'Radio Days' Raises Money for Mentally Ill

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Byline: Nancy Luebke Daily Herald Correspondent

One in five families are affected by mental illness.

Four out of 10 major illnesses are mental illnesses.

Late teens to early 20s are usually when the onset of mental illness occurs.

These were just some of the facts given by Robert Johnson, president of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill of DuPage County, during a benefit April 16 at the Carlisle in Lombard.

The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill held its annual benefit to raise money to continue its advocacy for the mentally ill in DuPage County. With more than 180 people in attendance, NAMI hoped to raise at least $40,000.

The theme for this benefit, "Radio Days," set the tone for the evening. Supporters mingled and munched on appetizers, while big band music from the '30s and '40s played in the background. The table centerpieces were old-fashioned, round-top radios from days gone by.

After dinner, NAMI supporters were treated to an authentic radio show, complete with the original commercials, sound effects and script. The performance was staged by Those Were The Days Radio Players.

"The last time I saw one of these shows was 'Fibber McGee and Molly' around 1943 in downtown Chicago during the war," Johnson said.

The money raised at the benefit will go toward sustaining the programs and NAMI office in Wheaton.

NAMI provides support to family members and friends whose loved ones suffer from mental illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.

NAMI also acts as a resource center, connecting people in need with the local services and organizations that can help them.

"We've got a lot of literature on various illnesses. Our library has books, video and audio tapes that people can check out," Johnson said.

He added that NAMI provides a 12-week educational course on mental illness for family members. …