In Ozarks’ care for mental illness, NAMI & Appleby are allies

Stephanie Appleby is an advocate for the mentally ill through the National Alliance of Mental Illness Southwest Missouri.
Stephanie Appleby is an advocate for the mentally ill at the National Alliance of Mental Illness Southwest Missouri.

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 in which 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 is one of the PGA’s Web.com Tour stops and has raised almost $12 million in its 25-year history, including a record $1 million-plus last year.

“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.

Here’s how to assist:

SUPPORTING THE PCCC = SUPPORTING CHARITIES

Buy a $25 TLC Properties Charity Sweepstakes ticket and all the money goes to your favorite charity -- and you also could win this 2015 Ford Mustang.
Buy a $25 TLC Properties Charity Sweepstakes ticket and all the money goes to your favorite charity — and you also could win this 2015 Ford Mustang.
  • 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.
  • FOR GOLF FANS, WIN PRIZES: The purchase of a $25 TLC Properties Charity Sweepstakes ticket serves as a four-day tournament pass, but that’s just a start. You’re also entered to win daily prizes during the tournament as well as grand prizes of $10,000 and a 2015 Ford Mustang.
  • TICKET REVENUE GOES WHERE: Contact the local charity of your choice, simply because they receive revenue directly from those TLC Property Charity Sweepstakes tickets marked with their names.
  • BUSINESS SPONSORSHIPS: Businesses can support the PCCC through various sponsorships, such as the daily newsletter, website or through several events such as a dozen Pro-Ams. Additionally, restaurants, clothing stores and entertainment stops and such are asked to 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.
  • WHEN, WHERE: The tournament is Aug. 7-17 at Highland Springs Country Club, with the pros beginning play Aug. 13. Contact the PCCC staff at 417-887-3400.

About NAMI

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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.

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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.”

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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, 501 c (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.