NAMI to host events for Mental Health Awareness Month

The Wood River Valley affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness is rolling out a series of support material that is part of NAMI’s ongoing StigmaFree campaign. According to a news release from the organization, the campaign aims to change the way the community views and treats mental illness. Organizations and business owners can learn more about mental health in general and how to support employees with mental-health illnesses. Resources are also posted to help inform employees with mental illnesses how to be more productive and to better cope with challenges that may arise in the workplace. Materials can be found online at nami-wrv.org/stigmafreewrv/.

The materials are being released in conjunction with events being held for Mental Health Awareness Month in May.

Starting May 3, NAMI-WRV will host its second annual art show, a “Journey to Wellness.” Local artists in the valley are invited to donate pieces of art (in any medium) that represents or relates to concepts of stigma, recovery and what their “journey to wellness” looks like. Pieces will be auctioned off, and funds raised from the event will go toward NAMI’s four support groups and other related services in the Wood River Valley. All groups and programs are free to residents in the community.

This year’s show builds off the success of the inaugural “Starry Night Art Show” last year.

Participants can drop off art on April 17 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Senior Connection in Hailey or on April 20 at the Kirk Anderson Studio in Ketchum. Pieces will then be displayed online leading up to a silent auction from April 24 to May 2. The event will take place Thursday, May 3, from 5-8 p.m. at the old post office, 311 First Ave N. in Ketchum.

On May 12, cyclists are invited to NAMI’s “Biking for Mental Wellness: A StigmaFree Ride.” Participants can dress up in themed costumes and will start at the YMCA in Ketchum or the Blaine County Recreation District in Hailey. The route will end at St. Luke’s and will feature food trucks and other vendors. There will be prizes for most creative, best theme and largest group. Prizes include “staycations” in Stanley, Boise and Sun Valley. NAMI’s board president, Bellevue Mayor Chris Koch, and board secretary, Ketchum City Councilman Michael David, are announcing a friendly competition between their cities in hopes of winning one of those prizes for their respective teams. Last year, Koch’s team (the employees of the city of Bellevue), dressed up as superheroes.

“The civil servants of Bellevue have been putting together some creative ideas for this year’s competition,” he said. “We are ready to take this to the next level and win the competition.”

The ride is open to all levels of cyclists and anyone can sign up for the family-friendly bike ride. Check-in will be from 9-11 a.m., and festivities at St. Luke’s will be from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 12.

 “Our valley didn’t really have a family-friendly, leisure event for the community to participate in and enjoy the outdoors,” NAMI-WRV Executive Director Christina Cernansky said. “The NAMI StigmaFree Ride has no rules, no time constraints and is relaxed—the way life needs to be sometimes. Last year, we had some great participants turn out in great costumes. It will be hard to beat last year’s fun.”

Winners from last year were the “StigmaFree Riders” team for best theme, Our Lady of the Snows for most creative with their angel costumes. Employees of Blaine County, with team Captain Jodie Fuller, at the probation office, had more than 30 riders and won for largest team.

Additional events, support groups and resources can be found online at www.nami-wrv.org.