Virtual meeting can raise spirits

christina : May 28, 2020 10:42 pm : Blog

With the introduction of the coronavirus pandemic and its effect on the Wood River Valley, many of us are experiencing greater fear and anxiety just to accomplish our daily routines. All that we remember is the comfort of being with others who validate our experience with mental illness and who can tell us there absolutely will be an end to these frightening feelings. Sometimes it’s just a hug we need and time to be heard by a good friend. No one understands these issues like those who are going through them. As this illness is chronic, we have become our own experts in what is working for ourselves.

I found myself in this same place many years ago, having moved to a new community and knowing no one I could reach out to because I felt the shame and fear that a diagnosis can bring. As well, I knew that others must feel as I do but where do I find them? How do I find them?

In my work as executive director at NAMI-WRV, it became my personal mission to bring in the Connection Support Group because I believed no one should be alone when they are going through crisis. And a great group of facilitators were trained who began their work and did wonders for many of our community members by facilitating and listening. This group became recognized as one that was making a difference in our community and I was honored to receive the Woman of the Year Award in 2012 for my effort to make it real. But it took a village—and I honor each and every one of the original group that made this such a success.

We have reformulated the model and brought it to the Zoom format with our new launch scheduled to begin on June 1. There will be a regular gathering where we share what’s going on and use our wisdom to help each other, a WRAP Wellness Recovery Action Plan Group (in development) so that we are all prepared for the ups and downs that come with a mental health diagnosis, relatable guest speakers and a Night Owl Meeting on Friday evenings so we can just meet in the comfort of wherever we land after a long day of stressing. Call it a wind down. The plan is to have movie nights and gatherings in this format so everyone is able to seek joy as well as lift others no matter where they are in the course of their illness. We want to raise up your spirits.

The times of the meetings will coincide with others offered throughout the state and country, in fact, worldwide! You will be able to attend meetings every evening, just like the AA format, which has been helpful during this period of isolation. I am excited to say that I am back to facilitate from my home in Canada because it doesn’t matter where you are, we share the same room, the same issues and a genuine passion for being there for each other. We are currently meeting with many new individuals and there is a lot of laughter and, of course, some sadness, but we are committed to shine that light in the darkness, especially when times are tough. We are showing up to commit to each other and to connect with compassion, reason, good solutions and love because together, we are empowering ourselves to wellness.

If you are a peer, we invite you to connect with us at and we will provide you with information to join us on Tuesday, June 1, at 5:30 p.m. for our launch. And feel free to invite peers from anywhere they have internet access. You’ll meet some fabulous, genuinely gifted individuals who, like me, want to be there sharing the journey with you.

Wendy Norbom is a former executive director and current peer and connections coordinator for the National Alliance on Mental Illness—Wood River Valley.

May 27, 2020

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NAMI-WRV Announces Mental Health Awareness Month Activities

christina : May 5, 2020 1:44 am : Blog

Hailey, ID — The Wood River Valley affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI-WRV) is proud to announce its schedule of activities for Mental Health Awareness Month. NAMI-WRV will have a membership drive that will highlight the national StigmaFree campaign and will provide updates on mental health accomplishments in the valley over the past year. These efforts will bring attention to mental health challenges, encourage wider acceptance, and foster change within our community by helping to remove the negative connotations that are commonly attached to mental health needs.

NAMI-WRV Board Chairwoman Page Klune stated, “Our community’s progressive approach to improving well being is inspiring, and this May we’re excited to be at the forefront of positive change. We’ve offered community programs for mental health for a long time, and we continue to find an ever-increasing need from people of all ages. One in five individuals in the valley has mental health challenges. These often go undiagnosed and untreated. In response, we’ve expanded our reach online due to COVID-19, as we want to ensure a comfortable approach for everyone.  This is all free support with peer groups through regular and advertised zoom meetings.  We are consistently educating in our outreach to further engage more of the community.  It is vitally important to stress a StigmaFree environment, opening more doors for more people who are faced with mental challenges.  And in our present mode of life, the numbers continue to escalate more rapidly than normal.  We will continue to reframe the topic of mental health: it’s ok to not be ok; it affects us all; there is help and no shame in seeking it;  treatment is effective, and this community supports you;”

