Walking your way: NAMI hosting virtual walk for mental health this weekend

MARQUETTE — There’s never a bad time to think about your mental health: Where it stands, how you can improve it, and where to go for help if you need it.

This Saturday, the National Alliance on Mental Illness wants you to know that you’re not alone. NAMI’s national organization, along with its more than 600 local affiliates across the country, will be hosting a virtual walk in support of mental health awareness.

NAMI’s Alger/Marquette counties chapter is one of the affiliates participating in the virtual event, dubbed “NAMIWalks Your Way: A United Day of Hope.”

“Last year, we saw light at the end of the tunnel — which grew closer through the first half of 2021 — and we kept walking toward it, often virtually,” NAMI officials said in a news release. “Let’s keep the momentum going this fall as we unite across the country to celebrate Mental Health for All.”

NAMI Alger/Marquette will be participating under the regional portion of the walk titled “NAMIWalks Your Way Northern Michigan.” NAMI’s statewide organization, NAMI Michigan, is hoping to raise $20,000 in the northern Michigan initiative. As of Tuesday morning, $995 has been raised, according to the NAMIWalks website. Nationally, local chapters have raised a combined $11.8 million.

This year’s theme is Mental Health for All, and NAMI is encouraging everyone to participate in any way they’d like. Suggested activities include:

≤ Walking a 5K around the block, at a park, or on your treadmill;

≤ Planning a craft day with your kids;

≤ Holding a bake sale and letting friends decide what you bake for a donation;

≤ Practicing self-care with a favorite hobby such as yoga, gardening or knitting;

≤ Dusting off the stationary bike or elliptical and going 3.1 miles;

≤ Posting a Sign of Hope on social media (signs can be downloaded at bit.ly/3AcTpYa).

“On the day of the event, NAMIWalks participants, mental health advocates, and NAMI partners will step up our strength and energy even further,” the news release stated. “There are thousands of ways to reach a goal — and every one is yours. Together with you, NAMIWalks remains one of the top mental health walk series in the country.”

Despite the walk being virtual for the second straight year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers are confident that their fundraising goal will be achieved.

“Mental Health for All — and Always,” the news release stated. “We have been encouraged through the last 18 months to discover our participants’ remarkable resilience. Whatever regulations are in place for event day, our NAMIWalks community consistently finds a way to reach their goal– nothing could mask their enthusiasm.

“Even if you’re isolated geographically, we’ll be united in our hearts. Depending on the local programming on Oct. 9, you can walk the walk with us or participate in inspirational, engaging livestreams with other like-minded crusaders.”

Event registration is free and participants are encouraged to share photos and videos of their activity on social media with the link to your walk’s fundraising page and the hashtag #NotAlone.

Those who raise at least $100, whether via self-donating or asking others, will receive a NAMIWalks Your Way 2021 T-shirt for their efforts.

To register for NAMIWalks Your Way Northern Michigan or to donate, visit bit.ly/3AfYOh7. To find out more about the national effort, visit www.namiwalks.org.

Locally, NAMI Alger/Marquette hosts virtual support groups twice a month via Zoom. If you’re battling mental health issues and are interested in receiving an invitation to a support group, contact NAMI Alger/Marquette President Cindy K. Bertucci at ckbertucci58@charter.net or 906-360-7107. Sessions are held on the second Monday and third Thursday of each month and are currently virtual due to the pandemic.

To find out more about NAMI’s national organization and NAMI Alger/Marquette, visit www.nami.org or www.namimqt.com.

If you’re battling mental health issues and are in search of help, the NAMI HelpLine is available from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. by dialing 800-950-6264 or by emailing info@nami.org.

If you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts and are in search of help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

Ryan Spitza can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248. His email address is rspitza@miningjournal.net.


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