NAMI Inclusion Grantees Make Headway: A Mid-Year Update
In February 2007, NAMI National awarded funding to NAMI state organizations and affiliates for use in membership, opportunity, or inclusion grant programs. The Multicultural Action Center has since been working closely with the inclusion grant program sites, assisting them in their efforts to build best practices in reaching out to multicultural populations and consumers to strengthen diversity within the organization.
The inaugural issue of Recovery for All introduced our readers to the plans of a handful of the grant sites. The mid-year highlights, detailed below, offer readers a sample of the work inside some of those and additional sites and the progress they have made so far:
The state of Georgia is focusing on reaching out to the Latino community. The organization has proceeded by collaborating and hosting a conference: the first Georgia Latino Mental Health Summit, held in July. The summit focused on a variety of issues relevant to Georgia’s Latino population and featured expert speakers from partner agencies such as The Center for Education, Treatment, and Prevention of Addiction, and the National Latino/a Psychological Association. NAMI Georgia is also offering a Latino support group and training teachers for upcoming Familia-a-Familia classes.
NAMI Greater Cleveland
Grant funding is being utilized to increase the capacity of current outreach efforts. To date, this affiliate has experienced increased calls to the Helpline from targeted communities, increased materials dissemination, and boosted African American and Latino participation in education programs and leadership roles. Along with attending various health fairs, conferences, and presentations, NAMI Greater Cleveland co-sponsored a free Latino mental health conference. This event offered CME credits for professionals and a separate track for consumers and family members.
NAMI Montgomery County (PA)
In an effort to support the needs of the burgeoning Latino population of Montgomery County, this affiliate has collaborated with ACLAMO, the only Latino human service organization in the county, and Central MH/MR, a behavioral health service provider. A new NAMI office has opened in Norristown, where the majority of the county’s Latino population is located. Free memberships and other promotions are being implemented around the upcoming NAMI Walk in Harrisburg in order to boost Latino participation in this new affiliate. NAMI Montgomery County has grant follow-up plans to host a cultural competence workshop for providers in spring 2008.
The organization formed a NAMI Oklahoma Native American Advisory Committee that met with members from several Native American Institutions, including Bacone College, The Association of American Indian Physicians, as well as representatives of the Chickasaw, Seminole, Kiowa, Creek, and Western Cherokee nations. The committee will work with NAMI Oklahoma in creating a Native American toolkit and outreach strategy. Two sessions during the state conference focused on the needs of Native Americans and strategies for supporting families of Native American decent. The state also sponsored a booth at Red Earth, a national Native American festival.
NAMI Palm Beach County(FL)
The grant has allowed NAMI Palm Beach County to reach out to a variety of diverse populations and to collaborate with number of community leaders. Efforts have been made to reach families and consumers through the local veterans’ administration, jail programs, and a regional mental health facility. The affiliate has also collaborated with Black Chamber of Commerce businesses regarding dual programs for employees and their families. NAMI Palm Beach County is hoping to bring Family-to-Family to the Haitian community through partnering with a local counseling center, having already experienced increased African American participation in this education program.
NAMI Rhode Island
A multicultural outreach committee has been formed to help guide the state’s effort to reach out to African American and Latino populations. This committee is embarking on collaborative efforts with a variety of organizations and agencies in the state. The state executive director and other members of the organization have attended multicultural-focused conferences, trainings, and workshops. NAMI Rhode Island also co-sponsored a day-long conference for Spanish speakers. Efforts are underway to recruit individuals from the targeted communities for training to teach Family-to–Family classes.
These examples are only a small portion of NAMI efforts being made to reach out and support diverse communities across the country. For more informationon this program, on any of the NAMI inclusion grant sites, or general inquiries about the NAMI 2007 grant program, please e-mail MACenter@nami.org.