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NAMI Finger Lakes

e-NEWS September 12, 2022

At National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Finger Lakes affiliate, we provide advocacy, education and support for families, friends and caregivers

of people living with mental health conditions.

In this issue:

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In recognition of Suicide Prevention Month this webinar will recognize your role, as caregiver, in supporting your loved one and allow you to reflect on attitudes about suicide and how they might impact your support. Learn skills needed to balance trust and safety and discuss safety plans while we maintain ongoing and open communications about suicide.

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Ken Duckworth, MD, serves as the Chief Medical Officer with the National Alliance on Mental Illness is one of three presenters in this webinar series.  Dr. Duckworth’s journey into psychiatry started when he was a boy growing up with a dad who experienced severe bipolar disorder. His father was loving, kind and periodically quite ill, hospitalized for months at a time. Dr. Duckworth became a psychiatrist in part to help his father. He is very fortunate to serve as the Chief Medical Officer for NAMI and to be part of this remarkable community.

Dr. Duckworth is also writing NAMI’s first book, You Are Not Alone: The NAMI Guide to Mental Illness and Recovery. He is interviewing NAMI members about what has helped them in their mental health journeys in an effort to help other people living with mental illness. (This bio and webinar are funded by The National Institute for Health Care Management (NIHCM) Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to transforming health care through evidence and collaboration.

In Her Own Words.....One Mothers Reflection

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As some of you already know, and now anyone reading this will know, I lost my 30 year old son by suicide from Schizoaffective Disorder in August 2021.  Since this heart wrenching grief I have grown, changed, remained paralyzed, felt hope, felt sorrow and optimism. Add your own mix to the words and it probably fits.   

My message to readers come from very early statements shared with me after Matthew died.  One, by my psychiatrist and one of my sons best friends mother, who also lost her son.  "People need to know that even with optimum treatment, much like other medical conditions, we do have people who die from mental illness." My dear friend Ellen who said "Always remember you only know what you know when you know it." I hold on to both statements for personal grounding and sanity.  There is so much emphasis on "suicide prevention" with a heavy hand, in my opinion, placing responsibility for recognizing suicidal symptoms as if anyone attempting to help is responsible for the outcome creating further grief, guilt and trauma.  Humanity demands increased compassion for all, not only providing comfort/aid/shelter but quality medical care to our loved ones with brain illnesses.

Please know we can become more cognizant and aware; more proactive and compassionate; better providers; conduct research; demand systemic change but just like cancers some brain illnesses are sustainable and some are not.  I am committed, as is my husband, to advocacy, reform, education and support on a number of levels.  I owe it to the tenets of NAMI, and the people of NAMI Finger Lakes, NAMINYS for giving of themselves through this grassroots not for profit to advocate, heal and be well.  Donations in memory of my son and others,  along with support by joining NAMI are the lifeblood to continuing this "thing" we call NAMI. Consider contributions to NAMI, in whatever way suits your personal journey and mission; your NAMI Affiliate; or simply encouraging those you know to subscribe to our e-Newsletter. (Elisa Tobia, NAMI-FLNY New Board Member, May 2022)

"Huddle Together for Mental Health”

Starting this fall, NAMI FL will “Huddle Together for Mental Health” with head coach and board member David Archer and his Cornell Football team. This season long partnership is highlighted with a fundraising challenging from Visions Federal Credit Union. Visions will match dollar for dollar up to $5,000 all donations made to NAMI-FL during Cornell Football games. 

NAMI-FL will help spearhead Cornell Football’s participation in College Football Mental Health Awareness Week. This year the week is October 3-7 with a week of educational programs topped with a home game against Harvard. Watch for more details.

Simple grass roots chain reaction results in Virginia Spears, Friend of NAMI-FLNY, raising $325 for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention! Thank You Virginia for this effort and for all you do for NAMI-FL! 

Advocacy and Alliances in Your Community

One way to advocate for mental health services and response is to be informed of what's happening on the mental health front in our local communities. Attend the Community Mental Health Services Board meetings to learn about the important mental health concerns. Learn from the ground up what is happening in order to advocate, in the here and now, as well as contribute to the growing need to pressure change. It's up to us!

"Cortland County has many advisory boards that provide a valuable service to the residents of the County and County staff."

"The mission of the Tompkins County Mental Health Services Department is to meet the needs of the residents of Tompkins County in the areas of mental health, developmental disabilities, and chemical dependency by providing prevention and early detection, comprehensively planned care, treatment, and rehabilitation services."

You Are Not Alone
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