The Idaho office of the National Alliance on Mental Illness recently launched a new website designed to connect clients online throughout the state.
Thanks to online technology, the nonprofit organization could reach more people in need than before.
“This is a landmark moment that enables our local NAMI affiliates to offer support group access to people and areas that do not have a local NAMI affiliate or are remote,” said NAMI Idaho Director Michael Sandvig. “These support groups are open to anybody in Idaho, regardless of where you live.”
The website offers a calendar of support groups that meet in four areas of the state: Far North (Sandpoint), Treasure Valley, Wood River Valley (Hailey/Ketchum) and Upper Valley (Idaho Falls).
The NAMI support groups for individuals and families met face-to-face before COVID-19. Now they are all online with a handful also meeting face-to-face, Sandvig said.
“This was a necessary adjustment to COVID-19 and a silver lining to an otherwise dark cloud,” Sandvig said.
The local Wood River Valley NAMI affiliate offers support groups for persons living with mental health challenges and weeks-long educational programs for families affected by mental illness. The Wood River Valley affiliate also has a Spanish speaking family support group called Grupo de Apoyo para Familiares de NAMI.
Visit the NAMI Idaho website’s calendar for dates and times of support groups.
NAMI Idaho also announced September as National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, in order to reduce the stigma around mental illnesses.
“We use this month to reach out to those affected by suicide, raise awareness, and connect people to treatment services and support groups. It is also important to ensure that individuals, friends and families have access to the resources they need to discuss suicide prevention,” Sandvig said. “The truth is, we can all benefit from honest conversations about mental health conditions and suicide, because just one conversation can change a life.”
The NAMI Idaho website has information on resources available during a crisis and information about how to respond to psychological issues before they become a crisis.
Throughout September, NAMI National will continue to amplify its “You Are Not Alone” campaign, which builds awareness with digital tools and storytelling to make connection possible during a climate of physical distancing.
“The NAMI community is always here to help, reminding everyone that you are not alone,” states a press release, with hashtags #SPM20 #NotAlone and #helloidaho.
To learn more, go to the state site at namiidaho.org.
For the local affiliate visit namiwrv.org.