NAMI Mercer to Observe Mental Illness Awareness Week
NAMI Mercer will host uplifting and enlightening events to educate the public and those affected by mental illness.
Editor's Note: The following is a news release issued by the Mercer County, N.J. affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
MERCER COUNTY, N.J.--NAMI Mercer NJ, an affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, will kick off Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) by hosting its fourth annual Harvest of Hope Wellness Conference on Saturday, Oct. 6 from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm at the Presbyterian Church of Lawrenceville. Throughout the observance period from Oct. 7 to Oct. 13, NAMI Mercer will conduct educational and anti-stigma activities around the county.
In 1990, the U.S. Congress designated the first full week of October as MIAW. Since then, all levels of NAMI—national, state and local—have intensified their outreach efforts during this time. In Mercer County this year, more than 80 churches and synagogues will observe MIAW by offering special prayers for persons affected by mental illness.
More about the Harvest of Hope Conference
This annual education event, funded in part by the Bunbury Foundation, is open to individuals and families affected by mental illness as well as the general public. The focus this year is “Empowering Your Mind, Body, and Spirit.” Randye Kaye will deliver the keynote address: “The SEARCH for Hope.” She is a national voice talent, actress, part-time newscaster, and classical music host on National Public Radio. Author of the riveting memoir, Ben Behind His Voices: One Family’s Journey from the Chaos of Schizophrenia to Hope, Randye describes her son’s illness and recovery and how it affected her family.
The conference then will offer attendees a choice of concurrent wellness workshops, with one session in the morning and another during the afternoon. The $10 registration fee includes breakfast and lunch. Although membership in NAMI Mercer is not required, there is an incentive price of $35 to join now and attend the conference.
Workshops will provide a variety of interactive and hands-on wellness experiences. Topics include a medication update, art therapy, physical fitness, poetry writing, inter- family communications, metabolic syndrome, music therapy, holistic medicine, wellness coaching, and brain health. The closing activity will be an energizing group drumming experience led by Sheila Riley-Massa, a music therapist at Capital Health Regional Medical Center.
NAMI Mercer events during Mental Illness Awareness Week:
Tuesday, Oct. 9, 12:30 to 1:30 pm
NAMI Mercer and the Princeton Theological Seminary (PTS) Office of Student Counseling will co-facilitate a panel discussion among persons affected by mental illness, their family members, and area clergy who have found ways to be inclusive in their ministries. The public is invited to participate in this community conversation in the Mackay Campus Center, PTS, 64 Mercer Street in Princeton.
Wednesday, Oct. 10, 5:00 to 6:30 pm
NAMI Mercer will present “In Our Own Voice (IOOV)” at the Lawrence Public Library, 2751 Brunswick Pike (Route 1), at the corner of Darrah Lane in Lawrenceville. IOOV is a unique public education program, developed by NAMI, in which two trained volunteers share compelling personal stories about living with mental illness and achieving recovery. This presentation is open to the public.
Friday, Oct. 12, 1:00 to 3:00 pm
Three NAMI Mercer family members will speak about their own experiences with stigma at a public forum sponsored by the Governor’s Council on Mental Health Stigma. The public is invited to this forum at Trenton Psychiatric Hospital, 301 Sullivan Way in Trenton. A tour of the facility will follow.
For more information, go to www.namimercer.org or call 609-799-8994.