May is Mental Health Month – a timely reminder of how important mental health is every month, and especially in times of crisis. Here’s how we support you, our members and allies across Massachusetts, now and throughout the year:
- We offer support and education for people who are dealing with mental health symptoms, including Connection Support Groups and Peer-to-Peer classes. Connecting with others is especially needed during this time, so we continue to offer Connection groups remotely – online and by phone – and will begin online Peer-to-Peer class in the coming weeks. We also began a program, @home, that mixes wellness topics and support. Learn more about our peer programs.
- We offer support and education for family members, friends, and other caregivers of people with mental health conditions, including Family Support Groups and Family-to-Family and Basics classes. Our family programs also continue to be available during this COVID crisis – most of our Family Support Groups are meeting online and by phone, and Family-to-Family and Basics classes have been offered online. Learn more about our family programs.
- We help people navigate the mental health system with our COMPASS Helpline. We help people find peer and family support, access mental health treatment, get help for issues with health insurance, housing, employment, education, and more by phone and email and with our online resource collection. COMPASS continues to be available during this time, and has curreted a list of COVID related support options and resources. Learn more about the COMPASS Helpline. Visit our COVID-19 Resource Page.
- We offer training and presentations to police officers, educators, and the general public. Each of our training programs infuses the perspective of people who have navigated the mental health system firsthand. Many of these programs are now being offered virtually, to help ensure these important stories are still heard. Learn more about Community Education and Training programs.
- We advocate for system change on a statewide level. Each year we develop a list of advocacy priorities, which are representative of the top issues and concerns of our members. This year’s priorities access to mental health care for children and adults, increased funding for the Department of Mental Health and housing, enforcement of mental health parity laws, and ending solitary confinement for people with mental health diagnoses in prisons. Our advocacy work has taken on new urgency during this crisis. Along with a coalition of organizations from across the state, we have advocated for fair and adequate COVID testing and treatment for people with mental health diagnoses including those in state hospitals, and for equity in the COVID-19 Crisis Standard of Care guidelines. We have also worked with legislators to ensure that the needs of the mental health community are prioritized during COVID 19. Learn more about our advocacy work.
The work we do is more important than ever. We host a NAMIWalks event each year in May. The Walk is our largest event and biggest fundraiser of the year. It keeps our educational programs support groups free for participants, and helps fund our helpline, community training, and grassroots advocacy.
This year’s Walk will happen virtually, but your support is still needed! Please consider participating – register as a walker, form a team, or simply make a donation. Help us continue to be there for our community!