NAMI to expand educational role

Sun, 01/22/2017 - 10:15am

The island chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness is considering a few projects intended to reach out to various island constituencies.

The group is considering a panel discussion and work session on the opioid and heroin epidemics sweeping the country. Members of the group have been searching for ways to engage the community in discussion of this critical issue.

Part of the process has been to reach out to experts in the field of these addictions, to officials at the state level and to tap the medical, educational, and police resources of the island. The hope is to design a program that is engaging and interactive for all age groups concerned. 

The specifics — of who will be involved and when — are yet to be determined. 

The group is also continuing its discussions with Cindy Elder, Executive Director of the NAMI state chapter, who is emphasizing the importance of communicating with the community about the impacts of mental illness.

Eider has outlined several programs designed to reach children, parents, and teachers, one of which is premised upon the notions of parents and teachers working together to help children. Elder thought such an attempt could be important in de-stigmatizing the topic.

Since that October meeting, Elder has been working with Co-Principal Kristine Monje at the Block Island School to offer two programs on “Parents and Teachers as Allies.”

Chair Steve Hollaway explained that the programs were in the process of being planned — one to address students during school hours and another for parents and faculty after school. Dates are still being arranged. 

Financial report

In his financial report, Treasurer Pat Tengwall explained that the group had received $1,855 in donations as a result of the annual mailing. Fundraising costs, he said, were $1,200. Donations are still arriving, he said.

The next NAMI-BI meeting is scheduled for Feb. 23 at 9 a.m. at the Harbor Church.