NAMI Hawaii fights the stigma of mental illness


The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.

NAMI Hawaii is the local chapter and provides various programs to residents faced with mental health challenges and their families.

“When they have a family member with a mental illness, we help them to get services. We help them to learn to communicate, so we provide all of these services free to the community. We have support groups for people living in recovery,” said NAMI Hawaii executive director Kumi MacDonald.

There are two upcoming community events where you can learn more about NAMI Hawaii.

First, NAMI Hawaii will be at Saturday’s Oktoberfest at Salt at our Kakaako. Volunteers will be sharing information about their mission and services. You can find them in front of Butterfly Ice Cream and Lonohana Chocolate shop.

“We’re encouraging people to stomp stigma by stepping on (a floor) cling, taking a selfie, sharing their mental health story onto Instagram or Facebook, just to get the word out there. It’s really important to share your story and talk more about mental health,” said volunteer Lisa Lindauer. Tag your social media posts #stigmafreehawaii.

Another upcoming event is NAMIWalks Hawaii, which will be held on Oct. 27 at Honolulu Hale. The goal of the walk is to raise financial support and awareness to break the stigma of mental illness.

Proceeds will be used by NAMI Hawaii to continue their services as well as expand their free programs including:

  • “Ending the Silence” presentations to youths on warning signs and steps toward help,
  • Provide support to people with mental illness and their families in rural communities,
  • Prevent homelessness through education, support, and advocacy for family caregivers, and
  • Advocate for nondiscriminatory and equitable policies at the federal, state, and local levels.

Click here for more information on NAMI Hawaii.

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