As a a small attempt at promoting the blog along with my mother and sister, we walked over three miles in support of NAMI, also knows as the National Alliance on Mental Illness. It was more than self promotion, rather than networking. More importantly, it was about standing up for mental health advocacy.
As followers know, my sister Kristeen spent most of 2017 in and out of hospitals and crisis housing. While at New Vistas in downtown San Diego, she learned of NAMI. NAMI not only provides resources for your city, but you can also sign up to take classes to become a peer mentor. My sister signed up and I believe is currently on the waiting list for classes. (Feel free to correct me, if I am wrong sis.) I had never heard of NAMI until Kristeen told me about it. Ever since, we’ve both been active followers of theirs. When I found out there would be a walk in our city, we immediately registered and created The Standing Strong Blog team. The team consisted of myself, my mom and sister.
There were also 80 vendors available for walkers and runners to visit which included a booth for NAMI, numerous behavioral health facilities from around the county and various insurance companies. During the opening ceremony, although nothing triggering or too emotional was said, I was crying. I was so proud to be doing something that meant more to me than I ever imagined. As we were getting in the starting lane, my sister noticed one of the nurses from the hospital she’d been in. They waved to each other and before we knew it, we were surrounded by LOVE. The looks on these beautiful ladies’ faces when they saw her there was priceless. The therapist who helped her the most while admitted was also there and all I remember is everyone crying. I was so emotional, I couldn’t even tell you who it was that hugged me that morning. At the end of the walk, we we went to hunt down those Grossmont Hospital “Stigma Stompers” and found them dancing in the grass. We went over to have photos taken and say one last thank you. I told nurse Trudy, “thank you for everything you guys did for her. I can’t thank you enough because she wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for you.”
It was a beautiful day with memories I will forever cherish. We did not recieve any donations so mom and I contributed $200 in total to NAMI. Walks are happening all over the country. If you’re interested in registering, visit the link below to see if there will be one in your town!
Our next walk will be for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in October.
Remember, if you’d like to share your story of living with or caring for someone with mental illness, please send your submissions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
There is no word limit, so feel free to write away!