Archives for September 2014

Whisper or Yell your story

whisper or yell your story

When I was looking at the quote above, I thought about how stigma can at times cause us to not even be able to whisper our story.
Did you know that 1 in 5 Americans live with a mental health disorder but nearly two-thirds of all people diagnosed with a mental health disorder do not seek treatment? This is often due to fear of disclosure, lack of knowledge and fear of discrimination. It is difficult enough to reach out to others and even more so when one does not know where to get resources. We are prepared for life events such as school, college, that first job, becoming an independent adult but no one prepares us for dealing with a mental health disorder. It is not something in common conversations in school, among friends, communities or even in our families yet 1 in 5 Americans are living with a mental health disorder.
NAMI Northside Atlanta recognized how difficult it was for individuals and families to reach out for mental health resources. We have created a website www.naminorthsideatlanta.org where people can locate resources and support. This led to NAMI Northside Atlanta deciding to host a free annual mental health fair where individuals and families can be connected with mental health services throughout Atlanta. It has been well attended with over 300 people in attendance this year and over 30 exhibitors of mental health services. We are also able to have guest speakers who are experts in the field of mental health share information with those attending during the free luncheon.
All of this is possible due to fundraising through events such as the NAMI GA Walk. All of those who work at organizing the mental health fair, setting up the venue and helping on the day of the event are volunteers. It still costs money to provide the luncheon, set up the venue, advertise the event and provide printed materials during the fair. We could not continue to do so each year without the generous donations given during fundraising events.
Please support our efforts to give individuals and families a voice, resources, support and maybe the opportunity to someday “Tell Their Story” with others. You can join our team for the walk in November or make a donation to support us by going to http://namiwalks.nami.org/Northsiders . You can contribute to our team in general or support an individual walk team member by clicking on that person’s name. Help us “Yell Our Story” to others in our community.
Thank you!
Neitcha Thomsen
Northsiders Team Captain

I would dye my hair green, if I had any …

I would dye my hair green, if I had any…
Dave Lushbaugh, President, NAMI Northside Atlanta
Make a Statement
  • Wear green. Be creative; don’t just limit this to your everyday wardrobe. Wear green shoelaces, a green suit, dye your hair green or paint your fingernails.
  • Initiate a “Wear Green Day.” Encourage your workplace and friends to pick a day during the month to wear green to spread the word about Mental Illness Awareness Week.
  • Wear a green ribbon. Pin it on your shirt or on your bag or backpack.
  • Learn about new research, advances in treatments and coping strategies for living with mental illness and share what you find out with your family and friends. There might even be some simple ideas that you can pass along that can be incorporated into an everyday routine.
  • Share your story of hope on You Are Not Alone.
  • Participate in a NAMIWalk—and wear green!
  • Share your photos of your activities using #MIAW on twitter or facebook or submit your pictures to YANA (You are not Alone) or on our Facebook page.
Mental Illness Awareness Week is Oct 5 – 11, 2014!

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You Are Not Alone

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“Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul

And sings the tune without the words

And never stops at all.”

~Emily Dickinson

 

The big message that NAMI provides to families and individuals impacted by mental illness is “You Are Not Alone”. I know that when my family was looking for resources and support, it felt like we were very alone. Feeling that you are alone and the only person going through a challenge often makes it seem overwhelming and frightening. When we tell our story we let others know that we get it. It sends the message that we have been there and understand the struggles they are facing.

One way we share our story with others is through the Family-to-Family program. This is a 12 week program that is free to loved ones of individuals living with mental illness. The program teaches crisis management, communication skills, current research and treatment information, self- care, impact of mental illness on the brain, how to find support and resources and much, much more. The course is taught by two individuals who have family members with a mental illness. During the course there is a lot of sharing, bonding and telling of stories. It is amazing to watch the transformation that happens in the individuals attending the program. For many it is the first time they are among others who truly understand and are there to support them. In other words….they no longer feel alone. That is the power of telling our story. Your story can help others begin to heal and at the same time you heal in the process.

Please support the NAMI GA 2014 walk. It is through the fund raising provided by the NAMI Walk event that enables the local NAMI affiliates to continue to offer free support, education and advocacy to the Atlanta community. Family-to-Family is only one of the many free programs offered to our communities. To learn more about Family-to-Family and other NAMI programs visit www.nami.org and click on the “Support & Programs” and the “Education, Training and Peer Support Center”.

You can join our NAMI Northside Walk team by going to http://namiwalks.nami.org/Northsiders. Learn more about NAMI Northside Atlanta by visiting www.naminorthsideatlanta.org

Support us and help us continue to “Share Our Stories”.

Neitcha Thomsen

NNA 2014 Northsiders Walk team captain

Join our 2014 NAMIWalk and fight stigma!

I love this quote! Last summer I was at an art fair and bought a small pendant that said “Tell Your Story”. When I saw that pendant it stopped me in my tracks and really resonated with me.

So many of our families with NAMI have a story to tell but sometimes hesitate to do so due to the stigma that surrounds mental illness. I have been amazed over and over again at the results of sharing about the impact that mental illness has had on my family. The result is often someone coming up to me and saying “me too”. Mental illness impacts 1 in 4 families in the United States yet so few talk about it. This leads to people not knowing where to turn to for help and education. Please join us this year and “Tell Your Story” by joining our NAMI Northside Atlanta 2014 walk team. Help us raise awareness and end stigma!

This year we celebrate the theme of “Be a HERO for Mental Health”.

The NAMIWalk & 5K Run Atlanta will be held on Saturday, November 1 at Piedmont Park in Atlanta. 

The NAMIWalk is open to anyone interested in building awareness for NAMI Georgia and mental health, raising funds to support NAMI Georgia’s programs, and celebrating mental illness recovery. There is no registration fee to walk. The walk will be a 5K (3.1 miles) that will follow the same route as the 5K run. The path is designed to be a comfortable walk entirely inside the park.

The NAMIRun is a USTAF Certified 5K Chip-Timed Race and is a qualifier for the Peachtree Road Race! The race is open to runners of any level. The course is a fast course for a fast time. There is a $25 registration fee for runners. All runners will receive a moisture wicking NAMIRuns Atlanta shirt, an official qualifying time, and more. The race will be held in advance of the walk to allow runners to participate in both if they desire.

Please visit http://www.namiwalks.org and join the “Northsiders” team. Tell your story!

Sincerely,

Neitcha Thomsen/ NNA 2014 Walk Captain