NAMI-WRV Executive Director Christina Cernansky adds, “This year, we hope to engage with all five cities in our county, and branch out to new partners. We invite the community to take part in our annual bike ride this month for Mental Health Awareness Month. It’s a great way to start these important conversations about wellness with your co-workers, family, and friends. We hope that beyond this fun and safe social distancing event, people will remember the value of the message it brings to the community, and continue to support our programs. You truly can make a difference for those in need. Pedal into wellness!”

NAMI-WRV has also updated its support group schedule during this time of isolation and is working with our former executive director, Wendy Norbom to head up a new “Recovery & Wellness” group which will be meeting on Tuesdays and Fridays online, via Zoom. “I am excited to help expand upon the program (NAMI Connections) brought to the valley ten years ago. This program will be peer-led and will provide participants the opportunity to share their experiences with mental health conditions and receive support and recovery from other attendees.  Better still, with this online format, our peers are able to connect with individuals who share their diagnoses throughout the nation via affiliates and referrals. This online program will be of benefit to those who cannot find transportation to meetings, who are not comfortable leaving their residence, as well as to those living in isolation or that reside in remote or rural communities. The shared experiences of living with a mental illness, as in any chronic health diagnosis, is the key to finding balance in recovery and offers NAMI’s messages of hope and community,” added Wendy Norbom.

NAMI-WRV will continue with weekly Survivor of Suicide support group every Monday at 6 pm; the weekly Spanish family support group, every Thursday’s at 6 pm; English Family Support group every first and third Wednesday of the month at 6 pm; Wellness & Recovery support group will be meet every Tuesday & Friday at 530pm; and the Yoga for Mental Wellness Monday-Thursday at 4:15 pm.  All groups are on Zoom and information is located on Facebook and

One way that employers, big and small, can make a difference for Mental Health Awareness Month this May, is to participate in the HR presentation we are hosting in partnership with The Chamber on Friday, May 29 at 12 pm. This event will provide employers and managers with a ‘Mental Health in the workplace 101’ and help to identify the five signs of mental distress. In this presentation, we will look at answering the following questions: what are the main challenges in the workplace, what can you do as a supervisor or manager, and what resources are available for you. More information regarding this campaign can be found at

This year, NAMI-WRV is also asking faith leaders to share informational FaithNet resources in their virtual bulletins and share information in a homily during Mental Health Awareness Month. “In a season when the connections between spiritual and mental health and wellness are being explored in fresh ways, it is all the more important, in light of our global pandemic, to lean in and pay attention. NAMI’s FaithNet is doing precisely this; I both applaud their initiative and encourage others to support it,” said NAMI-WRV advisory council member Mike Higgs, Blaine County Chaplaincy.

The Biking for Mental Wellness, a StigmaFree Ride event, has gone virtual this year, and you can participate on your own, for the entire month of May. This family-friendly bike ride is a great way to come together and show your support for those in the community who are impacted by mental health conditions. NAMI encourages business, faith, government, and nonprofit leaders to utilize this ride as a way to communicate the importance of creating a culture free of stigma, as well as protecting and helping those with mental health needs. The ride is also a great team-building opportunity to start the conversation, show you care, and build a safer and more open community.


Mental Health Awareness Month Activities in May are:

  • Tuesday, May 5: City of Ketchum proclamation to support mental health awareness

  • Thursday, May 7: City of Sun Valley proclamation to support mental health awareness

  • Thursday, May 7: Blaine County Commissioners proclamation to support mental health awareness

  • Monday, May 11: City of Hailey proclamation to support mental health awareness

  • Monday, May 11: City of Bellevue proclamation to support mental health awareness

  • Friday, May 29: 12:00 pm: NAMI-WRV & The Chamber Mental Health HR presentation, virtual brown bag lunch on Zoom (Meeting ID: 892-9536-9563, Meeting Password: fun)

  • For the month of May: Biking for Mental Wellness, a StigmaFree Ride (register online at




NAMI – WRV is dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with mental illness and their families through support, education, and advocacy; and to bridge the gap between urban and rural mental health services. Additional NAMI-WRV events, support groups, and resources can be found online at

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NAMI Releases Resource Guide in English & Spanish

christina : March 24, 2020 5:58 pm : Blog

NAMI National has created a COVID-19 resource guide in English and in Spanish. We hope this guide is helpful to the NAMI community and the greater public during this difficult period.

