The Norman Transcript

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October 10, 2012

Removing the stigma from mental health issues

NORMAN — Norman Mayor Cindy Rosenthal proclaimed this week as Mental Illness Awareness Week, and Norman resident Michael Cordial spoke on the benefit of numerous agencies that meet the needs of the community’s mental health population.

“With the great society around me and a little footwork done by me, my dreams are being unveiled before me,” a tearful Cordial told Norman City Council members. “I thank several agencies — Griffin Memorial Hospital, Central Oklahoma Community Mental Health Center, Transition House and Thunderbird Clubhouse — because these agencies/entities are contributors to my reality and the very dream I live for.

“I want to thank Norman, Okla., for being so beautiful to me. I am a success at the very thing I left college to do because I am able to follow my hopes and desires without interruption. I wanted a place to sell my artwork, make art and enjoy living.

“I am doing just that and more because people told me the truth about all I needed to do, and I did the things they told me and more so I could keep getting the results I am getting and so I could help others,” Cordial said.

Members of the city council and the audience gave Cordial a standing ovation as he concluded his speech.

In 1990, the U.S. Congress established the first full week of October as Mental Illness Awareness Week in recognition of the efforts of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Since 1990, advocates across the country have used this week to sponsor activities that foster outreach, education and advocacy.

Among the many organizations serving those in Norman who are challenged by mental health issues, Thunderbird Clubhouse provides a supportive community and the opportunity to rejoin the work force.

In honor of Mental Illness Awareness Week, Thunderbird Clubhouse is hosting a Potato Bar fundraiser for United Way from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday. Tickets are $5 per person at the Clubhouse, 251 Triad Village Drive, off 12th Avenue Southeast between Alameda and Boyd streets.

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