NAMI National Convention 2018 Reminds Us We Are Not Alone
On June 27-30, 2018, the Sheraton New Orleans welcomed thousands of mental health advocates from across the country for the 2018 NAMI National Convention. With more than 75 workshops to choose from, the program discussed topics ranging from recovery approaches to fundraising.
While there were so many topics available to learn from, there was one big takeaway from this year's convention—we are not alone in this fight to end the stigma surrounding mental health.
As members of our staff here at NAMI Louisiana sat in on the Ending the Silence presentation, a new program being rolled out by Tipper Gore that is offered to middle and high school students to increase awareness and provide resources in schools, we couldn't help but notice how packed the room was as the two co-presenters were introduced. Lizlie White and Brooke Anderson, of NAMI Dallas, began the presentation by asking one simple question: "How many of you in the audience are affected, or have a loved one affected by mental illness?"
Every hand shot up in the air.
As we looked around at everyone in the room whose hand was held high, mirroring our own, there was one, universal thing we all had in common with one another. Each of our lives had been impacted by mental illness, and that is because mental illness can affect anyone, regardless of their background.
In that moment, we all became aware no matter how hard the fight to end the stigma may be at times, we were not in this alone.
And for those who feel they might be, NAMI Louisiana encourages you to speak up and find support from those around you. You may also reach out to NAMI's Helpline at email@example.com or 1-800-950-6264 for support, information, and resources. Their trained volunteers are available Monday-Friday, 10am - 6pm ET. If you are in crisis, there are a couple of resources that are available 24/7 in the US: Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline '1-800-273-TALK (8255)' or text the word NAMI to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741.