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NAMI-WRV will host it’s support groups on Zoom until further notice

christina : March 23, 2020 9:55 pm : Blog

Effective immediately, NAMI-WRV will host it’s support groups on Zoom until further notice.

Dear Mental Health Advocate, 

As an organization that provides support for individuals experiencing mental distress, we understand that times such as these can be challenging, particularly when it comes to the development of feelings of anxiety or social isolation. NAMI-Wood River Valley (NAMI-WRV) has adopted and now offers three evening weekly support groups on Zoom for PEERS on Monday & Friday, FAMILY SUPPORT in English on Wednesday, and FAMILY SUPPORT IN SPANISH on Thursday nights. NAMI’s support groups are unique because they follow a structured model to ensure you and others in the group have an opportunity to be heard and to get what you need.  NAMI-WRV support groups are always offered free of charge, and ALL are welcome

You can read our statement on the difference between social distancing, and social isolation here.  Please also take the time to read this article the Mt. Express asked us to write regarding how to take care of yourself during these uncertain times.  We share the same thoughts on grounding techniques that we incorporate in our personal mental health practices, and also in our support groups. 

Now is the time to lean in, support one another, and certainly ask for help if we need it. Reach out, trust us, you’re not alone!

Thank you,

NAMI-WRV Staff, Board, and Advisors

For more information regarding our support network, please contact us at (208) 481-0686 or We are available 7-days a week from 9am-9pm, to support you, and your family, during this time of need, one-on-one.  Links and updates to the support groups can be found online at and on our Facebook page

Students and parents that participate in the Bluebirds teen support group, within the Blaine County School District, can contact Brittany Shipley, the programs coordinator at, or 208-720-4004. 

Weekly Family Support Group

NAMI-WRV’s Family Support Groups are led by trained family members of individuals living with mental health challenges. They understand your daily challenges and can offer you encouragement and support. All groups are confidential – you can share as much or as little as you wish.

FIRST & THIRD WEDNESDAY, 6:00 – 7:00 pm
Meeting ID: 898-0761-1667
Meeting Password: fsg
To call in:
+1 669 900 6833
Meeting ID: 898-0761-1667
Meeting Password: fsg


Meeting ID: 879 918 928, Meeting Password: 392609

To call in:

+1 346 248 7799

Meeting ID: 879 918 928, Meeting Password: 392609

Weekly Connection Recovery Support Group 

NAMI Connection Recovery Support Group is a peer-led support group for adults living with a mental health challenge. It is a casual and relaxed approach to sharing the challenges and successes of coping with our mental wellness. This group is confidential, and there is no need to register–just come when you feel like you need someone to talk to. The groups are led by NAMI-trained facilitators who have been there. Any adult diagnosed with a mental illness, regardless of the diagnosis, is welcome to attend.

EVERY MONDAY AT 5:30 pm & FRIDAY at 8pm

Meeting ID: 917995809

Password: 672832


What will I gain by attending a NAMI support group?

By sharing your experiences in a safe and confidential setting, you gain hope, practical skills, and develop new relationships. The group encourages empathy and acceptance, productive and practical discussions, and a sense of community.


  • We see the individual first, not the illness
  • We recognize that mental illnesses are medical illnesses that may have environmental triggers
  • We understand that mental illnesses are traumatic events
  • We aim for better coping skills
  • We find strength in sharing experiences
  • We reject stigma and do not tolerate discrimination
  • We do not judge anyone’s pain
  • We forgive ourselves and reject guilt
  • We embrace humor as healthy
  • We accept that we cannot solve every problem
  • We work for a better future in a realistic way


NAMI Connection has enabled me to take a good look at my illness and see that I am not alone. The program has given me additional tools to not only accept my illness, but to help others along the way.”

