NAMICon 2023: An Inspiring Experience

This year, NAMI Vermont was able to send two people to NAMICon 2023, the in-person NAMI Convention held in Minneapolis, Minnesota from May 24–27, 2023. Our Office Manager, Margie Lemay, and the Vice President of our Board, Judy Siler, attended the three and a half day event.
“It was amazing to be in a room with more than 1,500 like-minded people who were all working for a common goal—to improve the lives of those who live with a mental health condition. The room was electric, and the experience itself was inspiring, spectacular, and in many ways, overwhelming.” said Margie Lemay upon returning from the event.

May 24 was a half-day that started at noon with a networking lunch followed by a “Fireside Chat” featuring Dan H Gillison Jr., NAMI’s CEO. In the afternoon, attendees were able to attend two of six different breakout sessions. Judy and Margie attended “Volunteers: How to Gain, Train, and Retain” and “NAMI Educational Programs and NAMI Leader Training.
Impact Sessions for the remainder of the conference were organized in six different tracks (or categories). Margie and Judy focused on attending sessions in the following categories: (1) Best Practices for State Organizations & Affiliates, (2) Crisis Response and Intervention, and (3) Youth and Young Adult Mental Health.

On the final full day, both Judy and Margie attended the Board Candidate speeches to learn as much as possible about the candidates in advance of the voting in early June. Judy was selected by every affiliate as well as NAMI Vermont to serve as proxy to cast all six votes. Candidates spoke about their credentials, why they wanted to serve on the board, and what they felt they could uniquely contribute overall.

Later that afternoon there was a session entitled, “NAMI Next Gen,” during which young adults shared their own experiences, victories, and hopes. They spoke about the work they are doing to ensure youth and young adults feel seen and heard, and how we can all support the youth in our lives.

The final evening of NAMICon 2023 featured a NAMI Celebration with good food, live music, and games. “It was the perfect ending to an exhilarating, jam-packed three and a half days that will live long in our memories!” Margie commented.