My name is Sakeenah, and I’ve gone from Homecoming Queen to homeless.
But for 15 years now, I have led a stable life. The National Alliance on
Mental Illness Greater Cleveland (NAMI GC) has helped me. I have two
wonderful sisters, a lovely daughter, and a treasured stepson.
I was Homecoming Queen my senior year of college. But in my mid-20s, I began to have
hallucinations. Shortly after, my sick baby died, I separated from my husband,
lost custody of my other daughter to my parents, and was placed in a
mental institution. I thought I’d never leave.
I wanted to end it all. When I got the chance, I went to a lake to drown myself.
I heard the voice of my 6-year-old daughter asking, “What happened to my mommy?”
I came out of the lake, never to try suicide again.
For a few years I was stable, but found myself homeless for a week after being locked
out of my house by the landlord. I got meals at a church and through a
downtown church van. I slept on a hill overlooking Lake Erie and on buses.
My daughter went to live with my dad.
Once back on my medicine, I volunteered and then worked for eight years as an
activities assistant at a nursing home, which later closed. I decided to train for NAMI’s
Speaker’s Bureau. Now I speak to college students, psychiatrists in residency,
family members and hospital nurses about my illness and recovery.
I shared my speeches with my daughter, Anika (pictured above, left), and together
we decided to write a book. I wrote my section of the book at NAMI GC’s offices.
“Love’s All that Makes Sense” comes out next spring. Anika made me realize
how mental illness affects more than the ill person.
NAMI GC was my backbone when my mental health center closed suddenly.
For 23 years, I received medicine and case management at that agency.
I was serving on their board of trustees. Around this time, both my father and my
boyfriend died. I was not thinking clearly. NAMI got me back on my feet.
With the help of the people at NAMI GC, I am living independently with
paranoid schizophrenia. I hope my story shows those affected by
serious mental illness that there is hope for recovery.
Will you consider making a financial donation to ensure NAMI Greater
Cleveland’s programs continue? All services are free. Besides supporting
education courses, support groups, community education events,
the Speaker’s Bureau, the helpline and advocacy, you will help
families make lasting changes!
Please keep NAMI GC in mind for your year-end giving.
A gift to NAMI is tax deductible.
Giving to NAMI Greater Cleveland's Annual Fund, helps us continue
providing valuable services that help so many, including our
Consumer and Family Support, Education classes, the Helpline
and Community Education programs. To give, please complete the following information:
□ My gift will be matched by______________________________(enclose form)
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□ I would like more information on ways I can include NAMI Greater Cleveland in
my long-term financial plans.
□ Please accept my gift of $___________to be paid in_________ installments,
NAMI Greater Cleveland will in-voice you.
□ Please accept my one time gift of $_________
□ Check inclosed. Please made checks payable to NAMIGreater Cleveland.
Your gift is %100 tax-deductible
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Please send to:
NAMI Greater Cleveland
2012 W. 25th St., # 600
Cleveland, Ohio 44113
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