National Alliance on Mental Illness

I have been asked a number of questions about my current volunteer activity. Below are the three most common questions and my answers. Feel free to ask any more and I will do my best to answer them. Thank you everyone for your interest. Maybe some of you would like to also get involved with NAMI, if so check out nami-boise.org.

What is your involvement with the National Alliance on Mental Illness?

I have been working with NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) now for six months. I have been trained to do public speaking on mental health advocacy, have attended one of their 11 week programs, attend board meetings and meet/communicate regularly with Paula Campbell, my NAMI mentor. In addition to these involvements I have developed and I am teaching a seven week emotional yoga program. The program is designed to teach people better stress coping and self care skills through yoga.

NAMI  has provided encouragement, direction, advice, office volunteer help and general mentoring. This endeavor has been quite absorbing and exhausting at times, but has been very positive. NAMI has been a great agency to work with.  It is my hope that I learn the ‘ins-and-outs’ of working within a large non-profit and get a better idea of where I would like to focus my energy upon my graduation from BSU and Shanti Yoga School 500 hour program.

Do you have any hesitations about working with people with mental illness?

In the beginning I was concerned about the effect that the clientele might have on my emotional health. I am not doing counseling, but a lot of people share their stories and challenges. I was concerned that it might contribute to my own struggles with mental illness. My bi-polar can sometimes make it extra challenging to handle emotional stress. I was unsure about my ability to stay strong in the support role and provide a sense of safety and security for those opening up. Luckily, I have found it less draining than I anticipated and a lot more rewarding. It is exhilarating to be able to help someone make a difference in their life and grasp a little more happiness.

How do you do so much and stay healthy?

I find that it is very important to have strong boundaries and be willing to say ‘no’ when you are feeling overwhelmed. It is important to not take on more responsibilities than you can handle. I know that if I am not healthy I will not be able to continue to help. The key to sustainable activism is to make your well-being as important as those you are helping!

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Published in: on September 27, 2010 at 7:42 pm  Leave a Comment  
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