NAMI-WRV Announces Mental Health Awareness Month Activities

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 www.namiwrv.org/support.

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 https://nami-wrv.org/stigmafreewrv/

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 www.namiwrv.org/bike)

 

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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 http://www.namiwrv.org