It’s always nice when we have an opportunity to work with an organization whose mission hits close to home. The National Alliance on Mental Illness Virginia (NAMI Virginia) is focused on improving “the quality of life of Virginians with serious mental illness through support, education and advocacy.” It’s a big mission for a health issue whose big footprint is too often invisible.
I encountered mental illness in a visible way as a college student at Virginia Commonwealth University. Learning to understand and support – in a useful and caring way – several people who were central to my life at the time who suffered from mental illness proved to be one of the hardest, and important, growth steps in my young life. Lacking resources, I fumbled my way through these relationships – often doing as much harm as good, despite the love I felt for my friends.
As an adult, I understand so much more – but there is still much to learn. In my work with Floricane, I have opportunities to support and engage people from all walks of life, facing a variety of challenging circumstances.
Poverty, sexual violence, literacy, fragmented communities – in their own way, each organization we support addresses big, often frightening, issues. I’m not so sure that mental illness doesn’t remain the most hidden of them all.
Regardless, it’s an important issue for all of us. And we’re excited to be partnering with NAMI Virginia as they explore the ways in which they can strategically strengthen and focus their work.