NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness. NAMI is changing how Americans view people with mental illness, and ensuring that help and hope are available to those in need by providing free education, resources and support.
When you realize the startling FACTS that mental illness affects 1 in 4 or 60 million Americans every year (everyone knows someone), organizations like NAMI become increasingly important as one can’t help but realize it’s time to take action as said in Jennifer Hudson’s PSA. Worth Magazine recently ranked NAMI in its “Top 100 charities most likely to change the world”. NAMIWalks is the largest and most successful mental health awareness and fundraising event in the county.
When I volunteered to photograph the NAMIWalk Los Angeles last year, I realized just how far the stigma of mental health reaches: how individuals and families either don’t know about the resources available to them or choose to suffer in silence because of “what people will think or say”. The question of, “What else can we as a community do to raise awareness, help break the stigma, and support Mental Health?” should be something we all consider. It is not something that should be hidden or kept secret because there is treatment available. This awareness is what organizations like NAMI hope to spread. If more families knew about the resources they have access to, there would be less suffering, mental illness would become less of a problem, and individuals would not be judged and treated so harshly.
The other part of the stigma is that people don’t realize that those struggling with mental illness become successful and thriving members of society with correct support and treatment; especially with all the resources available to them today. Mental illness is not something that should define or limit them for the rest of their life. You’d probably be surprised to find out just how many people you know who are affected by a mental illness.
The NAMIWalk Los Angeles this Saturday October 5th is an event that serves as a coming together of those who support mental health. It is a reminder that we must break the stigma and support those who have a mental illness, along with their families. Come see for yourself. Whether you are a supporter or someone who wants to learn more, all are welcome to join.
You are not alone!
PS: Steven and I will be there so make sure you come by and say hi
As a grassroots organization, NAMI relies on volunteers at all levels of the organization. Contact the NAMI HelpLine at firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 950-6264 for opportunities at the national office as well as referral to NAMI State Organizations, NAMI Affiliates and NAMIWalks and NAMIBikes events in your community.