After countless hours of hard work publicizing NAMI and the importance of mental health awareness at the University of Vermont, Maria Moore could finally smile after her new student-led group held its first meeting.
"It’s been a struggle at times—that’s for sure," admits Moore. She has spent several hours a week during the current semester trying to explain and publicize her proposed student organization to as many university students, faculty and other staff as possible. She has talked to several university administrators, met with on-campus counselors, presented to several classes, and handed out or posted more than a thousand of fliers.
Despite some initial challenges, at long last Moore’s group convened on November 14, and she is very satisfied with how it went. She concludes, "It was a lot of hard work that paid off in the end."
Besides a strong turnout, everyone seemed to have a good time. More importantly, Moore adds that "everyone was pretty comfortable talking about mental health."
"The best part of the first meeting was when a woman came and gave an incredible talk about her bipolar son. It made me feel like the group was already making a difference. It is times like these that reaffirm my belief that I want to be involved in NAMI for the rest of my life."
"It hasn’t always been easy," says Moore. "But it’s been a great experience so far, and everyone I’ve talked to has been very supportive of my efforts."
Maria plans to continue building momentum for her mental health awareness group at the University of Vermont, and in the coming months anticipates completing the paperwork to become an official NAMI affiliate.
Students or others interested in the NAMI on Campus program can email email@example.com for more information.