The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. They are a great resource for you and your teen to learn about mental health issues.
Who is NAMI?
According to their website, NAMI,
NAMI provides advocacy, education, support and public awareness so that all individuals and families affected by mental illness can build better lives. They do this through their five core values.
- Hope: We believe in the possibility of recovery, wellness and the potential in all of us.
- Inclusion: We embrace diverse backgrounds, cultures and perspectives.
- Empowerment: We promote confidence, self-efficacy and service to our mission.
- Compassion: We practice respect, kindness and empathy.
- Fairness: We fight for equity and justice.
What do they do?
According to their website, NAMI does the following things for people with mental illness and the people who care for and support them.
We educate. Offered in thousands of communities across the United States through NAMI State Organizations and NAMI Affiliates, our education programs ensure hundreds of thousands of families, individuals and educators get the support and information they need.
We support. Throughout the country, our NAMI State Organizations and Affiliates host support groups, for both those with mental illness and caregivers, so that no one feels alone in their mental health journey.
We advocate. NAMI shapes national public policy for people with mental illness and their families and provides volunteer leaders with the tools, resources and skills necessary to save mental health in all states.
We listen. Our toll-free NAMI HelpLine allows us to respond personally to hundreds of thousands of requests each year, providing free information and support—a much-needed lifeline for many.
We lead. Public awareness events and activities, including Mental Illness Awareness Week (in October) and NAMIWalks, successfully fight stigma and encourage understanding. NAMI works with reporters on a daily basis to make sure our country understands how important mental health is.
Special Programs for teens and young adults
The NAMI website has a special section for teens and young adults Kids, Teens and Young Adults. This is a great source of information to help them find the mental health support they need. The site addresses things like
- Finding Help
- How to talk to my friends
- How do I talk to my parent or guardian
- Social Media and Mental Health
- Your Mental Health and School
As I read through this section of their site, one of the things that really stuck with me is the tips on how a teen can talk to their parents or guardian about their mental health concerns. It brought up things like,
- Be open when your teen or young adult wants to talk to you about how they are feeling. Take the time to go for a walk if they ask you to.
- It is a big deal that they are reaching out and they are probably feeling a lot of anxiety about it. Don’t make it worse for them by dismissing them or making their concerns not be important to you. It could force them away and create a bigger problem.
Be sure to check out this page if you have teens or young adults in your life. It is great information and insight for you and them.
NAMI’s new podcast
NAMI recently launched a podcast called Hope Starts with Us. This podcast airs every Wednesday and focuses on one of NAMI’s core values, hope. It is also a call to action to bring us together to fight the stigma of mental health issues.
Here is a link to their website for more information about their podcast Hope Starts with Us.
NAMI helps people with mental illness
Through its educational programs, public outreach and podcast, NAMI promotes mental health awareness. Their website is full of general information and ways to get information specific to the questions you or your teen may be asking.
There are more than 600 locations of NAMI throughout the US. Reach out to your local NAMI for more information or to get involved in their cause to educate people about mental health. It would be a way to become more aware and accept that Mental Health Matters.
Be sure to check out our Teen Resources page for other valuable sources of information. Here is a link to it Teen Resources