf tournament, part of the PGA’s Web.com Tour, has gifted almost $13 million to children’s charities in its 26-year history.
“What I have learned through this process is sometimes it’s better not to look at the whole staircase, just the first step,” Appelby said.
For three decades, the NAMI Southwest Missouri chapter has been dedicated to providing programs, services and advocacy for individuals and family members impacted by mental illness.
The organization collaborates with, educates and advises individuals, schools, businesses, law enforcement agencies, the media and community organizations on steps to achieve and maintain good mental health, suicide prevention and eradicating the stigma associated with the diagnosis of a mental illness.
Appleby seems the perfect fit to be one of the organization’s advocates.
In her battle with agoraphobia, she spent years researching symptoms and trying to find ways to overcome her fear. Yet her efforts were complicated by the lack of adequate resources available on her condition as well as the disdain of many friends and family who could not comprehend what she was experiencing. Her husband was her only rock to cling to.
Fortunately, she made the decision to break through her fear. Appleby turned to her church and soon sought medical assistance, too, leading to a prescription called Lexapro. It enabled her to attend therapy, and she soon gained knowledge of her condition.
As one publication described her, “Her undeniable spirit would not let the illness win, and while she is still scared from her battles, she is a firm believer that God often uses our deepest pain as the launching pad for our greatest calling.”
These days, Appleby can point others suffering from mental illness to NAMI Southwest Missouri’s Hope Center, a freestanding facility open six days a week.
It’s a place where individuals may attend peer-led groups addressing their diagnoses, engage in creative and vocational programs designed to bring a refreshed focus into their lives; check out books and take-home materials from the extensive mental health library; use the computer bank; seek encouragement, referrals and benefit from a supportive, non-judgmental environment.
Additionally, NAMI Southwest Missouri’s “Warm Line” operates 365 days, offering callers a trained listener who guides them through the challenges they are experiencing. Statistics show the organization employees and volunteers make an average of 14,000 contacts per year in support of good mental health, provided at no cost.
Overall, NAMI Southwest Missouri is a grassroots, 501c-3 not-for-profit organization directed by a 15-member board comprised of healthcare professionals, business men and women, community leaders, and those who have benefitted from its programs and services. It also is a United Way of the Ozarks partner.
Here’s how to assist:
RISING STARS, RAISING HOPES
- BUSINESS SPONSORSHIPS: Businesses also can support the PCCC through various sponsorships, such as skyboxes on the 9th and 18th greens. The tournament also offers sponsorships in the daily newsletter, on-course banners and more, as well as through several events such Pro-Ams. Businesses also can donate a gift card with at least a $25 value in the name of your charity of choice to benefit them in the Golf Ball & Charity Auction presented by Copy Products, Inc. and University Plaza.
- WIN A NEW TRUCK: The purchase of a $25 TLC Properties Charity Sweepstakes ticket can win one of 500 daily gift cards as well as grand prizes of $10,000 and a 2016 Ford F-150 XLT. It’s also good for a four-day tournament pass.
- SEE THE FUTURE OF THE PGA TOUR: The PCCC is from Aug. 5-15, with the pros beginning play on Aug. 11 at Highland Springs Country Club. For tickets or other ways to assist, call the Price Cutter Charity Championship staff at 417-887-3400.
- HELP THE NATIONAL ALLIANCE OF MENTAL ILLNESS SOUTHWEST MISSOURI: To contribute either through the tournament or in any other way, email Stephanie Appleby at Stephanie@namiswmo.com. The help line is 1-877-535-4357.