An Amazing Month

All of us at NAMI-WCI are excited to be launching our new website! We have been working with the incredible team of Find8 Digital Marketing for the past 5 months to create this new fresh look for you and bring you more information, resources and ways to connect with your local NAMI affiliate. At this spot you will see changing articles from the executive director’s desk. Not all will be monthly updates of what is going on at your affiliate. Some will be on specific topics of interest to our members. Check back with us often to find new stories, ideas, insights. We hope that you will like what you see – and we hope that you will also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to get news of our adventures as soon as they happen.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and here at NAMI-WCI we have been busy spreading the word. This year, the national NAMI motto for the month is “I’m into mental health – inspired, informed, involved.” NAMI-WCI has had booths at health fairs and community events – and soon will have a booth at Lafayette’s Saturday Farmer’s market. We are making sure we are visible and reaching out to the community to inform people about mental health conditions and hopefully inspiring them to get involved. Are you in?

For Mental Health Awareness Month, we have also launched our corporate outreach program “Stigmafree Company”. This involves a new outreach training called “Erasing Stigma – Building Bridges” that we created right here in Lafayette. It is a 60-minute interactive power point presentation that includes embedded video clips and two personal testimonials, one from an individual living with mental illness and one from a family member. Eight in ten employees are too afraid to disclose their mental health condition and seek treatment – for fear of repercussions. We need to fight the stigma against mental illness by showing employers that individuals living with mental illness can be successful, value-adding team-members. We also need to equip management with the tools to deal with situations arising from employees’ mental health conditions. The first company that went stigmafree is MBAH insurance. A big thank you goes to CEO John Willis for agreeing to pilot this brand-new program and for being proactive in ensuring an open, welcoming, and supportive workplace for his employees. If you are interested in being a Stigmafree Company, call us and we will get the conversation going.

Mental Health Awareness Month has seen two amazing fundraisers that have helped sustain our small grassroots organization. We are not a United Way agency and rely on donations to be able to offer our classes, support groups, and outreach presentations for free. But we are lucky to live in a community that is generous with their time and their financial support. On May 4th, Lafayette’s Daybreak Rotary Club organized their 10th Annual Toast to Mental Health with a lively auction to raise funds for NAMI-WCI, MHA of Tippecanoe County, and Willowstone Family Services. On May 18th, NAMI-WCI volunteer and former board member Sandie Donahue (pictured first left on the bottom row) made the winning pitch to “100+ Women Who Care”. Sandie talked about teen suicide in our community and the need for outreach presentations to schools. Thanks to the initiative of our new board president Nichole Ramirez, NAMI has trained a team of presenters (most of them Purdue students) to go into the schools and provide this kind of outreach to our local students. NAMI-WCI is piloting this NAMI signature presentation “Ending the Silence” for the State of Indiana. All of these initiatives would not be possible without the generous support of our donors and we are grateful to both the Daybreak Rotary Club and the 100+ Women Who Care for making mental health a priority in our community.

NAMI-WCI, named “Affiliate of the Year” for the State of Indiana in 2016, has received more awards in 2017. United Way has honored Nichole Ramirez, Luci Keazer, Kris Nellis, Phil Trice, Joy Mabbitt, Charlotte Warner (not pictured), and John Schumann (not pictured) as “Hometown Heroes” at their annual volunteer award ceremony. NAMI-WCI program director Joy Mabbitt received the Marcile Eddy Shining Light Award and gets to display the lighthouse trophy for a whole year! This award is given to someone who has made a significant impact for an organization through his/her volunteer efforts. It recognizes the volunteer’s commitment which is an inspiration to other volunteers in the community. Joy was also recognized by state representative Sheila Klinker at the Indianapolis Statehouse for receiving the Shining Light Award. Stop by our office to check out Joy’s award and congratulate her!

May is also the month of graduations. NAMI-WCI had its share of graduations this spring, be that of two-day training in one of our outreach presentations, a 3-month Family-to-Family, Peer-to-Peer, or Peer Union Counseling Class, a one-year Leadership Lafayette course, or some of the highest academic degrees Purdue University has to bestow. We are especially proud of Brian Degner for having earned his MS in Electrical Engineering and Nichole Ramirez for having earned a PhD in Engineering Education. NAMI-WCI is valuing education and continuing education in any form. We should never stop being students, and be inspired, informed and involved.

What is ahead?

As we go into the summer break after Memorial Day Weekend, NAMI-WCI will continue its weekly Connection Recovery Support Group and bi-weekly Family Support Group meetings. If you want to schedule a presentation for your club, agency, company, faith community, or school, please contact our program director Joy Mabbitt at Trained NAMI volunteers are ready to deliver NAMI signature presentations and share their personal stories with you.
Our monthly pizza parties will continue throughout the summer every second Tuesday of the month at 6:30 pm in the NAMI-WCI office. This is a great way to socialize with other NAMI members, learn about our new initiatives, and get involved.
We are also getting ready to travel to Indianapolis for the annual NAMI Indiana Leadership Conference on June 17th and the National Convention in Washington, DC on June 28th. If you want to join us, please register with our state or national organization. For those of you who are not traveling with us this summer – follow us on Social Media to come along virtually!
Wishing you all a delightful summer,