Impact and Programs
To create a community that supports children and adults with mental illnesses to heal and recover, people need to be educated about mental illnesses, know how to help and support those impacted by mental illnesses and eliminate stereotypes and biases.
In fiscal year 2019, NAMI reached nearly 700 family members through its eight different classes that provide information on adult and children’s mental health issues and range from a one-hour class to a 12-week class
NAMI runs two projects in Dakota and Scott counties where parents’ nights and other classes are held to support parents of children with a mental illness and one-on-one assistance is provided. NAMI Minnesota is also a part of the children’s System of Care grant, focusing on ensuring parent and family engagement in the design of the system. The Family Peer Specialist is under a partial contract with three of the programs running a First Psychosis Program to provide education and support to families whose teen or young adult is experiencing a first psychotic episode.
To reach Latinx families, a full-time Spanish speaking parent educator was hired to conduct outreach to the community, provide education and one-to-one support in Dakota, Washington and Ramsey Counties. A young adult multi-cultural advisory committee was formed this past year to provide input into how NAMI works within different cultural communities and to work to create that change. They launched a series of podcasts called Wellness in Color. Mental Health 101 is a class designed to be culturally sensitive and is delivered to the African American, Spanish speaking and LGBTQ communities. It reached 131 people last year.
Changing public attitudes towards mental illnesses and increasing the public’s mental health literacy are critical to the community accepting people with mental illnesses. NAMI is moving away from using the word “stigma” and calling it what it is – discrimination. One of the best ways to disrupt stereotypes is for people to share their own stories. The In Our Own Voice program helps people with mental illnesses shape and share their stories of recovery. In addition, NAMI collaborates on the Make it Ok campaign and has a speakers’ bureau. These three programs reached over 2,700 people. Increasing mental health literacy is equally important. NAMI Minnesota offers all four versions of Mental Health First Aid reaching over 700 people.
With half of all mental illnesses emerging by the age of 14, educating high school students about mental illnesses is crucial to early identification and treatment and suicide prevention. NAMI Minnesota delivered a national NAMI program called Ending the Silence, to over 5,800 high school students. We have begun work on a curriculum for middle school students which we hope to launch this fiscal year.
Understanding the importance of wellness, NAMI Minnesota began a wellness series in the community focusing on nutrition, exercise and smoking cessation. An important part of wellness is having something meaningful to do – such as employment. The one-hour workshop, often offered over the lunch hour, called Good Mental Health in the Workplace, was offered at 39 different companies or organizations reaching 1400 people, doubling the number reached the previous year.
The rising rate of suicide in Minnesota and across the country has led to a more intense effort to educate people on how to prevent suicides. Six different classes are offered, including Means Restriction Education, QPR, safeTALK, ASIST, survivor voices and postvention. NAMI reached nearly 3500 people throughout the state. Lockboxes are given to crisis teams, emergency departments and schools to distribute to parents to help keep their children safe. This year we are collaborating with UMASH to bring suicide prevention to farm communities, with the Suicide Survivors Club to help families heal after a suicide and with the MN Medical Association to train physicians on suicide prevention.
To address the high rate of smoking among adults with mental illnesses NAMI Minnesota will be launching an online smoking cessation program targeted at mental health professionals to teach them how to engage people with serious mental illnesses in smoking cessation strategies. People who have a serious mental illness are aging and older adults are developing depression and other mental illnesses and NAMI provided education to over 1600 people who work with older adults. Speaking at conferences and providing targeted presentations are important in reaching professionals, and this year over 3,300 professionals were reached.
It is difficult to face a mental illness and we learn so much from others who have traveled the journey. NAMI’s 72 peer-led support groups provide support to family members, adults living with a mental illness, parents of children, spouses/partners, young adults with mental illnesses, and people who identify as LGBTQ. To address barriers to accessing the groups such as transportation, three web-based support groups were launched this part year.
NAMI is the state’s outreach partner for the National Institute of Mental Health, which provides us with an opportunity to distribute their materials and promote research at over 111 booths a year, including the Minnesota State Fair. To promote the importance and awareness of the latest mental health issues and research, NAMI hosts a research dinner with the University of Minnesota Department of Psychiatry each year, as well as the annual NAMI state conference and annual Baby Blues conference on maternal mental health and all three conferences together reached over 600 people. This past year’s state conference featured Daniel E. Dawes, JD who spoke about Mental Health Equity in America: a Past, Present and Future Look at the Political Determinants of Health; Resmaa Menakem, MSW, LICSW, S.E.P. was the keynote for the Baby Blues Conference and he discussed racialized trauma, the physical nature of trauma, how it impacts our bodies and our minds, and how this relates to people who are pregnant and new parents.
