In honor of National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day 2012 (May 9), this issue of Recovery for All features personal stories and histories of experiences of youth and young adults involved in NAMI, current research in interest of better supporting the mental health of diverse youth and recent and upcoming new resources that aim to strengthen and empower youth.
Growing Up Strong with NAMI
by Destin Strauss, Stigma Buster and Advisory Member of the Board, NAMI Lexington (Ky.)
“Life happens and you have to stay strong as you go on the journey. I had to grow up quickly when my Mom suddenly stopped teaching in 2004 due to health issues. I started attending NAMI events in 2006 after my mom took NAMI Family-to-Family… I began to learn about mental illness and became a Stigma Buster… At age 12, I became active with NAMI Family-to-Family and the NAMI Family Support Group. I supported my mom's leadership roles and attempted to start a youth support group…” Click here to read the full story.
by Kim, former intern of NAMI Augusta (Ga.)
“My teenage years started off on a good foot, starting high school with a new perspective—a new start to a whole new life. For a little while the new experience welcomed me with open arms, then reality hit… I battled with major depression, anxiety disorder, slight multi-personality disorder, and other mental illness diagnoses. I was no longer the same girl… I had to create the will to live and that’s when I began to recover. As senior year came along I decided to expand on my personal experience and create a support group for my senior project.” Click here to read the full story.
Beacon of Light: My Path to Becoming a NAMI Leader
by Jinneh Dyson, executive director, NAMI Metropolitan Houston
“I knew that it was my passion and life calling to work with others that had been affected by mental illness. After many years working in the field, I realized that my voice and my story were needed in a different capacity. I was needed to advocate for others. In 2008 I started working as a director of education for a NAMI Oklahoma and soon after I was promoted to executive director, making me one of few African Americans in this leadership role and, being under 30, one of the youngest. After a recent move closer to my childhood home, I am now the executive director of NAMI Metropolitan Houston.” Click here to read the full story.
Supporting Students: Addressing Mental Health on College Campuses
by Dana Markey, program manager, NAMI
In an effort to equip colleges with this important information, NAMI recently completed a national survey of young adults living with mental illness currently enrolled in school or who were enrolled in the past five years… Among the major conclusions of the survey, stigma continues to be the number one barrier to accessing mental health services and supports for college students. Click here to read the full story.
Learning to Support LGBT Children’s Mental Health and Well-Being
by Caitlin Ryan, Ph.D., A.C.S.W., director, Family Acceptance Project, San Francisco State University
While there are a range of support services for LGBT youth, few services have focused on the role or needs of families of LGBT adolescents, particularly families that are Spanish-speaking. This prompted and Dr. Rafael Diaz and myself to start the Family Acceptance Project (FAP) in 2002—the first research, education, family intervention and policy project to help ethnically and religiously diverse families support their LGBT children. FAP is affiliated with San Francisco State University. Our team has conducted the first in-depth research on what happens in Latino families when LGBT young people come out during adolescence. Click here to read the full story.
July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month which offers organizations of all types and sizes a wonderful opportunity to create mental health awareness in diverse communities. This year we mark the fifth anniversary of this effort and our fourth year of NAMI’s partnership in celebration with the National Network to Eliminate Disparities in Behavioral Health (NNED). Along the way, many organizations have hosted a variety of events and activities in communities across the country. Join the celebration this year and bring awareness and much needed information to your community! Visit the NAMI website to learn how this month was established in honor of best-selling author and mental health advocate Bebe Moore Campbell and to access resources such as an activity guide, logos, flyers and sample press releases.
National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month Planning Webinar: June 5, 1 p.m. ET
In order to help you get started and to share ideas of activities you could implement, we will be hosting a planning webinar on Tuesday, June 5 at 1 p.m. ET. This webinar will provide strategies, tips and ideas you could use to mark the month. It will focus on social media related activities and on activities you could host at the community level. This will provide a broad array of options that you could implement. You will hear from people who have successfully implemented celebration activities before and who will share lessons learned. Register to receive participation details.
Let us know your plans!
Like us on Facebook and join the conversation! Post your plans to celebrate the month with the name of the activity, date and a web link to more information, photos or video, etc. Selected posts that receive the most comments or likes will be featured in our Celebration Webinar on July 10th at 1 p.m. EST (save the date!) and elsewhere by the NNED and NAMI.
NAMI 2012 Convention is June 27-30