This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

This is mental health awareness week, and the key to awareness is knowing that mental illness is a disease, just like any other physical disease, except that it affects the brain.

WGNO’s Alyson Titkemyer talked to Jessie Smith III, a mental illness survivor and peer support specialist at the NAMI New Orleans (the National Alliance on Mental Illness) about the stigma of mental illness and why it’s so important to find acceptance and help.

Get more information on NAMI New Orleans on their website (

Join in the NAMI Walk on Saturday, October 12 at 9:30 a.m. in Audubon Park. There’s more information at