Thursday, May 15, 2008

Please Sponsor Me in the NAMI Walks for the Mind of America


Dear Family, Friends, and Visitors,

Once again, I'm participating in "NAMI Walks for the Mind of America" an awareness/fundraising walkathon for mental illness.
Millions of Americans, including an estimated one in five families are affected by mental illness: severe depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, panic & anxiety disorders and others. Mental illness is a biologically based brain disorder, which disrupts a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others, and daily functioning. Just as diabetes or heart disease, mental illness is a medical condition, which often results in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life. You may have been diagnosed with mental illness yourself or know someone who has. 1 in 17 Americans suffer from a serious mental illness and it is estimated that mental illness affects 1 in 5 families in America (Source: National Alliance on Mental Illness). These individuals are your neighbors, your fellow church members, and your co-workers, maybe even a family member. For some, an experience with mental illness is short, say Seasonal Affective Disorder. For others, it is a lifelong struggle to understand, overcome, and live with persistent and unpredictable symptoms.
I am one of such individuals with a mental illness. My struggle with major depression began during my first year at college. Unable to complete school at this time, I returned home and was fortuant to have wonderful support from my parents, family, boyfriend, and his family. I was started an anti-depressant and worked through the spring and summer. By the fall, I felt my depressive symptoms were under control and I was ready to return to college. I erolled at Vincennes University, a small, two year college which was reputated to have excellent academic support program for those with disabilities. I completed one and a half years of college and was half-way towards earning my associate's degree before returning home again due to worsening symptoms. After returning home, I lost my health isurance coverage, because I was no longer a college student and was unable to obtain private insurance because of the depressive condition was pre-existing. Anti-depressant therapy costs upward of $60-$200 depending on the medications and therapy can cost upwards of $90-150 a session. I gritted my teeth and continued to pay for my medication out of my own pockets, however therapy was out of reach. Fortuantly, in the fall of 2005, I discovered our local community mental health clinic. Clinics such as these are a vital part of our community, offering vital mental health services at low-cost and sliding-fee-scale to the homeless, impoverished, uninsured, and underinsured of our community. Most people with serious mental illness need medication to help control symptoms, but also rely on supportive counseling, self-help groups, assistance with housing, vocational rehabilitation, income assistance and other community services in order to achieve their highest level of recovery. At the clinic, I was able to see a therapist in addition to a nurse practioner for medication. However, like many community mental health clinics, they are under-staffed and poorly funded, which can result in poor quality of care. In additon, persons with a mental illness are often faced with additional challenges in the workplace, in the home, and in the community due to barriers to obtaining treatment and the stigmas surrounding mental illness. This is why I became involved in NAMI.
NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness. The common message of NAMI is support, education, advocacy, and research. NAMI helps in many ways:
It provides support to persons with mental illnesses and their families
It advocates for improved opportunities and for non-discriminatory policies for housing, rehabilitation and meaningful jobs
It supports research
It supports public education programs designed to help educate and remove stigma surrounding severe mental illness

On June 7, 2008, I will be participating in the NAMI Indiana Walk, the local "NAMI Walks for the Mind of America" walkathon in Indianapolis to raise awareness about mental illness, reach out to new families, and to raise money for support and education in our local communities. Our team, which is named "Footsteps" is comprised of individuals whose lives have been directly impacted by mental illness, either through a family member or spouse. And we have chosen this team name because we are walking together to take Footsteps towards hope, awareness, and education.  Please visit for more information about the Indiana WALK, go to:, to learn more about our team, or follow this direct link: to make a donation specifically in my name. (You will be taken to a secure form, as when you pay bills online, and the site will not disclose your personal information for any mailing lists or unauthorized purposes). If you prefer to send a check, please make it out to NAMI Indiana and send it to my home address (please e-mail me for my address). I'll collect and submit all donations. Personally I'm contributing $25, and my goal is to build a team of at least 10 people and raise $1000. Please let me know if I can provide you with any more information about mental health or mental illness, in Indiana or in your own community. Thank you!
Rachael C.

Update May 12:

Dear Family, Friends, and Visitors,

I have yet to reach my fundraising goal of $1,000 and it's only 3 weeks until the walk.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is a 501(c)3 charity and any donation you make to support my participation in this event is tax deductible.  NAMI has been rated by Worth magazine as among the top 100 charities "most likely to save the world" and has been given an "A" rating by The American Institute of Philanthropy for efficient and effective use of charitable dollars.

The goals of the NAMIWalks program are: to fight the stigma that surrounds mental illness, to build awareness of the fact that the mental health system in this country needs to be improved, and to raise funds for NAMI so that they can continue their mission.

Please re-consider making a donation. Even a minimal donation of $5 will contribute to making a difference in someone's life.

Thank you in advance for your support.
Rachael C.

No comments:

Post a Comment