May is Mental Health Month: Get Involved with NAMI RI
Join the Rhode Island chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness for their illuminating virtual series, Ending the Silence, which aims to bring awareness about mental health.
May is Mental Health Month and, this year, the Rhode Island chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) observes the month with a virtual series called Ending the Silence, which raises awareness about the importance of mental health and celebrates recovery from mental illness.
The free presentations, taking place via Zoom, aim to decrease stigma surrounding mental illness for family members, students, school staff and teachers. The annual “Bridging the Gaps” conference is also available to anyone who wishes to participate. It’s free for NAMI members and $10 for non-members.
Executive director of NAMI RI Beth Lamarre says she wants attendees to know that taking care of their mental health is critical for everyday life.
“[Mental health] is a part of your physical health,” says Lamarre. “All parts of your health affect one another, so when it comes to anything, whether it’s serious mental illness or institutional anxiety and depression, all of those things will impact different systems in your body.”
Lamarre says there are countless instances where family members or co-workers aren’t aware that a child or colleague is showing signs of mental illness, or if they do know, they don’t know how or where to get help. NAMI has multiple resources for people to access, including many for families.
“Many things that we’ve done as an organization were geared towards adults [living with mental health conditions] as well as family members…However, more people are realizing that youth can exhibit the signs much younger than they thought. It’s very often people who participate in our family support groups who have adult children say, ‘I’ve seen this coming’ or ‘I knew my child was dealing with this,’” says Lamarre.
Lamarre adds that NAMI’s educational tools aren’t just for those dealing with mental health crises firsthand. She says it’s important that all people get involved in order to decrease stigma.
“Right now, there’s still a lot of misconception around mental illness, and I think people would benefit from learning about it for that reason, to get more of a cultural understanding for people to talk about mental health issues,” she says.
In addition to the Mental Health Month presentations, NAMI RI’s regular programming includes daily support groups for individuals and family members living with mental illness; they are all free of charge, virtual and confidential.
Register and tune in to the panel discussions:
Monday, May 10, 6–7 p.m. NAMI Ending the Silence for Families
Wednesday, May 12, 4–5 p.m. NAMI Ending the Silence for School Staff
Monday, May 17, 6–7 p.m. NAMI Ending the Silence for Students
Wednesday, May 26, 9 a.m. Bridging the Gaps Annual Conference
Check out the website for more resources and classes from NAMI RI.