Faces of NAMI Virginia
I am overjoyed to share that I am in now in Recovery. I see my psychiatrist regularly, and see my therapist as needed. For me, recovery is day to day, and my life is full. I work full-time and volunteer with NAMI as a mentor for the Peer-to-Peer program and facilitate a Connections support group. NAMI has taught me how to recognize my triggers and negative patterns, and also that volunteering keeps recovery on my mind.
Read Angela’s full story here.
My daughter, Meredith, had experienced different kinds of issues throughout middle and high school. By the end of her freshman year of college, she received her diagnosis of bi-polar disorder II. The internet, physicians and therapists were non-committal and really didn’t offer any clear suggestions or hope. NAMI gave me access to other parents who had already walked the walk, and they helped prepare me for the roller coaster that is recovery. I attended a family support group. It was overwhelming – in a very positive way – with the number of resources available to me – all without charge. I met other family members who shared stories similar to mine, without judgement and without placing blame. We were there to share our frustrations, our victories and to reenergize for the next weeks, helping our loved ones with their recoveries. I listened a lot and learned a lot. While some of us were dealing with legal issues and arrests, others were coping hospitalizations gone wrong. And others shared stories of hope – sons and daughters finally willing to take medication, a spouse willing to accept help, a brother newly employed. No experience was too sordid or too insignificant. The group was completely accepting of all of those experiences! It was these other families that NAMI connected me with that have enriched my life in so many ways. I want everyone who needs NAMI to share that experience!
Before getting involved with NAMI Peer-to-Peer, I knew almost nothing about mental illness; all I knew is that I was sick. NAMI Peer-to-Peer taught me a great deal about various aspects of mental illnesses. NAMI Peer-to-Peer is highly successful in gaining new members and empowering individuals to become community advocates. Taking this course can make immeasurable differences in people’s lives.
Read James’ full story here
NAMI has helped Jerome to improve the quality of his own life through support and education. He has taken an oath to NAMI and conducts himself in a way that is consistent with the mission and vision of the organization. Jerome shared that, “NAMI is my niche.” Through NAMI, he has finally found a purpose and a way to utilize his many talents for something momentous. Before, he would think that he must have done something bad to be living with mental illness, but now he understands that “mental illness [is] a type of medical illness.”
Read Jerome’s full story here.
Mental Health Advocacy Day is one of the most important events held each year. A time when each mental health advocate can join forces with like minded people to promote the need for further funding and services. A time to meet with our Legislators, to let them hear from their constituents how important their support is and how much we all remember that support come election day. I had a Senator’s aide tell me how much she and the Senator appreciated my help during the election. We all have to stand up for what is right and for what we need. This is by far the most important time of the year, during the General Assembly, to reach out to our elected officials –those we helped elect. They want to hear from us and they do listen.