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This May, for Mental Health Awareness Month, the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Vermont (NAMI Vermont) is raising awareness and highlighting that no one experiencing a mental health condition should feel alone. More than 40 million people in the U.S. face the day-to-day reality of having a mental health condition. And yet, stigma and discrimination are reasons why so many of us have struggled in silence. Now more than ever, in this time of anxiety and isolation, it is important for us to come together as a community and show that no one is ever really alone.
In Vermont, one in five people experience a mental health condition in their life – one in 25 adults live with a serious mental illness. Half of all lifetime mental health conditions begin by age 14 – 75% by age 24. And with strict physical distancing measures in place to protect our community from this pandemic, it has caused an increase in feelings of isolation, anxiety and depression. Helplines are seeing an increase in calls. And repercussions are going to be felt long after restrictions are relaxed.
The power of connection can be a source of help and support for those affected by a mental health condition. NAMI Vermont provides a unique connection by sharing lived experience through our messages of hope and recovery. We use these stories to help inspire others, educate the broader public and fight the stigma that surrounds mental health. We form that bridge to understanding to show others that they are not alone and they have a support to turn to in their time of need.
“My first experience with NAMI Vermont was through the Family Support Group over 15 years ago. Other family members offered the understanding and support that only those with lived experience can provide. I found a deep connection with the NAMI Alliance and found that I was not alone,” said Laurie Emerson, Executive Director of NAMI Vermont.
“Even in today’s world, NAMI Vermont continues to offer the opportunity to connect with others via teleconference or video conference through support groups and check-ins. NAMI Vermont’s programs are administered by trained volunteers – people who are in a place to give back and help others find help and hope. I am very proud of all of our volunteers who go the extra mile to give back to the community.”
NAMI Vermont is continuously working to adapt our FREE support groups and mental health education to an online format so that we can continue to support our community during these unprecedented times. We currently offer:
During Mental Health Awareness Month, it is important for us to collectively make a positive impact on the millions of people struggling and feeling particularly alone given the current situation. NAMI Vermont is asking our community to help us raise awareness about mental health. We invite people to share, through video or photo, an inspirational message of hope or a note about how NAMI Vermont has helped them feel less alone. Information about this project can be found by clicking here. This virtual activity also emphasizes how the use of online resources makes connection possible despite the current climate.
The NAMI Vermont community understands and is here for you. Together, we can strive towards a nation where everyone affected by mental illness or a mental health condition can get the support and help to live healthier, fulfilling lives – a nation where no one feels alone in their struggle. #NotAlone #MHAM #NAMIVTCares