NAMI is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness. Thousands of families, volunteers, community groups, corporate employees, medical personnel and people living with mental illness from the Bay Area will join over 80 communities holding walks across the nation during May -- National Mental Health Month, established in 1949.
Increasingly important are NAMI’s free programs and services for veterans and active duty personnel. This year, Dr. Francis J. Harvey, 19th Secretary of the U.S. Army (November 19, 2004 – March 9, 2007), and Col. William E. Peacock, USMCR (Ret), Chairman, Wine Country Marines, serve as this year’s NAMIWalk San Francisco Bay Area Veterans’ co-chairs advocating for increased mental health services for Veterans.
“I’m proud to serve as the Veterans’ co-chair for the upcoming NAMIwalk event. The mental health of our veterans is of critical importance and NAMI’s support groups and education programs as well as their efforts to overcome the stigma of mental illness, particularly Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), are a valuable resource for veterans and their families,” said Dr. Francis J. Harvey.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a complex and serious disorder. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, more than 1.3 million Veterans received specialized mental health treatment from the VA for mental health related issues with 476,515 diagnosed with primary or secondary PTSD in 2011. NAMI’s Veterans’ Resource Center and Family-to-Family programs provide a vital free service, especially to those who might otherwise not seek treatment or counseling. Often, Veterans’ spouses and other family members are more willing than veterans to seek care, making families an important link to their recovery and well-being. NAMI’s family-friendly resources and educational materials can be the first step to a veteran’s recovery and adjustment to civilian life.
In 2013, the annual NAMIWalk San Francisco Bay Area raised over $470,000 which was shared among the eight NAMI Bay Area affiliates participating last year to help underwrite the programs most needed their area.
NAMI free local programs and services include:
· Family to Family is NAMI’s multi-week support and education course for family members of people with mental illness.
· Parents and Teachers as Allies is an in-service program helping school professionals better understand the early warning signs of mental illnesses in children.
· In Our Own Voice is NAMI’s anti-stigma speakers bureau that helps others understand mental health issues through discussion of their own experiences.
· Multi-cultural agency partnerships provide classes and education materials on mental illness in Spanish and Chinese.
· Advocacy: NAMI advocates politically locally and nationally for improved public policies addressing the needs of people with mental illness and their families.
The 10th Annual 5K NAMIWalk SF Bay Area is Saturday, May 31st at Lindley Meadow in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. Registration for walkers is FREE thanks to sponsor donations. Check-in and on-site registration:
ABOUT NAMI: Founded in 1979, The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is a non-profit, grassroots organization with over 1,000 affiliates nationwide that provides education, support services and advocacy to improve the lives of everyone affected by mental illness. NAMI had its origins in San Mateo County, California in 1974 through Parents of Adult Schizophrenics at a time when mothers were being blamed for causing mental illness. Today, NAMI is as the most formidable grassroots mental health advocacy organization in the country. For information about NAMI programs, visit www.nami.org.
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