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10TH ANNUAL STATEWIDE WALK BATTLES MENTAL ILLNESS STIGMA, RAISES CRITICAL FUNDS

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Attorney General Martha Coakley is Keynote Speaker & Walk participant

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 1, 2013

Woburn, MA—On Saturday, May 11, thousands of individuals living with mental illness along with family and friends from across the state will gather for the 10th Annual NAMIWalks Massachusetts fundraiser at Artesani Park in Boston (1255 Soldiers Field Road; across from Days Inn). Check-in is at 9:00 a.m.; the program begins at 10:15 a.m. and the Walk starts at 11:00 a.m. Walk-ins are welcome. For more information, visit namiwalks.org, click Find a Walk, and select the Massachusetts Walksite.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Massachusetts (NAMI Mass) is a nonprofit grassroots education, support and advocacy organization. Founded in 1982, NAMI Mass is the state’s voice on mental illness with 20 local chapters and more than 2,500 members. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for people with mental illnesses and their families by educating the public; fighting stigma, discrimination and stereotypes; and promoting recovery.

Attorney General Martha Coakley will serve as keynote speaker and will participate in the Walk. “I am proud to be involved in this year’s NAMI Walk,” she says. “NAMI serves a critical role by improving the public’s awareness and understanding of mental illnesses, providing support, and helping ensure that all affected by mental illness receive the critical services they deserve.”

Since 2004, NAMI Mass has raised $3 million through its annual Walk, and has funneled that money directly into programs and services. This year, the Saint Vincent Hospital, MetroWest Medical Center and Tufts Medical Center Partnership is the lead sponsor for the Walk.

We are pleased to support NAMI which works tirelessly on behalf of patients suffering from mental illness.  Saint Vincent Hospital and MetroWest Medical Center have provided behavioral health care to the communities we serve for many decades and remain committed to ensuring access for those who need us,” said Erik G. Wexler, President of Vanguard Health Systems New England and CEO of Saint Vincent Hospital.

Wexler will be on hand to address walkers on May 11.

Walkers come from Worcester County to Cape Ann to Cape Cod and everywhere in between. In 2012 alone, more than 7,000 individuals participated and—together with the event sponsors—raised over $520,000, more than half of the organization’s annual budget. 2013 marks the 10th Annual Walk, and NAMI Mass aims to raise $600,000.

“The Walk is a stigma-free zone, a celebration of dignity, hope, recovery and resiliency,” says NAMI Mass Executive Director Laurie Martinelli. “One in four adults will experience a mental health disorder this year in the U.S. and tragically, largely because of stigma, most will go untreated. The Walk proves that recovery is real and that people with mental illness can and do lead fruitful and productive lives.”

In addition to AG Martha Coakley, former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis and his wife, Kitty—a NAMI Mass Board Member and individual with lived experience—will participate in the Walk. Martha, Michael and Kitty are open to media interviews. Also, a half-dozen NAMI members are willing to be interviewed. (See their compelling personal stories and more in the attached Fact Sheet.)

Each year, nearly 60 million Americans experience a mental health disorder. One in 17 lives with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, major depression or bipolar disorder. And 1 in 10 children and adolescents in the U.S. suffers from serious emotional and mental disorders that cause significant functional impairment in their day-to-day lives.

Contact for interviews or more information: Matt Ellis, matt@ellisstrategies.com, 617-278-6560

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Resources for Dealing with Trauma in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon Bombing

Boston Marathon

In the aftermath of the terrible tragedy that occurred at the Boston Marathon April 15, 2013, we wanted to provide a brief list of resources for talking with children about traumatic events and how to manage your own reactions to trauma. One of the most important things we can do as adults is monitor our own response to these disturbing events. If we practice good self-care and take positive action, we will set a powerful example.

If your anxious or “down” feelings don’t go away or are so intense that they interfere with your daily life, seek the help of a mental health professional. This may be especially important for those who live with depression, substance abuse problems, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder.

You can speak with a counselor on the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs” to 66746.

TTY for Deaf/Hearning impaired 1-800-846-8517.

Usted puede hablar con un consejero de la linea de ayuda de socorro de desatres 1-800-985-5990 o mensaje SMS Hablanos al 66746.


There is still plenty of time to participate in mental health legislative advocacy in Massachusetts

2013 NAMI Massachusetts Advocacy Day Crowd Shot

2013 NAMI Massachusetts Advocacy Day

If you were unable to attend the 2013 NAMI Massachusetts Advocacy Day, you can still take part by mailing, emailing or faxing the signed legislative fact sheets to your State Senator and State Representative. Don’t forget to include your home address on the facts sheets.
Here are the legislative fact sheets you can download and print out:
To mail the legislative fact sheets, please address as follows:
Senator (Insert Name) or Representative (Insert Name)
Massachusetts State House
Room (Insert the number)
Boston, MA 02133
If you do not know who your legislators are you can find out that information here http://www.wheredoivotema.com by inputting your home address to get their names which are listed under the section District Representatives (State Senator and State Representative). Write down their names for future use.

To look up the contact information of your State Senator please visit http://www.malegislature.gov/People/Senate to get their room number for the address, email or fax number and write it down for future use.

To look up the contact information of your State Representative please visit http://www.malegislature.gov/People/House to get their room number for the address, email or fax number and write it down for future use.

Speaking out in support of yourself and others affected by mental illness and letting your elected officials know where you stand on the issues is what legislative advocacy is all about.
If you have any questions, please contact our office at 800-370-9085 or info@namimass.org
2013 NAMI Massachusetts Advocacy Day Crowd Shot

2013 NAMI Massachusetts Advocacy Day Crowd Shot