“People can solve problems [at a NAMI Connection Recovery Support Group]. It isn’t just a bunch of sad stories; people are coming up with solutions and stuff to do for the next week. One of our group attendees is taking her meds and getting herself to her counselor and is just about able to go back to her career in great part due to Connection.”

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NAMI: Take care of yourself during COVID-19

christina : March 18, 2020 6:50 pm : Blog

By Christina Cernansky and Brittany Shipley

As our lifestyle in the Wood River Valley has changed for the foreseeable future, our community stands together, as always, supporting one another during times of need. While the community is responding appropriately and we strive to keep Blaine County at the peak of its resilience, there are ongoing concerns about social isolation.

At NAMI-Wood River Valley, our primary focus is to provide ongoing support to people experiencing mental distress, and we understand that times of uncertainty can be challenging, particularly when it comes to the development of feelings of anxiety or social isolation. It is important to remember that social distancing does not have to include social isolation. While schools and businesses have closed to create social distancing and prevent the spread of this virus, social isolation does not need to be the result.

There are a variety of techniques that can be used to help prevent feelings of isolation from developing. Just as every individual is unique, the preferred skills for self-regulation will also be unique; therefore, the more tools you have in your toolbox, the better!

Here at NAMI-WRV, we have become accustomed to using the Community Resiliency Model and a variety of skills to help “ground” ourselves when we feel off-balance, allowing for regulation of our central nervous systems. We encourage you to do the same by taking time to get outside and go for a walk, feeling the ground beneath your feet, the warmth of the sun on your skin and each inhalation of fresh air deep down into your chest. Taking the time to enjoy moments such as these can prevent feelings of isolation during uncertain times and help to expand our zones of resilience as we strive to overcome hardships.

A variety of other “help now” skills can be used to help regulate our central nervous systems when we find that we have been knocked out of our resilient zone. Some of these skills may include pushing your hands or back against a wall or noticing the sounds within the space you are in, either inside or outside. This can help bring us back to the present moment and remind us that in this moment we are OK.

Another skill we use is when you call on your own personal “resources.” A resource can be people, places, things, spiritual guidance, hobby or experience that when you think about it sparks joy or calm on the inside. You can recall your resource in your mind while using all your senses to bring it to life–the sights, smells, textures, temperature and sounds from that memory while noticing the pleasant sensations in your body.

Social distancing does not have to include social isolation. Reach out. Call, text or use FaceTime with your loved ones. Times of struggle and uncertainty shouldn’t lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation. If you are struggling, or a loved one is, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask for help. A list of available resources in Blaine County can be found at Further, NAMI has provided a list of helpful resources during these times of uncertainty that can also be found on our website at

The staff at NAMI-WRV remains committed to supporting our community through these uncertain times. While we are unable to provide in-person support groups, we remain available to support our community via phone, text or email. Staff can be contacted from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at or by calling Christina Cernansky at 208-481-0686 or Brittany Shipley at 208-720-4004.

Christina Cernansky is executive director of the Wood River Valley chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Hailey. Brittany Shipley is the program coordinator.

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NAMI-WRV Statement on COVID-19

christina : March 16, 2020 6:23 pm : Blog


March 16, 2020

Community Members of the Wood River Valley,

In response to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, and with guidance from the South Central Public Health District and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), NAMI-Wood River Valley (NAMI-WRV), will be ceasing all local support groups at this time to protect the health of our participants, volunteers, and staff.

It is with heavy hearts that we have come to this decision; however, we feel that it is in the best interest of the community as we strive to keep Blaine County at its peak of resiliency. As an organization that provides support for individuals experiencing mental distress, we understand that times such as these can be challenging, particularly when it comes to the development of feelings of anxiety or social isolation. It is important to remember that social distancing does not have to include social isolation. While schools and businesses may have closed to create social distancing and prevent the spreading of this virus, social isolation does not need to be the end result.

