Mental Health is a hot topic these days. More people are speaking up, telling their stories and showing compassion for those who struggle. Celebrities like Stephen Colbert, Demi Lovato and Kanye West are sharing their experiences with mental health conditions. Just yesterday, Chance the Rapper pledged $1,000,000 to support mental health services in Chicago. The Mental Health Movement is growing every day.

What does it mean to be part of the Mental Health Movement? It is not just about talking to our neighbors or putting a post on Facebook during Mental Illness Awareness Week, although that is a great place to start. There is more to it than that. The Movement is about being part of something larger than ourselves. It is about finding your voice and adding it to the thousands who are advocating for better access to care, improved mental health coverage, and the elimination of the stigma that bars so many from getting the treatment they need. By joining NAMI Metro Suburban, you become part of the Mental Health Movement. You are part of the organization that is providing education and support to so many in our community. You are making a difference.

NAMI is bigger than the west suburbs of Cook County and bigger than Illinois. NAMI is a national organization with affiliates in every state throughout the country. It is lobbyists advocating on Capitol Hill, as well as, volunteers presenting suicide prevention programs in our neighborhood schools. It is national conventions and local support groups. NAMI is a movement that gives a voice to the millions whose lives are touched by mental illness. In the Mental Health Movement numbers matter. The more members we have, the louder our voice becomes.

As we prepare for our annual members meeting on October 17, I encourage you to join us and become part of the Mental Health Movement. At the meeting you will hear about where NAMI Metro Suburban has been and where the organization is going. You will meet their leadership and find ways to get more involved. You do not need to be a member to attend the meeting, but we will be processing memberships on the spot if you wish to join. If you are not able to attend the meeting, membership can also be processed at www.namimetsub.org/membership.

In the words of Helen Keller, "Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." There is work to be done. It is up to us to join in as one voice and be the change we want to see in the world. 

Written by Nikki Rashes