Heather Deming began her involvement with Interim over 25 years ago. She has been on the Interim Board twice during that time. Mental illness runs in her family, and she wanted to support Interim’s mission. Like Interim, she believes that people with mental illness can live full lives with treatment, services and housing. She saw Interim as a positive place for people with mental illnesses. She has also been a facilitator for NAMI (National Association of Mental Illness) Monterey County for four years and has been a trainer for the NAMI Family to Family education program for family members of adults living with mental illness.
Heather feels Interim’s services are ‘rich’. She cited the OMNI Resource Center as an example. She sees OMNI as a model for other communities, where multiple services are located under one roof, and run in partnership with clients. The OMNI Resource Center is also a place of community, which is important since so many people with mental illness find themselves isolated and alone. OMNI also provides a number of workshops designed to support guests in their recovery and deal with their challenges.
These days Heather is a member of the Monterey County Mental Health Commission. The Commission has 16 members, whose job is to monitor the state of mental health and services in Monterey County. When asked what kinds of activities the Commission might be involved in, Heather gave an example of a meeting they recently held at the Marina library to introduce the local police, schoolteachers, and interested community members to the services available through the Monterey County Behavioral Health Bureau. A meeting like this is intended to promote community awareness of services.
Looking back, Heather says she did whatever she could to help Interim and promoted its services. With mental illness recurring over multiple generations in her family, and her decades-long involvement in supporting Interim, Heather has come to appreciate how recovery can be a lifelong, and daily, endeavor. While recovery can be arduous, the rewards of a fuller life and renewed purpose are well worth it.