Here at NAMI-WRV, we have become accustomed to utilizing the Community Resiliency Model (CRM) and a variety of skills to help “ground” ourselves when we feel off-balance, allowing for regulation of our central nervous systems. We encourage you to do the same by taking the time to get outside, enjoy the sunshine by taking a walk and feeling the ground beneath your feet, the warmth of the sun on your skin, and how the fresh air feels with each inhale you take deep down into your chest. Taking the time to enjoy moments such as these, can prevent feelings of isolation during uncertain times and help to expand our zones of resilience as we strive to overcome hardships.

If you or a loved one is struggling, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask for help. A list of available resources in Blaine County, including the Know the Five Signs Campaign and contact information for the St. Luke’s Center for Community Health and the local Crisis Hotline, can be found at, Further, NAMI has provided a list of helpful resources during these times of uncertainty that can also be found on our website at,

While we are unable to offer in-person services at this time, we will continue taking calls as our mission at NAMI-WRV is: Support, Educate, Advocate. The staff of NAMI-WRV will be available from 9 am-5 pm to offer support and connect community members to resources via phone call, text, or email at


Christina Cernansky                            Brittany Shipley

Executive Director                              Programs Coordinator, BSW

(208) 481-0686                               (208) 720-4004




Miembros de la comunidad del Wood River Valley,
En respuesta a la reciente pandemia de COVID-19, y con la orientación del Distrito de Salud Pública del Centro Sur y los Centros para el Control de Enfermedades (CDC), NAMI-Wood River Valley (NAMI-WRV), cesará todos los grupos de apoyo locales en este momento. tiempo para proteger la salud de nuestros participantes, voluntarios y personal.
Con corazones pesados ​​hemos llegado a esta decisión; sin embargo, creemos que es lo mejor para la comunidad mientras nos esforzamos por mantener al Condado de Blaine en su punto máximo de resistencia. Como organización que brinda apoyo a las personas que experimentan angustia mental, entendemos que momentos como estos pueden ser desafiantes, particularmente cuando se trata del desarrollo de sentimientos de ansiedad o aislamiento social. Es importante recordar que el distanciamiento social no tiene que incluir el aislamiento social. Si bien las escuelas y las empresas pueden haber cerrado para crear distanciamiento social y evitar la propagación de este virus, el aislamiento social no necesita ser el resultado final.
Aquí en NAMI-WRV, nos hemos acostumbrado a utilizar el Modelo de Resiliencia Comunitaria (CRM) y una variedad de habilidades para ayudarnos a “ponernos a tierra” cuando nos sentimos fuera de balance, permitiendo la regulación de nuestros sistemas nerviosos centrales. Lo alentamos a hacer lo mismo tomándose el tiempo para salir, disfrutar del sol dando un paseo y sintiendo el suelo debajo de sus pies, el calor del sol en su piel y cómo se siente el aire fresco con cada inhalación que toma en el fondo de tu pecho. Tomarse el tiempo para disfrutar momentos como estos puede prevenir sentimientos de aislamiento durante tiempos de incertidumbre y ayudar a expandir nuestras zonas de resistencia mientras nos esforzamos por superar las dificultades.
Si usted o un ser querido tiene dificultades, no dude en comunicarse y pedir ayuda. Puede encontrar una lista de recursos disponibles en el Condado de Blaine, incluida la Campaña Conozca los Cinco Signos e información de contacto del Centro de Salud Comunitaria de St. Luke y la Línea Directa de Crisis local en /. Además, NAMI ha proporcionado una lista de recursos útiles durante estos tiempos de incertidumbre que también se pueden encontrar en nuestro sitio web en /.
Si bien no podemos ofrecer servicios en persona en este momento, continuaremos atendiendo llamadas ya que nuestra misión en NAMI-WRV es: apoyar, educar, defender. El personal de NAMI-WRV estará disponible de 9 am a 5 pm para ofrecer apoyo y conectar a los miembros de la comunidad con los recursos a través de una llamada telefónica, un mensaje de texto o un correo electrónico a

Herbert Romero al 208-309-5302 o Jose Varela 208-309-0922

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NAMI art show promotes gratitude

christina : March 1, 2020 8:32 pm : Blog

NAMI-WRV (that is, the Wood River Valley chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness) has announced that it will bring back its annual Journey to Wellness Art Show one month from today.

