Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Meditation shows Promise in Relieving Anxiety and Depression

Kathleen Vogtle, NAMI Communications Coordinator, wrote an interesting article about the benefits of meditation.
Image: Flickr/Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement
For many, the concept of meditation instantly brings to mind the quintessential image of the Buddha sitting with utter tranquility in the pretzel-like lotus position. The tranquility aspect is certainly accurate: meditation is a technique used to focus thoughts, reflect or relax.

Meditation is a means of developing wellness, an ongoing process of learning how to make choices that support a more successful, healthy life. A new review study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine, showed that taking the wellness approach can result in a 17 percent decline in total medical visits and a 35 percent decline in medical visits for minor illnesses.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Valued ‘Virtual Walker’

My daughter, Kathy Busby, who is a Walk Manager this year, asked me to write a paragraph about the ‘Virtual Walker.’ What is a virtual walker anyhow? Well, my dictionary states that ‘virtual’ is defined as “being in effect or essence although not in actual fact or name,” and we all know what a ‘walker’ is! So a virtual walker is one who is not actually present on the occasion but has a very strong interest in the success of the endeavor. We’ve all heard the expression of being at a given event “in spirit” when the speaker wishes that he or she could be there physically but offers his/her blessing instead.

Our virtual walkers are very special people and are an essential part of the success of the whole event. It is understandable that due to age (I’m 94) or infirmity or other legitimate reasons, many are prevented from participating in the actual walk. It is surprising how many other opportunities are available to those who wish to volunteer for this important cause. The least that we can do (but very significant) is to contact a Team Captain and sign up as a Team member. There is strength and encouragement in numbers!

The ‘Virtual Walkers’ as a group are among the most significant cogs of the event—among whom are corporations, associations, philanthropists and individuals who are concerned about the plight of those who are dependent on our interest and understanding for their well-being. As usual in most appeals, the bottom line is funding. No organization can conduct their business without assets; without energy to keep the wheels turning, the effort would soon become stagnant and unproductive. Likewise with NAMI, their coordinated efforts to help individuals in need of care—to conduct classes for affected families, to organize efforts such as the Walk, to publicize the need for more action in regard to mental illnesses, to reduce the lingering stigma that surrounds mental illness—requires assets.

None of the above to accent the ‘Virtual Walker’ is intended to minimize the importance of the ‘Actual Walkers’ without whose presence there would be no Walk. So whether you are a ‘virtual walker’ or an ‘actual walker,’ please show your support by raising funds and awareness for NAMIWalks. You can make a difference today!
                                                                                                                                Herbert L. Phillips

Friday, January 3, 2014

A New Year of Opportunities!

The beginning of a new year is an exciting time for everyone. A chance to start over and/or try something new; for NAMI State and Affiliate Organizations it’s a time to decide how to best use the funds from their NAMIWalks. Here are some options of how NAMIs across the country will use their funds in 2014:

Launch new programs and expand their existing services, such as:
·         Offereing Education Programs - NAMI Family-to-Family, NAMI Peer-to-Peer, NAMI Basics, NAMI In Our Own Voice, NAMI Provider Training, NAMI Parents and Teachers as Allies, and NAMI Hearts & Minds;
·         Providing Support Services - NAMI Connection, NAMI Family Support Group, and NAMI on Campus;
·         Launching a new program like NAMI Kern County’s Front Line support group for veterans and their loved ones.  
Introduce NEW ACTIVITIES, such as:
·         Developing a housing program for persons living with mental illness;
·         Developing drop-in centers and club houses;
·         Supporting employment programs for persons with mental illness;
·         Funding Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Trainings;
·         Providing clothing, personal hygiene items, and transportation services to individuals living with mental illness who have limited incomes;
·         Supporting socialization activities and support groups for persons living with mental illness.

·         Expanding the NAMI affiliate mental health libraries;
·         Designing and printing outreach materials;
·         Covering the cost of materials for teachers and/or school counselors that share current and useful information about mental illness.

These are just a few of the ways funding from the 2014 NAMIWalks will help improve the lives of individuals living with mental illness and their loved ones. NAMI staff, Board Members, volunteers, and supporters are always implementing new and unique programs and services across the country. It's exciting to see what's in store for 2014!