In fiscal year 2015, NAMI offered 78 classes to people with mental illnesses and their families in 15 out of the 16 regions in our state, reaching close to 1,000 people. Eleven different classes are offered. Evaluations consistently demonstrate that over 90% of the attendees found the classes increased their knowledge, feeling of connectedness to others, and that they feel better able to advocate for and help their loved ones.
To provide support to individuals living with a mental illness and their families, NAMI offered 65 ongoing peer-to-peer support groups statewide. These groups provide support to family members, adults living with a mental illness, parents of children, spouses/partners, adult sons and daughters, young adults with mental illnesses and people who identify as LGBTQ. Kidshops is offered to children who have a sibling or parent living with a mental illness.
The help line responded to nearly 4,400 phone calls and e-mails and provided advice and support as people navigated the mental health system or faced discrimination. In the fall of 2014, NAMI Minnesota conducted 30 focus groups to culturally diverse communities around the state of Minnesota in order to provide feedback and input to the state’s development of behavioral health homes. The two websites, press releases and articles reached over 85,000.
We know that educating professionals is equally important. The professional classes were taught 125 times reaching over 3000 people in every region of the state and 387 presentations were delivered to over 10,600 people at workplaces, community settings and major conferences.
Goal 1: Ensure access to education and support throughout Minnesota.
NAMI will continue to provide over 100 classes around the state but will seek to increase attendance using a new marketing plan. We will also increase the number of support groups around the state, including one for LGBTQA youth with a mental illness. NAMI will work with three hospitals to improve discharge planning and to connect families with a newly diagnosed loved one to education and support. New materials will be developed to help people understand the components of behavioral health homes and psychiatric advanced directives.
Goal 2: Educate and advocate to policy makers around emerging or critical issues related to the needs of children and adults with mental illnesses and their families.
NAMI Minnesota is recognized as the leading advocacy organization at the legislature and state government. We will continue to educate legislators, provide input through state task forces and committees, and seek solutions to the barriers to accessing care. A major focus will be monitoring implementation of the 2015 funding obtained through our legislative work that resulted in the largest increase in new funding for our mental health system in our state’s history.
Goal 3: Work with providers and professionals who touch the lives of people living with mental illnesses and their families.
There are a number of professional groups that will be targeted including the criminal justice community, teachers, people who work with youth and older adults, health care providers, social services workers and the faith community. NAMI will continue to provide its current classes to professionals and seek to increase attendance. More intensive work will be carried out to decrease smoking among people with mental illnesses. Two new programs related to suicide prevention will begin this year – Postvention and Survivor Voices. New strategies related to promoting employment among people with mental illnesses and employers will begin this year.
Goal 4: Ensure that all people living with mental illnesses and their families in Minnesota have access to a NAMI Minnesota affiliate that meets NAMI standards.
Almost of all of the local affiliates operate with a small team of volunteers. NAMI is working with them to strengthen them and to help them meet new national standards. In addition, we are helping them advocate for solutions on the county level and have a voice in how service expansion due to new funding will take place in their communities.
Goal 5: Assure a sustainable organization that builds on NAMI Minnesota’s strengths.
New efforts will be made this year to reach out to young professionals and to focus more attention to major gifts and planned giving. Different strategies will be used to utilize highly skilled volunteers to assist with marketing and other areas.