On Thursday, March 5, from 5:30-7:30 p.m., the nonprofit group will unveil its 2020 art show at the Ketchum Innovation Center.

The NAMI art show committee—consisting of Poo Wright Pulliam, Marie Stewart, Kirk Anderson and David Rau—has this year selected the theme “Gratitude,” and will select artworks that support this idea and suggest “the manifestation of health and wellness from a mentally challenged life,” to use the wording of the official announcement.

20-02-05 ARTS NAMI.jpg

NAMI also put out a call for artists’ submissions. Beginning on Feb. 17, artists can drop off their works at the NAMI-WRV office in the Community Campus, 1050 Fox Acres Road, Hailey.

The office is open weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. NAMI will take submissions there through Friday, Feb. 28. On that day, representatives from the organization will also be accepting artworks at the Ketchum Innovation Center, 180 Sixth St. W. in Ketchum.

The official call for artists stipulated that artists can “share in their own creative style, a piece of art, large, small, whatever medium, with a title (preferably) and focused on the theme of gratitude.” As with previous Journey to Wellness art shows, this approach is expected to produce a diverse selection of works on display.

As much as this show offers an excellent opportunity for local artists to showcase their talents and styles and for residents of and visitors to Blaine County to appreciate those talents and styles, the primary objective is to promote a positive approach to mental health and help inspire the show’s theme—gratitude.

Reflecting upon the show, the mission of NAMI and the benefit of taking a moment to consider the things for which one is grateful, the art show committee members shared examples of their own gratitude.

“I am grateful for the natural world around me and that I have the ability to put brush to paper as well as teach about birds and wildlife, sharing my passion with others,” Pulliam said. “Being in nature is my solace.”

Stewart expressed her appreciation of art, saying, “I am grateful for a lifetime of pursuing my passion in artistic, creative endeavors.”

Rau had similar sentiments to express, saying, “I practice gratitude every time I get the chance to paint. I lost the ability to paint with my right hand, and after some trials and many tribulations, I am grateful that I can still paint using my left hand.”

Inspiring gratitude is key for NAMI-WRV as it strives to improve the public understanding of mental illness and offer support to those who face mental health challenges.

The “Gratitude” show will be NAMI’s fourth art event since 2017’s “Starry Night” show. Each successive program has built upon that groundwork, expanded outreach and yielded greater results. The committee hopes to continue that legacy of success and end the stigma against mental health challenges in the community.

Kirk Anderson shared an anecdote that synthesized the group’s vision.

“I was traveling in Australia and noticed painted blue trees. They honor those we’ve lost to mental health challenges and suicide. It’s called the Blue Tree Project,” he said. “I am grateful that I was able to capture [on my camera] these works of art, yet the message was clear—the community wanted the viewers to know it’s OK not to be OK, to seek out help, get treatment, get support, and that’s what NAMI provides in our community with their support groups.”

As actor Vincent Price—a fine arts connoisseur, as it happens—put it, “Evil consists of the supreme act of ingratitude—to not be grateful for your life, not to be grateful for your love, for your sharing with people your ideas and accepting from them their ideas—lack of gratitude is the No. 1 sin in the world.”

Community members and artists can learn more about the show, the work of NAMI and what they can do to help at

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Mental-health facts can be scary

christina : October 31, 2019 6:53 pm : Blog

Halloween is the time of year when we all welcome being scared. Whether it is witches, ghosts or ghoulish costumes, we delight in the fright because it is fiction. And whether our scare-fest ends in candy or dissipates as the house lights come up, we go home and sleep easily. This Halloween, let’s consider some real-life scary facts—ones that will still be with us when Halloween is over.

