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.
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.