Stigmafree in the Wood River Valley
What is stigma and why are we trying to end it?
Stigma is a set of negative and often unfair beliefs that a society or group of people have about something (in this case, mental health conditions).
One in five adults in America is affected by a mental health condition. Despite its prevalence, mental illnesses often go undiagnosed; or, when it is, we often have a hard time understanding or coping with the problem. There are many misconceptions about what mental illness is and what it means to live with a mental health condition.
Mental illness is a shared burden on communities. Conditions that go untreated can have a real impact on the day-to-day workings of a company, from decreased employee productivity to lower morale. Mental health conditions and the associated stigma can greatly impact your place of employment, in fact, across the U.S. mental illness costs the economy about $200 billion in lost earnings each year.
NAMI-WRV offers a weekly support group for peers, monthly support group for family members, and a wide array of programming and services to individuals with mental health conditions. For more information on our programming, click here. We have also joined together with NAMI affiliates across the country in the fight to end stigma by launching a campaign to be stigmafree.
By participating in local events organized by NAMI-WRV throughout the year, your organization or business can help support individuals and families in the Wood River Valley and ensure we break the stigma associated with mental illness. We hope you’ll take some time to learn more about our upcoming events here and below, take the pledge here, and show your support by displaying a green stigmafree ribbon.
Our stigmafree campaign has developed ways for the greater community to help reduce/eliminate negative connotations commonly associated with mental illness. We hope you will consider taking the stigmafree pledge, and participate in one (or more!) of the events coming up – all to help support our public education efforts, and to help those who experience mental health challenges.
Here are a few opportunities to begin changing the conversation about mental health:
Bike to be stigmafree!
As Idahoans, we value the outdoors. That is why one of our biggest events of the year is a family oriented, fun-filled bike ride.
On Saturday, May 20th, businesses and organizations can partner with us as sponsors of the Biking for Mental Wellness: a stigmafree Ride. It’s the only “family-friendly,” leisurely bike ride in the Valley.
This is the only bike ride in the Valley where costumes are encouraged! Prizes will be awarded for the largest group participating, the most creative and the best-themed team. The three prizes include staycations in Stanley, Boise and Sun Valley so come prepared with your most creative ideas!
Research validates that exercise is valuable for treating a variety of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, bipolar disorders, schizophrenia, addictions, grief, relationship problems, dementia and personality disorders. Additionally, exercise alleviates bad moods, stress, chronic pain and chronic illnesses.
Exercising increases levels of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine in the brain. It improves and normalizes neurotransmitter levels, all of which simply means we are mentally healthier as a result.
Starry Night over Wood River Valley
Thursday, May 25 we are sponsoring an event that is part mental health education, and part art therapy. Vincent van Gogh, one of the world’s most iconic and admired artists, lived with a mental health condition. The world misunderstood his behavior and moods. He did not sell a single painting. Now, as everyone knows, his works are worth millions of dollars. Incidentally, Starry Night depicts the view van Gogh observed from his window in the asylum.
Please join us by creating and exhibiting your own local version of Starry Night, e.g. Starry Night over Sun Valley, or Redfish Lake. NAMI participants can join the informal painting class at Sawtooth Botanical Gardens, after lunch at the Senior Connection, on Wednesday, April 19. Students from the Drug Coalition and the NAMI “Bluebirds” WRHS support group are also contributing their creativity to the event.
More well-known local artists are donating to our silent auction, and their work will be on display Thursday, May 25th at the Gail Severn Gallery at 5pm, please RSVP here. Proceeds will go towards funding mental health and well-being programs organized by NAMI WRV.
Download the flyer for the NAMI-Paint your own van Gogh here.
Download the NAMI Letter to Artists Starry Night here.
Stigmafree book club
NAMI-WRV has partnered with the Sun Valley Wellness Festival (May 26th-29th) and Chapter One books to host a book club focused on wellness and self-improvement. Currently, club members are reading Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon’s Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and Secrets of the Heart by Dr. James Doty. The book club will meet on May 16th at 6pm at Chapter One books.