Currently, 1 in 4 Idahoans live with a mental-health challenge, 13 percent of Idaho’s youth between the ages of 12-17 will suffer a major depressive episode, and 55 percent of Idahoans will receive no treatment for their mental-health needs on any given year. Furthermore, suicide is the second leading cause of death among Idahoans aged 15-34 and up to age 44 in men. Regardless of these facts, Idaho ranks 49th in the nation in spending on mental illness.

In our area, we have many therapists to provide on-going treatment (most have waiting lists), and only two psychiatrists who can prescribe and monitor medications. This means that each mental-health professional is responsible for too many patients, and not many are trauma-informed. This is not only unrealistic, but it is also impossible.

St. Luke’s, the Public Health District and private providers do what they can, but are unable to provide mental-health treatment options to everyone that needs them in a timely manner. There are wait times not only here locally, but also nationwide, to see a mental-health therapist. Given the toll that these challenges take on the individual and their families and friends, the solution shouldn’t rest solely in the hands of St. Luke’s or the government. The system is strained, and NAMI—Wood River Valley’s Peer Model support groups are here to fill some of these gaps in this private-public partnership.

NAMI’s support network empowers family members and individuals facing mental-health challenges to share their stories with each other in a support group setting. They receive the knowledge and tools they need to effectively advocate for their families and for themselves. Attendees connect with others who have walked that path. For families, who all too often are like a deer in headlights, this is where NAMI steps in. We can help. Loved ones and families don’t have to walk down that scary path alone. The stigma associated with a diagnosis shouldn’t be like “skeletons in the closet.” Many of us living with a mental-health condition live amazing lives, thanks to treatment plans.

NAMI’s teen support group, called the Bluebirds, empowers teens to advocate for themselves. Members connect in a peer setting to share coping strategies and support each other. Bluebirds help participants to know that they are not alone.

Our adult groups now meet six times a month, and we have women and men’s groups, as well as groups for all genders. Our Family Support Group now meets in Ketchum and Hailey, twice a month.

NAMI-WRV also coordinates with the judicial system. We work closely with the Probation Office, the Sheriff’s Office and the judiciary to help individuals get the treatment they need, to keep them out of the system. We hope to expand upon these programs.

Please join us, and our community partners, in our ongoing efforts to work on early intervention and to provide the best care possible for our community members struggling with mental-health challenges. Getting diagnosed with anxiety, depression, bipolar or an eating disorder shouldn’t be a death sentence or something that people have to manage on their own. Stand with us as we break down the barriers of stigma in our community and allow people to come out from the shadows. This shouldn’t be a scary process, but for many it is.

No tricks, just treats for those who live with these challenges. Recovery is possible and NAMI can help with community support.

Christina Cernansky is the executive director of NAMI—Wood River Valley.

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NAMI Statement on Mass Shootings in Texas and Ohio

christina : August 6, 2019 3:14 pm : Blog

NAMI Statement on Mass Shootings in Texas and Ohio

NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness , is deeply saddened by the tragic events that occurred
over the weekend in Texas and Ohio. These mass shootings are far too common and impact every
corner of our nation. Every time we experience a tragedy like this, people with mental illness are drawn
into the conversation. The truth is that the vast majority of violence is not perpetrated by people with
mental illness. Statements to the contrary only serve to perpetuate stigma and distract from the real

NAMI sees gun violence as a national public health crisis that impacts everyone.
“In the U.S., it is easier to get a gun than it is to get mental health care,” states Angela Kimball, acting
CEO. “We need to flip the script. It should be easy—not hard—for people to get the mental health
care they need.”

Mental health conditions are common around the globe, yet no other country comes close to the
number of mass shootings our country experiences. As a nation, we need to address this disturbing fact.
We implore and advocate for commonsense approaches to ending gun violence. For example, we
support gun violence prevention restraining orders or “Red Flag” laws that don’t target people with
mental health conditions, but that allow for the removal of guns from any person who poses a real,
evidence-based risk of violence to themselves or others.

