Sometimes the unexpected happens in life. Here is a case in point. Our affiliate, NAMI North Central MA, decided to have a Summer BBQ for all of it's members and friends. So we rented the pavilion at Dunn State Park back in May, when the weather was fairly cool. We went through the online reservation system. And then we promoted the event on the website, Facebook page, at our groups, with our partner organizations and the folks from some recent classes NAMI conducted. Then the day of the event came. And it was blazing hot!! The National Weather Service issued a heat advisory for that day. Many people who initially said they were going, decided not to in the end. Yet, the event went on. We had lots of ice!! Ice cream, burgers and dogs, a cool tossed nsalad and some baked goods and lots of water and Gatorade. And then, we had the people from Crystal House come by, who rarely get to go many places, but we cooked for them, and they got to spend a nice day with us. I was happy it turned out like that. Here we were, the National Association on Mental Illness, helping those with mental illness, have a great day that they otherwise wouldn't have had. Pretty Cool!! For a day when we weren't sure what was going to happen, it turned out pretty well. Just this man;sm opinion. Be sure to see the pictures from this day.
October is the mental health awareness month. Our affiliate is having a candlelight vigil on the evening of the 7th of October, at Carter Park in Leominster, There will be state politicians as well as our Mayor and members from NAMI there. This event happens annually and is about awareness of mental health issues in our country, our state and our cities and towns. NAMI is an organization that helps people by supporting both family caregivers as well as those who have a mental illness by support groups for both parties. Our affiliate has local support groups as well. See our EDUCATION page for details. But that is not the only way. We also offer many educational programs. One such program, going on right now, is the Family to Family Course, which I am happy to co teach with another experienced teacher. There is so much information given here and is so valuable to people. Another aspect of NAMI is ADVOCACY. This has 2 aspects. One is advocacy for your loved one, and advocacy for fairness in the system itself. As to the first aspect, family caregivers are mostly confused and thwarted by the episodes their loved ones are experiencing. And it often happens that other family members are confused as well. Family caregivers are encouraged to keep a log or journal about their loved ones episodes because there are instances where, because of HIPPA laws, you are not allowed to know about the conversations the doctor has with your loved one.The other aspect of advocacy is for the mental health system in the country and the individual states. Monitoring the amount of money allotted to the budget in State legislatures, fighting for fairness, to be treated equally, as other patients are when they are seeking health care. Also, once a year, NAMI does a walk to raise money for education and advocacy.
October is mental health awareness month. If you can, come to our candlelight vigil and listen to the various speakers.
I want to talk about all the benefits of the Family to Family class today. This class is for family members who are caregivers to someone who has a mental illness. I took this course twice, shortly after I joined NAMI. I was in dire need of help with dealing with severe depression. I learned so much the first time I took it. And then it was offered in my local area. I took it again. I learned so much that actually did help in our situation. The course covers a lot of material, about a number of mental illnesses. I felt so strongly about this course that I volunteered to be a teacher, and was trained from NAMIMASS. This will be the first time I teach the course along with a very experienced co-teacher. If you have an ill family member, and you want to learn as much as you can to support him/her, see the flier posted for it on this website, under Events. You won't believe how much you'll learn.
NAMI is a National organization whose aim is to help people and families in crisis and help them get resources, to advocate politically for better treatment for patients, to educate people about mental illness and foster empathy for those people, and eliminate the "Stigma" of mental illness
NAMI is a national non profit organization with State chapters in every state in the US and a number of local affililates. In Massachusetts, we are one of those local affiliates. There are several other local affiliates in Western MA, Boston area, Plymouth area and several others.
NAMI advocates for patients so that the conditions they experience are similar to other patients. We advocate on their behalf at State Legislatures and other organizations.
At NAMI North Central MA we are proud to say we have 4 different support groups for families and individuals with mental illness. See our Education page: Support groups
We are proud of our Educational programs. See them on our website: www.naminorthcentralma.org/nami-educational-programs.html
We also are pioneering, as far as we know, the first NAMI Faithnet group in MA. NAMI FaithNet is an interfaith resource network of NAMI members, friends, clergy and congregations of all faith traditions who wish to encourage faith communities who are welcoming and supportive of persons and families living with mental illness. See the link to the NAMI Faithnet URL:www.nami.org/NAMIFaithnet
We will update this blog every month at the least with news from our affiliate, from NAMI Mass and NAMI National.