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NAMI Advocate e-newsletter, December 2006

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Dear Friend of NAMI,

Happy Holidays! In this final issue of the NAMI Advocate e-newsletter for the year, we take a look back at how the NAMI movement has been on the move in 2006. We also list the best books and movies of 2006, provide tips on coping with schizophrenia, report on a new National Anti-Stigma Campaign, remember Bebe Moore Campbell, and more.

NAMI & You Made a Difference in 2006

It was through the dedicated financial support of friends like you that NAMI was able to make significant accomplishments on behalf of people with serious mental illness in 2006, and for that we say thank you.

Here are just a few highlights of what people like you made possible:

• NAMI Grades the States
In March, NAMI released the first comprehensive state-by-state report on the state of America's mental healthcare system for serious mental illness. The U.S. earned a "D" overall for its mental health care system, but the report also found examples of innovative programs in virtually every state. More than anything, this report illustrated the tragic gap between what could be and what is. Learn more....

• NAMI leads the way in Stigma Busting
A front-page story in the The Chicago Tribune brought national attention to NAMI StigmaBuster protests of Halloween stigma in Illinois, Ohio, and Tennessee. Coverage then expanded to CBS Radio, and other media. Also complaints to ABC-TV and the FOX-TV by StigmaBusters are believed to have contributed to network decisions to cancel the heavily stigmatizing comedy Crumbs and the reality show Unanimous. Learn more....

• NAMI educates and supports thousands
NAMI's family and consumer peer education programs continued to reach a large and growing audience in 2006. Family-to-Family counted 13,000 graduates this year alone; the Peer-to-Peer Recovery Course has graduated 3,500 consumer participants to date; In Our Own Voice is reaching a yearly audience of 12,000, and the Provide Education Program is conducting 50-60 classes per year to over 1,500 providers working in the mental health system. Learn more....

• NAMI convenes its first Multicultural Strategic Summit
Several organizations and more than 300 advocates participated in this Summit during NAMI's 2006 Annual Convention and helped draft a national action plan to eliminate disparities in mental health for racial/ethnic communities. Learn more....

• NAMIWALKS across America
Over 55,000 people walked this year in 59 sites around the country to raise awareness and funds through the NAMIWALKS program. Over $5.5 million was given by individuals and the business community, to benefit 200 NAMI affiliates. Lace up those walking shoes and get ready to join us in even more cities in 2007. Learn more....

• NAMI grows NAMI FaithNet
NAMI expanded its support for the faith community in 2006 by assuming responsibility for the NAMI FaithNet Web site and e-mail newsletter. Learn more....

• celebrates 10 years
NAMI launched its first site in 1996, when the Web was still in its infancy. Today at NAMI, the Web is important not only as a way to provide information and support but also as a way for the thousands who visit each day to take action and make a difference in the lives of people affected by serious mental illness.

If you have never made a financial contribution in support of NAMI's work, or have not done so this year, we hope that you will take the opportunity to do so now. 2007 will provide many more opportunities for NAMI to continue to lead the way in support, education, and advocacy. But we cannot do it without your help. Make a donation today!

Best Books and Movies of 2006

Best of 2006The end of the year typically signals the announcement of many annual "best" and "worst" lists. So in that spirit, we have compiled our second annual "best of" list of some of the best books and movies of 2006.

This year's list includes a novel, a comic strip, a true crime story, a movie starring two Oscar winners, and more. Indeed, 2006 provided an array of positive portrayals of the issues related to mental illness. Read more...

National Anti-Stigma Campaign Launched

Anti-stigma CampaignOn Monday, December 4, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and the Ad Council launched the National Anti Stigma Campaign, releasing a national survey of public attitudes on stigma and unveiling free multimedia public service announcements (PSAs).

For the first time in history, the authority of the federal government is being put behind a sustained national PSA campaign to reduce stigma and encourage support of people with mental illnesses. It is also the first time that the tremendous leverage of the Ad Council--the folks who created Smokey the Bear--is being made available to the entire mental health community. These PSAs are specifically targeted to 18-25 year olds.

Download the PSAs and other resources at:

Coping with Schizophrenia: Don't Compare Yourself to Others

Robin CunninghamNAMI partners with to bring you relevant information from their Web site. The following is a blog entry by Robin Cunningham from's schizophrenia site.

Individuals with schizophrenia respond differently to various medications available for the treatment of this brain disease. And they may respond differently to the same medications at different points during their illness. No medication works for all patients and at all times, i.e. there is no "silver bullet."

Coping mechanisms are much the same. The coping mechanisms I will share with you in this and future blogs will be those that have had the greatest impact on my quality of life over the long term. Read more...

Depression Is Real

Depression Is RealFrustrated and concerned by popular misconceptions that trivialize depression as "just the blues" or dismiss it entirely as an "imaginary disease," seven prominent physician, patient and civic nonprofit organizations have joined together to launch a public education campaign to tell Americans the truth about depression. Read more... Gives Advocates New Place to Dig In

HotSoup.comDo you want to spread the word about mental health? Do you like to educate others about mental illness? Do you enjoy spirited debates about hot topics? If so, NAMI has the place for you. Pull up a chair and dig into Read more...

In Memoriam: Thank You, Bebe Moore Campbell

NAMI Book ShelfNAMI mourns the passing of Bebe Moore Campbell, the best-selling author who shared great insight and compassion in writing about individuals and families confronting social issues, including mental illness.

She has been considered one of the most important African American novelists of the 20th century for works such as Brothers and Sisters (1994) and What You Owe Me (2001). But she also was more. For NAMI, she truly has been part of the family.

Bebe was trained as a teacher in NAMI’s Family-to-Family education program, as a member of our NAMI Urban Los Angeles affiliate. She attended NAMI conventions and conferences. She was a national spokesperson for us, speaking out against the stigma that often surrounds mental illness, and promoting treatment and family education.

Because of her commitment, NAMI’s name and voice was heard in countless newspaper, radio and television interviews, touching millions of Americans.

NAMI Book ShelfIn 2003, Bebe received NAMI’s Outstanding Media Award for Literature for the book Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry, written especially for children, about a young girl who learns how to cope with her mother’s bipolar illness. In 2005, her novel 72-Hour Hold focused on an adult daughter and a family’s experience with the onset of mental illness. It helped educate Americans that the struggle often is not just with the illness, but with the healthcare system as well.

Bebe spoke from experience. She spoke from the heart. She spoke for NAMI. We are grateful for all that she shared.

NAMI: 2107 Wilson Blvd. Suite 300, Arlington, VA 22201


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