At the same time, we cannot forget that mass shootings result in profound trauma that increases the
need for mental health care. One in five American adults experience a mental illness, but only 43% of
them accessed care in the last year. There is a severe shortage of mental health professionals – more
than 60 percent of all counties in the United States do not even have a single psychiatrist. People with
mental health needs, including survivors, their friends and families, and first responders, are
experiencing long waits for care, if they can get it at all. It’s time for Congress and the Administration to
act and make access to mental health care a national priority for everyone.

We all want an end to these horrific acts of violence. To achieve this, we need to find meaningful
solutions to protect our communities from senseless violence and lasting trauma. We owe it to future
generations to end this cycle for everyone, because the status quo is literally killing us.

Nami National Alliance on Mental Illness



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christina : June 4, 2019 9:55 pm : Blog

URGENT: PLEASE SUBMIT COMMENT TO FCC ON NATIONAL SUICIDE & CRISIS 3-DIGIT NUMBER. It takes 5 minutes and they need to hear from us in Idaho! Follow the below directions, upload provided comments onto a doc and you’re done!

Go to here:…

Input these two docket #s: 18-336 and 92-105

Fill out your contact info, and cut & paste the below letter onto a document and upload with your name.

Ms. Marlene Dortch
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554

As a concerned citizen that cares deeply about the issue of suicide prevention, I urge the FCC to support the designation or repurposing of an N11 dialing code for the purposes of a national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline system. An easy-to-remember 3-digit phone number for a national suicide prevention and mental health hotline would increase public access to life saving crisis resources.
The Overall Recommendation of the North American Numbering Council’s (NANC’s) Report to the FCC, to expand the 211 code to include crisis and suicide prevention calling services, would betray the intent of the National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act and squander a historic opportunity to improve our country’s suicide and mental health crisis systems.
The mental health and the public safety of Americans deserves a sole-purpose hotline number for people in crisis. Expanding the 211 code, which currently is designated for information and referral services (like utility assistance and employment opportunities), to include the responsibilities of mental health and suicide crisis response services diminishes the issues that communities across the country are facing. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for ages 10-34, the 4th leading cause of death for ages 35-54, and the 10th leading cause of death overall in the United States. Every year over 10 million people seriously consider suicide, over 1 million attempt suicide, and in 2017 we lost over 47,000 Americans to suicide.
The scope of our mental health and suicide crises demands a dedicated dialing code without a dual-purpose. Individuals in suicidal crisis are in life-and-death emergencies, emergencies which require rapid, appropriate responses. Designating 211 to handle these types of emergencies, in conjunction with their non-emergency duties, would present a life-threating disservice to callers in crisis. NANC’s Report listed the alarming disadvantages of expanding the 211 code – that a caller in crisis may have less timely access to experienced assistance, that call centers would be unprepared to handle a crisis call, inclusion of an Interactive Voice Response System (IVR) to assess the urgency of incoming calls leading to increased call wait times – that the Commission should not take lightly.
The historic opportunity before the Commission to improve America’s crisis response network should not be wasted by expanding a current N11 code or by designating a new non-N11 number – which the NANC Report stated would not be deployed ubiquitously across the country.
I urge the FCC to designate a currently undesignated, or repurpose a currently designated, N11 code for the sole-purpose of a national suicide prevention and mental health hotline. Establishing a ubiquitous, recognizable national number (similar to 411 or 911) for mental health and suicide prevention would be a transformative step for our nation’s public health by making crisis resources more accessible, by addressing the deeply entrenched stigma associated with mental health conditions, and by relieving burden on other emergency or health systems. Whether an undesignated N11 number (611) or a designated, low-use N11 number (511), I urge you to assign an N11 dialing code as a dedicated, sole-purpose number to respond to our mental health and suicide public health crises.
I thank the FCC for allowing concerned citizens, mental health professionals, and crisis service representatives to comment on this critical issue. We will not get another opportunity to so dramatically improve the way our country responds to and serves people in emotional and suicidal crisis. I urge you to support the designation or repurposing of a sole-purpose N11 dialing code to connect the millions of Americans living with mental health conditions and suicidal thoughts with the services they need.


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