The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Massachusetts (NAMI Mass) seeks to aid in improving the quality of life for people affected by mental illness—both individuals and families. They proclaim the following “NAMI Massachusetts strives to educate the public; to fight stigma, discrimination, and stereotypes; and to promote recovery.” This powerful statement is a guiding force throughout their mission.
Overall, this alliance seeks to increase education about mental illness within surrounding communities, to raise awareness of mental illness and to advocate on behalf of persons affected by it, in order to foster better treatment. NAMI Massachusetts also cites core values it hopes to implement, including:
- A commitment to a variety of programs, including peer, consumer and family-driven
- Key concepts of recovery necessary for a higher quality of life offer resiliency and support
- Fulfilled and meaningful lives for all people
What Does NAMI Mass Do?
Namely, the organization offers a variety of volunteer-led programs which strive to educate and provide support for those in recovery and for their families. Educational programs focus on access to resources, offering insights, coping skills and support. Volunteers who run the programs have walked their own journeys to recovery. All volunteers are peers with their own stories to share and who can relate on a personal level to those in recovery. They are also trained with the best practices NAMI has available through NAMI National.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Massachusetts seeks, also, to educate the public in order to bridge the gap between mental illness diagnosis and treatment. One in four families has a brain disorder, according to their web page, yet few resources exist to educate or explain treatment for persons affected by mental disorders. This is an ongoing issue, but proper treatment and resources are available.
Members include persons affected by a mental illness directly, and their families, caregivers, friends and other people who care. For those seeking treatment or supporting others in this pursuit, NAMI Mass offers a variety of comprehensive programs.
NAMI Massachusetts Educational Programs
Educational efforts include three types of programs: informational courses, support groups and advocacy activities. All are free of charge to participants. Courses provide information and answers pertinent to mental illness, and include the following:
- Family-to-family: a 12-week course for those affected by a form of serious mental illness. The main focus of this course is the emotional trauma experienced by individuals and families associated with mental illness
- NAMI basics: a six-week, peer-led course designed specifically for parents or caregivers of persons struggling with mental illness
- In Our Own Voice: a one-hour presentation which demonstrates the possibility of recovery for those with mental illness and provides a strong anti-stigma message
Two types of support groups are available to the organization’s members. Family Support Groups provide a safe space for families and caregivers to speak candidly about daily struggles and to support each other. NAMI Connection allows individuals to come together and share their experiences with mental illness under the support of a trained peer. Connecting with others fosters a safe environment for members to share coping strategies and to encourage each other through understanding.
Advocacy activities “seek to ensure quality care and community-based services for individuals with mental illness” according to the organization’s website. Advocacy efforts focus on better choices for employment, housing, education and medical treatment — including access to prescription medication, rehabilitation, and hospitalization services. Essentially, The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Massachusetts hopes to achieve through advocacy a higher awareness of the mental illness, the needs associated with it and the treatment options that are available for it.
Seeking Help For Mental Illness: Why It’s Important
Every year in America, thousands are affected by mental illness. As the American Psychiatric Association (APA) states, almost one in five adults in the United States experience some form of mental illness. Of that number, one person in 24 has a serious mental illness. The encouraging fact to remember is that mental illness is, indeed, treatable. As it stands, many people struggling with mental illness are fully functioning individuals.
Mental health is important in living a fulfilling life. According to the APA, mental health provides the building blocks for thinking, communication, learning, resilience, and self-esteem. In addition, mental health may affect relationships, personal and emotional well-being and contributions to society. Though many people who have a mental illness may try to avoid talking about it or seeking help, it is a disease that touches countless individuals across the United States. It is important to remember, proper and compassionate care exists.
If the goal for those struggling with mental illness is a fully functioning, meaningful life, NAMI Massachusetts endeavors to help members build such a life. Through treatment support programs, education and advocacy, members can learn about their illness and connect with others who have struggled. This is a remarkable venue by which they can share experiences and offer support, encouragement, accountability, and understanding.
Start On The Path To A More Fulfilling Life Today
If you believe someone you love is battling mental illness, or you would like more information, contact us today. We offer an expert and compassionate staff that is standing by to help you find the answers you need, to highlight treatment options and to implement the treatment method that is right for you or your loved one, including treatment for co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders.
If you suffer from a dual diagnosis, including anxiety, depression, trauma or others, our highly trained clinicians understand that in order for you to have the highest chance of long-lasting success, each must be treated fully, in conjunction, using evidence-based treatments. Swift River can offer you this care.