NAMI Richland County is changing the stigma around

NAMI Richland County is helping to change and improve the lives of individuals with mental illnesses and their families every day.

NAMI, or the National Alliance of Mental Illness, strives to improve the quality of life and ensure dignity and respect for individuals with mental illness and their families. 

While employees are not mental health professionals, they give direction and advocate for the rights and proper medical treatment for the families of individuals with mental illness. 

“We hear the worries and concerns voiced by family members who call us, not knowing what to do,” said Annabelle Coffman, administrator and marketing assistant for NAMI Richland County.

The organization offers a variety of mental health services for these families. Some programs offered include: 

  • Family to Family: an 11-week evidence-based class for family members

  • Family and Friends: a 3-hour public presentation on mental illness

  • CIT: Crisis Intervention Team Training for First Responders; 

  • Support groups: one for family members and one for those with mental health conditions

  • Mental health presentations geared toward a variety of audiences

They have helped train over 500 first responders in the community from the CIT classes, and they have offered 41 Family to Family classes which have impacted thousands of families.

NAMI Richland County is changing the stigma around mental health

Ending the Silence presentations for middle and high schoolers and NAMI On Campus at OSU Mansfield & NC State to create a safe space to discuss mental health.

Many of the above programs and groups are geared toward support through a crisis or after an initial mental health diagnosis. However, NAMI is in the process of starting several programs that are geared more toward prevention. Funds raised this year will go toward three initiatives.

The first is called Ending the Silence. This is a 50-minute evidence-based presentation geared toward middle and high school students. The second, called NAMI On Campus, is a group that will be created on OSU Mansfield and NC State Campuses. This group will meet to discuss mental health and increase support on campus. Both of these programs are intended for students, as 75 percent of mental illness begins by age 24.

The third initiative includes various mental health presentations intended for corporations, employees, employers and the workforce; as mental Illness is one of the leading causes of disability in the workforce.

NAMI Richland County is beginning to change the stigma around mental illness in the area. 

They are working to continue all current free services to the community as well as to increase prevention programs in the schools, colleges and the workforce.

But, in order to do so, they need your help.

This year for Richland Gives, donate to NAMI Richland County.

This article was paid for by the nonprofit organization mentioned. Leading up to Giving Tuesday on December 3, we will feature profiles on various local nonprofits. Read all the stories here.

Marketing Intern

Marketing intern and Thrive Reporter for Richland Source. Graduate of Lexington High School. Current student at Miami University studying public administration, law, and Arabic. Avid ice cream-consumer.