NAMI Minnesota champions justice, dignity, and respect for all people affected by mental illnesses. Through education, support, and advocacy we strive to eliminate the pervasive stigma of mental illnesses, effect positive changes in the mental health system, and increase the public and professional understanding of mental illnesses.
Impact and Programs
NAMI Minnesota provided education across the state of Minnesota reaching more than 24,000 people and reaching over 160,000 through all of its programs.
In fiscal year 2017, NAMI offered 74 classes to 748 family members. Eight different classes provide information on adult and children’s mental health issues and range from a two-hour class to a 12-week class. The classes provide information on mental illnesses, the brain, crisis planning and how to help a loved one, including a child. NAMI runs two projects in Dakota and Scott counties where parents’ nights and other classes are held. Evaluations of the programs consistently demonstrate that over 90% of the attendees were satisfied with the class, would recommend it to others and that the classes increased their knowledge and feeling of connectedness to others and that they feel better able to advocate for and help their loved ones.
Educating professionals is equally important. NAMI offers two online trainings for health care professionals on the importance of involving families and de-escalation. A class on how to help people with serious mental illnesses quit smoking was offered 10 times to 166 mental health professionals. NAMI also has programs for people who work with older adults. The older adult class was offered 45 times reaching, 1,612 people who work with older adults.
Changing public attitudes towards mental illnesses and increasing the public’s mental health literacy are equally important. NAMI offers In Our Own Voice, a story of recovery, collaborates on the Make it Ok campaign and has a speakers’ bureau. These three programs reached over 4,800 people. Mental Health First Aid (four different versions) was taught 45 times reaching close to 1,000 people. Ending the Silence, which educates middle and high school students, was taught 84 times to 3,462 students. Other presentations are to specific audiences such as employers where we reached 718 people through 18 companies, 135 African Americans through a basic mental health 101 class to begin the conversation and 528 attended a Get to Know NAMI program.
Suicide prevention has become a high priority for NAMI Minnesota. Six different classes are offered, including Means Restriction Education, QPR, safeTALK, ASIST, survivor voices and postvention. NAMI reached over 3,000 people throughout the state. Lockboxes are given to crisis teams, emergency departments and schools to distribute to parents to help keep their children safe.
To provide peer support to individuals living with a mental illness and their families, NAMI offered 76 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, young adults with mental illnesses, and people who identify as LGBTQ. To address barriers to accessing the groups such as transportation, two web-based support groups were launched this year. The increasing concerns over co-occurring disorders – mental illnesses and substance use disorders – led to the development of two co-occurring support groups in collaboration with HCMC.
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 100 booths a year, including the Minnesota State Fair, further broadening the impact we have as an agency. 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.
The two websites (regular and youth) were visited by 110,000 unique visitors. Several e-newsletters are published every month with over 15,000 subscribers. NAMI has a strong presence on social media with 6,706 Facebook friends and 5,645 Twitter followers. Over 4,100 people contacted the helpline for assistance in navigating the mental health system or looking for information on how to help a loved one. NAMI Minnesota’s booklets on developing a crisis plan for children were translated into Somali and Hmong.
To celebrate NAMI Minnesota’s 40th Anniversary several actions were taken. The executive director embarked on a 40 city tour last fall providing information on the history of the mental health movement, how the mental health system is not broken but is being built and the importance of their voices in creating change. She took time to also hear the concerns of the community. The attached map shows the cities that she visited, meeting with over 1,000 people. Podcasts were also taped with interviews of founders and leaders in NAMI’s movement and a video was produced outlining the history, which is now available on YouTube.
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.
Community or Constituency Served
Children and adults with mental illnesses and their families.
Geographic Area Served