By Susan Agner
Special to the Salisbury Post
NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) North Carolina is a grassroots non-profit 501(c)(3) organization founded 30 years ago with the mission to promote recovery and optimize the quality of life for those affected by mental illness.
In 2013-2014 there were 1,600 members in 34 affiliates across the state.
NAMI NC serves the needs of those living with mental illness and their families in North Carolina by providing education, support and information and referral services.
Volunteers are the heart of NAMI NC. Volunteers provide family and individual peer education and support, advocate on behalf of those affected and represent NAMI at health fairs and community groups.
NAMI’s success is a direct result of contributions from generous donors.This year a full-time advocacy staff member was added and a new advocacy fund established. A new communications specialist helped to produce a public service announcement on TV. The NAMI Homefront program was launched for veterans and military. The Mental Health First Aid program was launched for community members. The NAMI Smarts program was launched for advocacy.
The following established classes continue to be offered across the state at no charge: NAMI In Our Own Voice, NAMI Family to Family, NAMI Peer to Peer, NAMI Basics, and NAMI Parents and Teachers as Allies. Support groups such as NAMI Family Support Groups and NAMI Connection Recovery Support Groups continue to meet. NAMI on Campus clubs were active at eight college and universities.
The NAMI Veterans Council expanded from five to 13 members representing eight affiliates. The NAMI NC Consumer Council expanded affiliate representation and now provides a monthly education segment.
NAMI NC continues to provide a HELPLINE 1-800-451-9682 to give education, support and referral information. Text 4 Teens was established in four counties to reach teenagers trying to cope with crises. The NAMI NC website is www.naminc.org.
The focus of the 2014 NAMI NC annual conference Oct. 16-18 was “Connecting Two Worlds: The Journey to Wellness, Integrating Physical and Behavioral Health Care.” Breakout sessions provided updates on initiatives such as UNC’s multi-disciplinary approach and experience with Dr. John Gilmore, director of the UNC Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health, and “NC-STeP: Using Telepsychiatry to Improve Access to Evidence–Based Care” with Dr. Sy Atezaz Saeed from the Department of Psychiatry at East Carolina University.
NAMI Rowan is the local affiliate established in 1999. Meetings are the first and third Tuesdays of each month at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church fellowship hall, 1908 Statesville Blvd., Salisbury. Anyone in the community with concerns or questions about mental illness and community resources that are available is welcome to attend.
Family to Family, Peer to Peer, and NAMI Basics classes are being planned for 2015. There are no charges for attending the classes or meetings.
For more information contact Peggy Mangold, president (704-640-8811) or Susan Agner, treasurer (704-647-0168).
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