It's the third year since I have been encouraging and inviting my students at PSU to participate in the NAMI Walk (National Alliance on Mental Illness). This year it will be held on on Sunday, May 15th at 12 noon , at the East-bank Esplanade, near the OMSI museum, in downtown Portland.
This event it is for a great cause. The work NAMI does is very important to our communities, and it has enhanced the courses I have taught at PSU!
Specifically, NAMI has come to some of my classes, and presented their panel & media production of "In Our Own Voice". The purpose of inviting NAMI to my psychology classes at PSU is to educate on the subject of Mental Illness, and to demonstrate that people with mental health issues are distinct individuals whose lives have been interrupted by an illness (that can vary greatly from one person to another both in character and in degree). Also, there is a huge stigma on mental health illness which has contributed to misinformation and negative stereotypes. NAMI presents a message of hope, in which early diagnosis and treatment is essential for successful outcomes. Mental Illness is very common, but also treatable.
Unfortunately, I have not been able to acquire the modest stipend funds for the NAMI presenters at PSU (no guest speaker funds for adjunct lecturers). So, participating in the NAMI walk is a great way to show my appreciation as to what they have offered my students at PSU. I am volunteering my time and energy as a tribute to the past NAMI presenters of Clackamas county.
In addition, I want to share with you a thoughtfully written message a former PSU student wrote following the NAMI "In Our Voice Presentation". Hopefully, it will elucidate, in an engaging way, what a student received from the NAMI presentation.
I am in your MWF morning class and today we had the privilege to hear from the guest speakers from NAMI. It was a surprise to us students, and I have to say, it made my day! Even at 9:45pm I am sitting here reflecting on it and clicking around the NAMI website.
I don't think that the form we filled out at the end of the presentation was adequate in saying how great, informative and eye opening the presentation was. Between today's presentation and the previous one, I get so interested and directed in topics of interest which give me lots to think about. This is especially important, as it's my senior year at PSU, and I am developing a major interest in married, committed couples and PTSD.
Specifically, when it comes to communication between partners, when one is suffering/recovering from PTSD and the other is not. I would like to research and develop skills as to ways these couples can improve understanding and communication within the relationship.
With all that rambling being said. . . driving home with my partner, and talking about the presentations, and my interests, he makes a comment. He notes how excited and happy I am. . . I must be to be (finally) learning about things I am passionate about. The last few years I've been working towards finding some focus and to improve my understanding of such things. I am so excited to find my passion! Just felt I had to emphasize how much the presentation meant to me, and to not only thank the wonderful people of NAMI today, but also thank you for bringing them to the class and allowing education to be so meaningful over just reading texts and echoing the information.
Hope you enjoyed reading the students comments. Thank you for your time and thoughts. Please consider supporting the NAMI walk, it is a great community event, and a good opportunity to get some exercise!
All the best,