By Luna Greenstein
Due to her mother’s mental health condition, Robin Reedy, President of NAMI Western Nevada, spent most of her life running away from anything that had to do with mental illness. She spent her childhood thinking that there were no options or hope for her situation. It wasn’t until much later in life that she even learned about NAMI, and our efforts to help people like her and her mother. Realizing that ‘recovery is possible’ has been the best thing about her experience with NAMI, or “Getting to see people recover and learning that families affected by mental illness can have hope, for me, has been a revelation.”
The brand new NAMI Affiliate in Nevada is filled with motivated and passionate people like Robin, who are all in some way affected by mental illness. In result, NAMI Western Nevada won the NAMI Affiliate of the Year Award, presented at the recent 2015 NAMI Annual Convention, an accomplishment for certain in their very first year of official operation. All of the hard work and progress made by this group of people is done so voluntarily. There is no paid staff at NAMI Western Nevada.
Even though this NAMI Affiliate is relatively new, a lot of the members originally lived in other states and have years of previous experience working with NAMI. This has helped NAMI Western Nevada to adopt strategies that work well from other NAMI State Organizations and Affiliates.
One of their current goals is to reach 100 volunteers, which Robin predicts will happen very shortly as the new affiliate continues to get its name out there. They recently had an event to raise awareness about NAMI and NAMI Western Nevada, which was a legislative reception at the governor’s mansion. This event was familiar territory for Robin because she served as the governor’s chief of staff before becoming the president of NAMI Western Nevada. Governor Sandoval's chief of staff and other staff attended the event, and in result became members.
Robin states that the legislative reception was very well received, but she anticipates an upcoming event to be NAMI Western Nevada’s highlight of 2015: their first ever full-out fundraiser set for October 8, which will be cirque du solei themed.
Other future plans of the affiliate include trying to get more people involved. Part of their mission is reaching out to the rural areas of Nevada. The board is extremely passionate in their efforts to grow the NAMI presence in Nevada and to help create more NAMI Affiliates within the state. They are also reaching out to the Spanish and Native American communities, and are holding their first Spanish education class soon.
If NAMI Western Nevada can put themselves on the NAMI map within less than a year of official operation, it is very exciting to see how they will progress in the future. While accepting the NAMI Affiliate of the year award, Robin posed a question that accurately represents the limitless energy that has gone towards making NAMI Western Nevada great, “If its not you, who? And if its not now, when?”
NAMI is an association of hundreds of local affiliates, state organizations and volunteers who work in communities across the country. We are the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization providing education, advocacy, support and public awareness so that individuals and families affected by mental illness can build better lives. Learn more about the NAMI Affiliate closest to you and how you can get involved in your community.
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