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May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and there are fewer organizations more dedicated to helping raise awareness regarding mental health than the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). As the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization, NAMI dedicates itself to transforming the way in which we talk about mental health and illness through education initiatives, localized campaigns, and sheer unbridled passion for its cause. 

NAMI was founded in 1979 by a small group of families that would occasionally convene around the kitchen table (NAMI, 2022). Today, equipped and backed by over 600 local affiliates, NAMI creates support systems in local communities that were previously lacking; by raising awareness and providing educational support to those who need it most, NAMI is working diligently toward stripping the topic of mental health and mental illness of its unjustly taboo characterizations. 

NAMI holistically defines mental illness, highlighting harmful stereotypes and the long-lasting influence they can have on rhetoric regarding mental health: 

Mental illnesses are brain disorders that are biologically based medical problems. Untreated, they can cause severe disturbances in thinking, feeling, and relating. This results in a substantially diminished capacity for dealing with the ordinary demands of life. Mental illness can affect persons of any age and occur in any family. They are not caused by bad parenting and are not evidence of weakness of character (NAMI, 2022). 

It is important to note the way in which NAMI defines mental illness as a “biologically based medical problem” rather than the societal constructs dictating that they are instead perhaps a “weakness of character” or sign of poor parenting. 

As previously mentioned, NAMI hosts localized campaigns across the nation in its mission to change the mental health conversation. This coming May 21st, 2022, NAMI Montgomery County will be hosting its annual mental health awareness walk! 

Interestingly, NAMI Montgomery County is an organization that predates NAMI, having been “established in 1978 by five local families, seeking to support each other and to educate others about mental illness” (NAMI Montgomery County, 2022). Remaining true to its family origins, NAMI seeks to revolutionize the way people approach mental health, beginning at home. 

Avesta Ketamine & Wellness is thrilled to be participating in this year’s NAMI Montogomery County Mental Health Awareness Walk this May 21st, 2022, at RIO Lakefront in Gaithersburg, MD. Both Avesta and NAMI Montogomery Country understand that mental health affects everyone.

Whether in the form of a donation or registration, if you’re local to the DMV area, consider participating in this year’s NAMI Montgomery County Mental Health Awareness Walk! And if you do attend, stop by our tent to hear more about Avesta and our work. 

If you’re more national, don’t worry; you can donate anytime to NAMI, our nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization. Remember, in changing the narrative, we change our reality.

 

Sources:

https://nami.org/home

https://namimc.org/about-nami-montgomery-county/ 

Photo by Arek Adeoye on StockSnap

Author Dr. Ladan Eshkevari, PhD, CRNA, FAAN Dr. Eshkevari is the lead clinician at Avesta, and is a long time researcher and educator in physiology, biophysics, and anesthesiology. She is passionate about assisting patients with retractable, difficult to treat mood disorders, and relies on the latest research to bring evidence to Avesta's practice to better understand and serve patients.

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