News Article Details

Get active during National Mental Health Month

The Chowan Herald - 5/3/2017

Dear NAMI,

I have been looking for an organization to become involved with in the community and am interested in NAMI. Can you tell me more about NAMI and how I might participate?

Curious About NAMI

Dear Curious,

Thank you for your interest in helping with NAMI Albemarle! May is National Mental Health Month, so it's a great time to become involved! Let me tell you a little about who we are, what we do, and how you can help.

WHO ARE WE? NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. What started as a small group of families gathered around a kitchen table in 1979 has blossomed into the nation's leading voice on mental health. Today, we are an association of hundreds of local affiliates, state organizations and volunteers who work in your community to raise awareness and provide support and education that was not previously available to those in need.


DO here in Chowan County? Since our formation in January of 2015, we have held Family Support Groups, given numerous educational talks to local organizations, initiated collaborative meetings to bring together local agencies to reduce the number of involuntary commitments and improve p resources, and started this weekly newspaper column to educate and raise awareness about mental illness. During the recent Pilgrimage Tour, NAMI Albemarle held an awareness and fundraising event: "Piecing for Peace of Mind: Quilts to Fight Mental Illness" that accomplished both goals.

HOW CAN YOU HELP? We meet most Wednesdays at 11:30 at the Downtown Café and Soda Shoppe to report on what is happening in mental health in Chowan County and the region and to strategize for opportunities to educate, raise awareness, and advocate for better resources and treatment. Folks often come to our meetings just to check it out and sometimes they decide to join the team. We always need new team members to help with administrative work, to add another voice to our planning efforts, and to bring their perspective to helping those living with mental illness and their caregivers. We are often a little rowdy at these meetings (you have to keep your sense of humor in dealing with mental illness!), but Frank continues to cheerfully reserve our table back in the Amen Corner!

Everyone in our community can help those affected by mental illness by talking to one another. If you initiate a conversation with someone about this letter you are reading right now (or another topic relating to mental illness), you are helping to break down the stigma that prevents so many from seeking and getting the help they need to move into recovery.

If you are interested in attending a weekly meeting, a support group, or joining the NAMI Albemarle Team, you can contact me on the NAMI Albemarle phone at 252-370-8090. Or just come on back to the Amen Corner on Wednesdays. Remember . . . HOPE BEGINS WITH YOU!


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