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NAMI and Mental Health Month

By Katy Jo Turner, Grassroots Organizer, NAMI Minnesota

With a startling statistic that one in five people live with a mental health condition, it is equally as startling that the topic of mental illness is still met with insecurity and avoidance. Fortunately, this is starting to shift. People are especially prompted to think about their and their loved ones’ mental health during May, Mental Health Month.

During the month, NAMI Minnesota (the National Alliance on Mental Illness) is hosting many free programs for the public to learn how to support others experiencing a mental illness, encourage conversation on the topic, and inspire attendees to take better care of their own mental health.

Some presentations create empathy, some provide training, and all give hope.

“In Our Own Voice” offers an opportunity for attendees to listen to someone’s story and learn what it’s like to experience a mental illness and be in recovery.

“Progression” gives tools to teens to use to help manage their mental health, recognize symptoms, manage stress and anxiety, and communicate with their loved ones about what they’re experiencing.

For those who know someone who experiences a mental illness (and everybody knows someone), NAMI is offering “Hope for Recovery,” which teaches attendees about mental illnesses, treatments, crisis management, suicide prevention, the mental health system, local resources, and practical strategies for helping a loved; “QPR,” a three-step system that stands for Question, Persuade, Refer, that helps prevent suicide; “Youth Mental Health First Aid,” which teaches first aid skills needed to help youth or a young adult who is experiencing a mental health problem or crisis including suicide; “Gray Matters,” a mental illness training for professionals who work with seniors; and “Trauma in Childhood: Building Resiliency,” which shares how adverse experiences can shape our lives and those of our children, and teaches strategies to help you and your child become more resilient despite any challenges you may have experienced.

NAMI also has a few scheduled presentations that focus on systematic and cultural change. “Creating Caring Communities” teaches about mental illnesses, the impact of negative attitudes, and five things everyone can do to make Minnesota a better place for people who experience a mental illness, and “Get to Know NAMI” offers the opportunity to learn how NAMI’s work affects the lives of children and adults with mental illnesses and their families, what NAMI is doing to advocate for better mental health policies, and how you can get involved.

Although NAMI has increased its monthly programming in May, classes and trainings (many of which are free) are available year-round. NAMI also offers support groups for those experiencing mental illness and their friends and family and has a help line for those with questions about local resources and the mental health system. For more information on NAMI events during Mental Health Month, please visit https://namimn.org/events/mental-health-month/.

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