Wednesday, June 11, 2008 Peer support offered to those suffering from mental illness

by Kristi Tousignant

When JoAnn Anderson feels like laughing, she buys DVDs of comedians’ stand-up routines for $5 at Wal-Mart, finding a release in the comedic punch lines and witty jokes.

For Anderson, however, it is not just about entertainment. Anderson has bipolar disorder, and the videos allow her to feel good as a way to deal with her mental illness.

‘‘If you can laugh at something, maybe it’s not that bad,” Anderson said.

Anderson, 49, of New Carrollton and friend Regina Prophet, 47, of Temple Hills, who suffers from schizoaffective disorder, have reached out to those suffering just like them. The two lead a mental illness support group as a part of the county’s chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, based in Greenbelt. New to the county, the group started in March with the goal of offering a safe place for participants to discuss their illness.

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