By Mary Giliberti, J.D.
I recently came across a quote from a Robert Louis Stevenson play: “Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant.” Well, NAMI family, as we head into this season of harvest and celebration, I look back at the past year with such gratitude for all you have done to plants seeds for a brighter future.
NAMI’s advocacy is shaped by our nonpartisan grassroots members who use their voices on behalf of those who live with mental illness. You can read about the heartbreak of Cindy and Don Gibbons, whose son Alex was failed by a broken mental health system. We must answer their call for action and demand change.
Even now, when it seems like there is a constant threat to the already flawed mental health system, our advocates’ strength and support gives me tremendous hope. Our advocates—all of you—work tirelessly to protect programs like Medicaid, the backbone of services for people, like Alex, who experience the most serious mental illnesses. Thousands of you contacted your elected officials through calls and emails, visits to Congressional offices and town halls. You shared personal stories and demanded no cuts to mental health care. You planted the seeds of progress.
One of the most promising seeds that NAMI is planting is the continued collaboration with brilliant neuroscientists to advance mental health treatment through research. On Sept. 27, along with the Broad Institute in Boston, NAMI facilitated a summit on advancements in neuroscience research that are paving the way for better diagnosis and treatment of the most serious mental health conditions. And later this year, we will give our annual Inspiring Hope Through Research award to Dr. Sophia Vinogradov for her work in the early intervention of schizophrenia in adolescents and young adults.
As we give thanks and celebrate another year full of accomplishments, I ask for your continued support to plant seeds for a future where all people affected by a mental health condition experience resiliency, recovery and hope. Your support helps NAMI advocate for better care and research, provide education and support programs, and continue to be a place of hope. Every phone call to the NAMI HelpLine, and every step taken at NAMIWalks plants a seed.
NAMI is made up of passionate and compassionate people who believe in our vision for the future. I am so grateful for your continued support as we forge ahead into a new year with new challenges and opportunities. I hope I can rely on your support not only as we plant seeds of change, progress and hope, but also as we reap our harvest.
Mary Giliberti is CEO of NAMI.
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