SAT Oct 4: Walk, don’t run, for mental illness

Here’s the only thing I can’t figure out about this Saturday’s NAMI WALK: For the Mind of America – How long are we walking, here? A 5K, a 10K, a half marathon? But that doesn’t matter.

What matters is how easy they make it to support the National Association on Mental Illness in Austin. The event is not raising money on entry fees, rather they’re asking us to support someone else who’s walking by making a pledge. Most of the walkers tend to be people who were close to someone who’s suffered immensely due to mental illness. And overall, the walks across the country have the important goal of raising awareness and visibility of mental illness as a real disease. See this:

The cause of improving the lives of those experiencing serious mental illness is publicly perceived much the same way as the causes of AIDs and breast cancer were perceived in 1987, twenty years ago. Mental illness is not usually discussed openly within families, let alone at schools, churches, at work or in other public places. The WALKS have begun to change that situation. As a very public display of our support for persons living with these illnesses, some recovering and some not, we are shining a light on a topic that many shy away from discussing.

The WALKS have been a powerful vehicle for supporters of person’s with mental illnesses, as well as those living with an illness. It is an opportunity to engage others that they come in contact with on a daily basis to better understand what mental illness is and to know that recovery is now possible. These efforts to address the sometimes inaccurate portrayal in the media of persons with a mental illness are beginning to show success.

Employers are learning that 1 in 5 persons are affected by mental illness and are beginning to understand that large numbers of their employee base are impacted in some way and that this could affect their productivity. People are beginning to understand that having a mental illness doesn’t mean that all hope of living a normal life is gone forever and that they are not helpless nor alone in working to overcome this challenge.

To help, go to the Austin NAMI Walks page, choose an individual walker or team  click on “Select a Walker” in the far right), and make the pledge. Each of them has set a goal, so it can be especially fun to pledge enough to help someone just shy of their goal. If you look at the pledges, most of them are in the $25 to $40 range, so this is do-able stuff.

In fact, as of this writing they are at 71% of their overall Austin goal of $100,000. The walk is THIS SATURDAY, so you have a few more days to go online and make that pledge.


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