You are invited! This Saturday NAMI Boise (National Alliance on Mental Illness) will hold its annual fundraiser, NAMI Walks. The walk will be held Saturday morning on the Greenbelt behind Albertsons headquarters at 250 E. ParkCenter Blvd., Boise. Check-in begins at 9 a.m. and we will start walking at 10 a.m. There will be 1K, 3K and 5K distances marked off for all ability levels. You can register online at namiwalks.org/Boise or at the walk site that morning. There is no registration fee.
We walk because there is hope hope for recovery and living a successful life while living with a mental illness. Like diabetes or asthma, mental illness is a disease that can be hereditary and has nothing to do with a persons character. Did you know that 60 percent of people treated for schizophrenia improve? That the success rate for treating bipolar disorder is 80 percent and for major depression it is 65 percent? Did you also know that in comparison, only 41 percent of patients treated for heart disease show improvement?
In America, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, one in four adults (approximately 57.7 million) experiences a mental health disorder in a given year, and about one in 10 children has a serious mental or emotional disorder (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services).
Need another reason or two to walk with us? Of Idahos approximately 1.5 million residents, it is estimated that 54,000 to 84,000 adults live with serious mental illness and about 18,000 children live with serious mental health conditions. In 2009, 307 Idahoans died by suicide (Idaho Department of Health and Welfare). Suicide is almost always the result of untreated or undertreated mental illness. During the 2006-07 school year, approximately 47 percent of Idaho students aged 14 and older living with serious mental health conditions who receive special education services dropped out of high school (NAMI National).
NAMI Boise is a non-profit organization whose mission is to change minds around the issue of mental illness. We do this by educating the public about mental illness, advocating for the rights of those who live with mental illness, and supporting individuals whose lives have been affected by mental illness, including those living with the disease, as well as their family and friends. We are a volunteer organization with one paid staff person. This allows the majority of the dollars raised to go toward offering programs to the community. NAMI Boises programs include family-to-family, peer-to-peer, family support groups, In Our Own Voice, Connections Recovery support groups, and our teen education program.
NAMI Boise welcomes everyone to join us and our many sponsors this Saturday for the walk and a post-walk barbecue. We wish to thank our sponsors: Aetna Behavioral Health, Albertsons, Automotive Artistry, Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health, Business Psychology Associates, Idaho Mental Health Counselors Association, Intermountain Hospital, Janssen, Lilly USA, Megellan, Moxie Java, Optum, Pfizer, Phrma, Pioneer Health, Roseanne Hardin, Sage Healthcare, Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center, Senior Health Insurance Benefit Advisors, Shus Running Co., Simplot, Speedy Foundation, Sysco, The Riverside Hotel, United Dairymen, Wal-Mart, and a private donor.
Show that you, too, care about your neighbors and the Treasure Valley and walk to change minds. It only takes one step at a time.
Stephanie Hoffman, Ph.D., is a member of the board of directors of NAMI Boise.