National Alliance on Mental Illness
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NAMIWALKS Deliver Message Against Stigma
Nationwide Effort Marks Mental Health MonthTens of thousands of Americans will take to the streets beginning this weekend (May 1-2) to help eliminate stigma and raise public awareness that recovery from mental illness is possible.
NAMIWALKS are part of the Campaign for the Mind of America and Stigmabusters are encouraged to volunteer, participate or participate any way that they can. Visit www.nami.org/namiwalks to find out how you can participate.
"NAMIWALKS are an amazing phenomenon," said NAMI acting national executive director Michael Fitzpatrick, who participated in last year's walk in his home state of Maine. "Friends and neighbors come together who may have had no previous connection with mental health issues. They raise awareness. They build community."
Now in its second year, the program is being built from the grassroots up. It has expanded from 12 state and local communities in 2003 to a total of 35 this year. Most NAMI affiliates have selected May for the walks, with three scheduled for Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) in October. This year's walks also coincide with the federal government's launch of an eight-state education campaign, the Elimination of Barriers Initiative (EBI), aimed at helping fight stigma.
"NAMIWALKS are part of a broader movement," Fitzpatrick noted. "One in five Americans will be affected by mental illness at some point during their lifetimes. We invite everyone in every state and local community to join us. Part of our message is that everyone is welcome in our society."
"Every walk site is unique. Some draw locally. Some statewide. Some regionally. There are balloons, banners, food, face painting, music, moon bounces, and most of all hope."
Detailed site information is available at www.nami.org/namiwalks.
With more than 220,000 members and 1200 state and local affiliates, NAMI is the nation's largest grassroots organization dedicated to improving the lives of people with severe mental illnesses.
Funding sources for NAMI programs include hundreds of state and local governments and foundations; tens of thousands of individual donors; and a growing number of corporations. NAMI's greatest asset, however, is its volunteers, who donate an estimated $135 million worth of their time each year to education, support and advocacy. NAMI does not endorse any specific medication or treatment.
New subscribers to NAMI StigmaBusters Alerts may sign up at www.nami.org/subscribe. NAMI StigmaBuster Alerts are electronic newsletters provided free of charge as a public service. Contributions to support our work can be made on-line at www.nami.org/donate or via regular mail. Please make checks payable to NAMI and send to P.O. Box 79972, Baltimore, MD 21279-0972, or donate through the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC #0538).