The Unseen Illness

| Wednesday, April 18, 2012

For one of my senior capstone classes, I've been working with eight other students to profile some individuals who are working to provide care for people with mental illness. A consistent theme I've heard from various people in the community is that there is a stigma associated with mental illness. When someone has a broken leg, their injury is visible whereas mental illness is often not visible. Consequently, mental illness is frequently unseen by people who aren't directly connected to the issue.

We published our first round of stories today. You can find them on our project's website called The Unsung System: The Hidden Network That Cares for Missouri's Mentally Ill.

Below are a few photos I shot of Karren Jones. Katy Bergen wrote the story and captions that pair with the photos.

Karren was wonderful to work with even though I only had about an hour with her. And it was great getting to collaborate with Katy Bergen.

Karren Jones, 67, answers the WARMline at the National Alliance on Mental Illness Missouri office in Jefferson City. The WARMline is meant to offer encouragement and support to those living with mental illness. Jones, who lives with four mental illnesses, says it’s easier for callers to open up to her because she understands many of their struggles.

Karren Jones, 67, is often the first one to arrive to the National Alliance on Mental Illness Missouri office in Jefferson City. She began working at NAMI in 1989 after mental illness caused her to go on disability from her job. “The president of NAMI told me that if I wanted to I could come to the office and help out,” Jones said. “I helped so much that they put me on the payroll.” Today, Jones is a phone responder, mentor and speaker for the organization.

Karren Jones is a phone responder, mentor and speaker for the National Alliance on Mental Illness Missouri. She was 19 when she first saw an angel in the backseat of her 1953 Ford Crown Victoria. Jones, 67, knows the angels are hallucinations, symptoms of the mental illnesses she’s had for most of her life. Still, she finds them comforting — they let her know a room will be safe.

Big Man On Court Basketball Tournament

| Friday, April 6, 2012

On Thursday, April 5 Pi Beta Phi held their Big Man On Court basketball tournament. The proceeds go to the Pi Beta Phi foundation and to First Book to promote national literacy. For a college fundraiser, the players get extremely competitive. It was fun to attend and fun to photograph.

Family First in the Family Restaurant

| Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Trish and Chuck Vernon purchased the Main Street Cafe in Eldon, Missouri two years ago. Despite their busy lunch boom, the Vernons operate the cafe entirely on their own. Eighty percent of their customers are regulars that come in on a daily or weekly basis. The Vernon's thoroughly enjoy their business, but they say they will always put family first. Their biggest priority is their 9 year old son, Maxwell.

Spring Break In Texas

| Monday, April 2, 2012

I spent most of my spring break in Texas this year. I traveled back and forth between Austin and Dallas. Honestly, it was just really nice to be home with my family.

Here is a photo of my 16 year old brother Drew at a cross country competition. I'm glad to see at least one person in my family excelling at athletics.