A new website was launched last July and had 112,000 unique visitors. Three e-newsletters covering general information, children’s mental health and legislative issues are published every month with over 20,500 subscribers. NAMI has a strong presence on social media with 10,390 Facebook friends and 6,337 Twitter followers. Over 4,500 people contacted the helpline for assistance in navigating the mental health system or looking for information on how to help a loved one, a 12% increase. NAMI Minnesota continues to update and publish 12 booklets to assist people in navigating various parts of the mental health system. This year NAMI is working to complete a booklet on co-occurring disorders (mental illnesses and substance use disorders).
NAMI Minnesota is a leader in the public policy arena and participates in different task forces and advisory committees to ensure that elected officials and policy makers are aware of the needs of children and adults with mental illnesses and their families and how they can be met. Due to a new grant, NAMI now has a full-time position devoted to the intersection of mental illnesses and the criminal justice system. Work will be conducted related to Stepping Up initiatives, the large number of people deemed incompetent to stand trial and the juvenile justice system. NAMI is also viewed as the “go to” organization for the media with its executive director frequently interviewed on issues related to mental illnesses and the mental health system.
Goal 1: Ensure access to mental health education and support to people throughout Minnesota.
1. Increase access to support and education for people living with mental illness and their families.
2. Deepen focus on select populations including young adults transitioning between juvenile and adult systems and people in underrepresented communities in a culturally responsive way.
3. Build and enhance relationships and partnerships with organizations and community groups to make the best use of our resources in the fulfillment of NAMI Minnesota’s goals.
4. Raise public awareness and understanding of mental illnesses and mental health.
Goal 2: Advocate for policies and structures that contribute to building an equitable and effective mental health system.
1. Continue to provide critical leadership in establishing and maintaining strategic relationships, forming collaborations, convening critical stakeholders, and building consensus to address important mental health issues.
2. Design and seek increased collaborative practices with affiliates in Greater Minnesota to connect constituents with their policymakers and advocate on mental health issues.
3. Advocate for equitable responses to mental health disparities, ensuring that specific populations’ unique needs are met, and assist people with mental health needs through all phases of their lives.
Goal 3: Work with providers and professionals who touch the lives of people living with mental illnesses.
1. Collaborate with providers and professionals to ensure access to sound educational resources that promote understanding of person-centered, recovery-based mental health concepts and frameworks.
2. Educate and collaborate with providers and professionals to increase engagement with and to improve health outcomes of people living with mental illnesses.
3. Increase NAMI Minnesota's visibility in community mental health settings and hospitals through relationship building and marketing of educational materials to provide information and connect their clients and patients to NAMI Minnesota in a timely and convenient manner.
Goal 4: Ensure that all people living with mental illnesses in Minnesota have access to a NAMI Minnesota affiliate.
1. Strengthen affiliates’ capacity and ability to provide mental health education, support and advocacy.
2. Enhance collaboration and communication among affiliates in the Twin Cities metropolitan area to maximize visibility of affiliate resources and programming across affiliate boundaries.
3. Encourage strong relationships among affiliates and NAMI Minnesota to improve collaboration and the state organizations ability to support the affiliates.
4. Develop relationships with underrepresented communities to provide culturally sensitive mental health education and support.
Goal 5: Position NAMI Minnesota to continue to grow and endure for generations to come through strategic investments.
1. Expand the diversity of funding base, increase major gifts, and expand the number of individual donors.
2. Attract and retain highly qualified professionals who envision longer-term career growth within NAMI Minnesota
3. Continue to build effective board governance by enhancing the skills and diversity of board members.
Goal 6: Expand NAMI Minnesota’s ability and capacity to advance equity and diversity.
1. Infuse equity in all education, support, and advocacy efforts to reflect a commitment to diversity and inclusion.
2. Advance the use of equity in decision-making to advocate and address disparities in mental health programs and practices.
3. Challenge organizational and personal biases of staff, board of directors, and volunteers how they impact the work and decisions.
Community or Constituency Served
NAMI Minnesota serves children and adults with mental illnesses and their families and educates those who work with them such as mental health professionals, police, teachers, health care providers and the general public.
Geographic Area Served
The state of Minnesota