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Awareness and education breaks stigma: Sheridan NAMI to host local NAMIWalks 

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The Sheridan affiliate of The National Alliance on Mental Illness Vice President Rita Geary and board member Dr. Victor Ashear made an appearance on Sheridan Media’s Public Pulse to speak on the recently formed chapter and invite the public to join the conversation and an upcoming walk. 

It all began as a small group of families gathered around a kitchen table in 1979 and has blossomed into one of the nation’s leading voices on mental health. Today, NAMI is an alliance of more than 700 local affiliates who work in communities around the nation to raise awareness and provide support and education that was not previously available to those in need.

Here in Sheridan, the organization was formed as an action response of the Center for a Vital Community. Their work was cut out for the budding affiliate. A stigma surrounding mental health is a well-known hurdle in the Cowboy State for many mental health advocates and professionals. Sheridan NAMI is working locally to break down those stigmas and help people to realize, mental health should receive the same care, consideration and resources as physical health. 

Dr. V. Ashear

Once formed, the first action Sheridan NAMI took was to hold public forum sessions called “Creative Connections: Conversations on Metal Wellness” here in Sheridan. These were on the Monday nights of the months of March and April. NAMI took stock of attendance and participation to evaluate the need and interest of the Sheridan Community. According to Geary, those sessions were well attended.

Geary feels there is no shortage of empathy and compassion in Sheridan. When a Sheridan resident is hurt or given a physical health diagnosis, she has witnessed first-hand the amount of help offered by the Sheridan community. 

R. Geary

NAMI was founded through love and compassion by a few concerned mothers at a kitchen table in 1979 who wanted to make a better world for their children. The national organization now has over 700 state and local affiliates nationwide with advocates who have taken more than 60,000 advocacy actions at local and legislative levels. Dr. Ashear and Geary are curious what an entire unified community can achieve and the Sheridan affiliate of NAMI is working to make that happen.  

To rally together against the stigma of mental health and stand united as a community, Sheridan NAMI will hold a walk to raise mental health awareness and show those in the Sheridan community that battle mental health issues, they are not alone. 

R. Geary

The site also contains contact information for those wishing to volunteer and strengthen the Sheridan NAMI team which will bring more support and programs concerning mental health, mental health education and awareness to Sheridan. Click here

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