This weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the NAMI Colorado Annual Conference. Denver Health graciously hosted the event at the Rita Bass Trauma Center, which nicely accommodated the growing attendance. As always, the NAMI Colorado team worked tirelessly to make sure this event happened seamlessly. Many thanks to everyone there for their dedicated efforts for a successful outcome.
A highlight was the wonderful fellowship among affiliates and a great opportunity to share happenings within each community. It was a wonderful time to see friends, old and new, catching up with them and sharing synergies. This event is a great reminder of how we really are a family working together for a greater cause.
Like always, there was no shortage of education to be gained from this event. A sample of the informative programming to choose from was:
• Affiliate Development
• Public Policy
• In Our Own Voice Presentations
• Criminal Justice and Mental Health
The breakout session that I am thrilled to share about is the new presentation of a NAMI signature program, Ending the Silence. It is geared toward youth and presented in a multimedia format that incorporates video, presenter data and shared lived experiences. This blending of presentation styles keeps the program engaging and allows for Q & A at the end. The video clips shown were made by an initiative among California youth and feel relevant and relatable for the intended audience.
Two courageous presenters share their own personal experience with mental illness, as well as their journey to recovery. I found this open format to be informative, awareness inducing and stigma busting. A great introduction to mental health for teens, while also giving a deeper dive into available resources for those in crisis. It seems to incite healthy dialogue, getting teens to talk more openly and hopefully ask for help when in need. I think we can all agree a lot more of this healthy dialogue is needed in the mental health awareness fight.
Currently, Ending the Silence is being offered through NAMI Colorado. If you feel like you have a youth group that could benefit from this program, please call (303) 321-3104 to schedule. Furthermore, if you know of a youth presenter 18-30 who might benefit from sharing their shorty, please let NAMI Colorado know. A short training for this powerful program could get someone on the road to making a difference through their voice and story.
Overall, this was an exceptional and informative event. If you missed out, plan to attend next year, you will not be disappointed. In the meantime, thanks to everyone for their continued support and promotion of the education, support and outreach at NAMI Arapahoe/Douglas Counties. Let’s continue in the good fight of mental health awareness and stigma busting!