In our NAMI community, safety is always on our minds. Every day, we work to ensure that individuals and family members with serious mental illness are cared for and safe. This means providing support for our members, educating the public, and advocating for better policies. It means empowering individuals and families to raise their voices and work with us as we drive the change we need.
It also means being a safety net for our members. At this time last year, we had no way of knowing just how much we would need to change course.
From the beginning, we knew we had to take steps to keep our communities safe and supported. When we were told that social distancing was recommended, we understood the message and knew how difficult this would be for our communities. Physically distancing to keep each other safe from a deadly virus? Yes, of course! “Social” distancing? Those words cut deep. We need social connections to maintain mental wellness and — no matter what you call it — distancing ourselves from one another would impact us all.
“You are not alone” is a message we share regularly. The pandemic challenged us to take extraordinary steps to make good on that promise and show up for our members. Isolation is not good for anyone. We can only thrive when we are loved and feel supported, and when we are there for one another. While the public health battle is fighting the spread of the virus, we recognized early on that the mental health challenge would be fighting social isolation.
We met that challenge by doing everything we could to facilitate safe connections. When we couldn’t gather in person, we met in virtual support groups and classes and trained peers and family members to be NAMI leaders for their local communities. While it wasn’t safe to host events or meetings, we shifted to virtual platforms to engage, educate and advocate. When we heard that members were having a difficult time adjusting to our new reality, we created much-needed online resources and tools to help navigate working at home, supporting families, and staying virtually connected with loved ones.
All of these actions have also helped us maintain and strengthen our own connections — with our affiliates, staff, partners, and members. We truly are stronger together.
Thank you for your membership (need to renew?) and for end-of-year donations to help sustain our work.