San Diego Sheriff to Chair NAMI Walk on April 18

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Sheriff Bill Kolender will be the Honorary Chair for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI San Diego) 5K WALK in Balboa Park on April 18, 2009. NAMI San Diego is our County's own voice on mental illness and with your support of this walk it will enable the organization to be there for so many who need them.

Sheriff Bill Kolender will be the Honorary Chair for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI San Diego) 5K WALK in Balboa Park on April 18, 2009.

Sheriff Bill Kolender has been a long-time advocate on behalf of those suffering from mental illness. Under his leadership, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department provides a comprehensive mental health service for mentally ill persons who have been arrested. Sheriff Kolender supports efforts to provide alternatives to jail whenever possible and is supportive of community mental health programs.

"We are thrilled to have Sheriff Kolender as our NAMI WALK Chair this year," said NAMI San Diego County Walk Manager and Communications Director, Shannon Jaccard. "His involvement represents the dedication of our law enforcement agencies to help those with mental illness and their families. The Sheriff's Department's mission seems very much in line with NAMI San Diego's mission to support, educate and advocate for those who are affected by mental illness, which, in reality is every one of us in one way or another."

In our nation, one in five people will suffer from a serious mental illness in their lifetime. "It is a disease that isn't readily talked about and is, therefore, often overlooked. But we cannot afford to ignore it any longer, not when our people are losing their jobs, homes and insurance benefits resulting in rising depression and other stress-related mental situations," said Jaccard.

Last year's NAMI walkers helped raise financial support to augment NAMI San Diego County's family, teen and corporate outreach services and programs. These include support groups, educational classes, newsletters, and the helpline. With the recession deepening, mental illness symptoms are on the rise and the no-cost services of NAMI San Diego are needed more than ever before. The NAMI WALK is the organization's biggest fundraiser and the goal for the 2009 walk is 3,000 walkers, 100 teams and $250,000 raised for programs geared towards servicing the San Diego community.

You can walk as an individual, join an existing team or form your own team (highly recommended for groups like families, co-workers, schoolmates) and show your NAMI spirit by raising money as a group and even creating team T-shirts.

Although the walk will not be held until Saturday, April 18, 2009, the time to register is now. There is no fee to register for the walk. NAMI in San Diego County simply asks that you raise money for it through sponsorships and donations. To register online, please visit http://www.namiwalksandiego.org. For offline help, call NAMI San Diego at (619) 584-5564.

"NAMI San Diego is our County's own voice on mental illness and with your support of this walk it will enable the organization to be there for so many who need them," said Jaccard.

Contact:
Shannon Jaccard, M.B.A.
Communications Director
NAMI San Diego County Walk Manager
(619) 584-5564 x311
http://www.namiwalksandiego.org

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