A PERSONAL APPEAL
Read Nicole’s story, a NAMI Kansas family member, about the benefits she has received from NAMI and her efforts to give back:
I am a NAMI member in Wichita. When my son was five, he was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. I didn’t know anything about mental illness at the time, so I searched for a support group for moms in a similar situation and learned about a NAMI family support group. After attending one meeting, I was not ready for the stories that I was hearing about adult issues. When I learned about NAMI Basics, an education program for families with young children, I signed up for the next class.
NAMI Basics was a godsend! For the first time, I met other parents who had similar experiences. Our instructor talked about her child who was eerily similar to my own, and I finally knew that I wasn’t alone! That started a long relationship with NAMI. My next step was to become a NAMI Basics teacher and then I helped NAMI Wichita start a support group called THIS Life for parents and caregivers of children with mental health issues. I have joined the NAMI Wichita Board of Directors and have twice been able to attend the NAMI national convention.
NAMI saved my sanity and gave me hope at a point when all I could see was a mountainous journey ahead. I have learned how to advocate for my son, as well as for others. As an elementary school teacher, I have shared my knowledge with other teachers and taught them how to advocate for the mental health needs of their students. NAMI changed my life and the life of my family. Without NAMI’s support, education, and advocacy efforts, I’m not sure how I would have made it through the past 10 years!
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Thank you for your continued support and friendship.