Give Back, Give Time, Give Hope

This past year has shown us how important the need is for mental health services and support. Every year, one in five people in the United States report having a mental health condition. Mental health experts suggest the figure is now two in five, or even higher.

The focus on mental health has increased and the need for services and support is greater than ever. Donations of time and money from our donors, volunteers, members and friends of NAMI Vermont have supported us as we strive to meet these needs and support people on their recovery journey. People like Dan T.

Dan and his dog, Dougie

 “I am a psychiatric survivor. I was diagnosed with major mood condition 25 years ago in the middle of a career in corporate finance and management consulting in CT. For my first 20 years, my therapy was focused on medication and talk therapy – the medical model – which provided some level of stability. However, my condition deteriorated. Finally, 6 years ago my declining ability to perform at a high level in a very stressful and demanding corporate career led to me being forced to retire. I moved to Vermont with the words of my first psychiatrist providing the endless soundtrack of my life:

“You have bipolar disorder. You are disabled, your functioning will decline, and you will be on medications for life.”

“Soon after moving, I discovered a peer support group run by NAMI Vermont – the Burlington Connections group led by Maria Grindle – which literally changed the trajectory of my life. I discovered I was not alone. I found peers with mental health conditions that shared my experiences, challenges, and successes. I discovered the Power of Peer Support.”

 Our NAMI Vermont support groups and educational programs are important to so many Vermonters affected by mental illness or a mental health challenge and the loved ones who care for them. In the last year, our attendance at support groups reached 1,165. We had 522 attend a class or presentation and responded to 383 phone calls, walk ins and emails from people looking for resources and support.

Through our lived experiences, we provide a message of hope and recovery and a space to feel connected, a message that was important to Dan in his recovery.

“Blanketed by deeply therapeutic and socially connective peer support, I began to discover the much more powerful, less invasive and virtually non-physically destructive life outside of the medical model: yoga, meditation/mindfulness, acupuncture. With the guidance of peer counselors, I focused on exercise, sleep hygiene, healthy eating and more. By using these holistic wellness tools, I was able to taper off and reduce the debilitative psychotropic medications that ravaged my cognitive and physical functioning.

My recovery improved steadily. The foundation of my mental health progressively grew stronger, wider, deeper. My sustained recovery enabled me to not only become a peer support worker and volunteer but also a mental health and peer support advocate and organizer.”

Dan was grateful for the support of NAMI Vermont during this time and wanted to give back so others could receive the help and support he did in his journey to recovery.

“Another major part of my recovery has been giving back, having a sense of purpose by volunteering to help others with mental health issues. I had read that supporting others in their recovery path can be extraordinarily therapeutic for me. After 5 years of volunteering for NAMI Vermont, I can affirm that resoundingly. NAMI Vermont was a cornerstone in this vital tool in my wellness tool box. I was trained in 2016 to facilitate peer support groups. In 2017, I trained to train peer support group facilitators for NAMI Vermont.

Being a volunteer facilitator and trainer has been a powerful force in my stability. I can’t recommend more strongly for those far enough along in their recovery: become a NAMI Vermont facilitator and then a trainer of facilitators. You won’t regret it.”

Your donations of time and money help ensure that we can continue to help people like Dan get the support they need when they need it most.

How can you support NAMI Vermont?

  • Give Back in monetary gifts to help us provide programs for free around Vermont.
  • Give Time by volunteering with NAMI Vermont, such as serving on a committee, helping with an event or training to run a meeting or program. Click Here to Learn More.
  • Give Hope by sharing our mission and messages of hope today.

Join us this holiday season and make a difference in someone’s journey to recovery!