NAMI brings mental health services to Dane County residents
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Dane County has provided awareness, education and advocacy for people with mental illness, their families, and their caregivers for over 40 years. WisdomWay is proud to call NAMI Dane County a charitable partner. We hope to work alongside this organization to raise awareness and support for individuals and families affected by mental illness.
Last year more than 2,400 individuals and families participated in free peer support groups and education classes offered by this organization. Also, over 500 people were reached through community presentations and trainings. Executive Director Anna Moffit feels enthusiastic about the impact and opportunity to make a difference.
“Right now, we’re in a place where we are talking about mental health. A lot of groups, a window of opportunity where we can make it … The interest that I hear in the community and from elected officials, law enforcement and public schools, it’s really exciting,” she said.
Coming from a community organization and advocacy background, Anna not only oversees operations at NAMI Dane County but she also participates in a county-wide behavioral health subcommittee. She collaborates on policy and structure, and has a special interest in advocating for programs that defer and deflect people with mental health needs from jail and to needed mental health services.
NAMI Dane County has a history of meeting the needs of families, caregivers, and individuals ranging between the ages of 25 and 65. They’re making it a priority to connect more with children and youth, African Americans, LGBTQIA+, and veterans.
Anna said that they’re addressing cultural stigmas around mental health and particularly hope to reach more veterans and LGBTQIA+ identifying individuals because suicide rates are high in these populations. “There are so many people out there who don’t have access to support and resources,” she said. “Getting information out to people makes a tremendous impact on outlook and outcome.”
With only four staff members, they rely on volunteers and community support. Anna said they currently have 50 volunteers who teach classes or lead support groups and 100 volunteers overall. If you’re looking to give back or volunteer, NAMI Dane County would love your support!
Anna said everyone she meets has experienced or knows someone who is experiencing mental illness. “For me, personally, I, myself, have lived with a number of mental illnesses — postpartum depression, depression disorder and anxiety,” she said. “I want people to know, you can have a full, productive life. With treatment and support you can learn how to take care of yourself, so you can have a happy, full life.”
Learn more about NAMI Dane County’s work and impact on their website.
Join us in supporting this great cause by supporting yourself with mindfulness! Learn more about our mindful family caregiver’s program, 28 Days: Loving Through Difficulty and our Kind Hearted Retreat, a mindfulness meditation retreat for beginners and experienced meditators.
Karen Laing is a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Teacher with experience in trauma and caregiving. She's spent the last 25 years supporting families through major life transitions such as birth and postpartum care.
She founded Birthways over 20 years ago to support expectant families and provide training and support for birthworkers. She created WisdomWay as a means to continue supporting all caregivers with mindfulness-based training and certifications. She speaks nationwide on mindfulness, parenting, caregiving, and mental health.