6th Annual NAMI Austin Walk on October 8th Seeks to Raise $200,000

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NAMI Austin today announced information about its 6th annual NAMIWalks, set for Saturday, October 8, 2011. NAMIWalks is the nation’s leading 5K Walk to promote better public awareness of mental illnesses, fight stigma and raise funds for NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

NAMI Austin today announced information about its 6th annual NAMIWalks, set for Saturday, October 8, 2011. NAMIWalks is the nation’s leading 5K Walk to promote better public awareness of mental illnesses, fight stigma and raise funds for NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. The Austin 5K Walk starts at the corner of W. Riverside Drive and S. 1st Street, proceeding north on Congress and around the Capitol. Live music and onsite registration begin at 8:00 a.m. There is no charge to participate.

“We welcome everyone to join us for a great day of community fun and enthusiastic support for this important cause. Mental illness touches one in four adults and one in five children. The Walk makes it possible for NAMI Austin to offer NAMI education and support free to individuals and to their families when it matters most. Donations in any amount further these great volunteer-run programs,” said Adrienne Kennedy, NAMI Austin President.

Mental illnesses affect people regardless of age, race, religion or socioeconomic status. The National Institute on Mental Health estimates that 1 in 4 adults – about 57.7 million Americans – are in need of some form of mental health care during a given year.

Even though mental disorders are widespread in the population, the main burden of illness is concentrated in a much smaller population – 1 in 17, or about 6 percent of adults, live with serious mental illnesses such as major depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. In addition, about 1 in 10 children live with a serious mental or emotional disorder.

One-half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14, three-quarters by age 24. Despite effective treatments, there are long delays – sometimes decades – between the first onset of symptoms and when people seek and receive treatment.

Since many psychiatric hospitals were closed in the 1970s, many people affected by serious mental illnesses were left to fend for themselves. Without adequate treatment and supportive care, those people hit revolving doors of arrests and incarcerations. County jails across the country now house the largest populations of people with mental illnesses. Rather than treatment, repeating rounds of incarceration has become the new norm for many confronted with serious mental illness.

“We are here today to shine a light on Mental Illness. To show everyone that it is an illness that needs to be treated in a hospital, not a jail,” says Travis County Sheriff Greg Hamilton, 2011 Honorary Walk Co-Chair.

“As presiding Judge of Travis County’s first mental health docket, I hear both offender and family stories daily. Imprisonment for minor offenses does not cure mental illness,” says Judge Nancy Hohengarten, 2011 Honorary Walk Co-Chair. “I support the NAMI Walk because NAMI offers education, support and advocacy for individuals and families struggling to cope with mental illness daily.”

One NAMI mother says “Recovery is real! Recovery happens when appropriate treatment and support systems are available. NAMI Austin can help. The NAMI Austin Walk raises money to fund NAMI's education, support and advocacy programs offered free of charge to the Austin community.”

“NAMI not only supports the individual living with a mental illness, but the entire family as well with support, education and resources. It is amazing,” says Anne Pritchard Grady, captain of the Little Rascals walk team. “It’s hard enough having to go through this. NAMI’s support has been invaluable. I’m so grateful for all they’ve done for me and my family.”

Family Team Chair Bob Posey says, “We have been so blessed by NAMI and the Walk itself. Estrella and I started our Walk team four years ago after NAMI helped us deal with the impact of mental illness on our family. We found that by participating and sharing our journey, NAMI became our family too. Please support NAMI Austin with your donations and your feet! It will enrich your life and the lives around you.”

NAMI Austin Walk Sponsors
Cenpatico proudly supports the NAMI Austin Walk as a presenting sponsor, along with over 35 corporate and individual sponsors including FOX 7 Austin, Austin State Hospital and Seton Shoal Creek Hospital.

Additional sponsors include AstraZeneca, Austin Lakes Hospital, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Community Clinical Research, Myriad RBM Inc, RunTex, St. David’s Foundation, Austin State Hospital Volunteer Services Council, Janssen, Kelly Personal Training, LCRA Employees’ United Charities, Picture Perfect Cooperative Living, The Austin Chronicle, Austin Travis County Integral Care, Communities for Recovery, Core Health Care, FutureSearch Trials, Goodwill Industries of Central Texas, Lilly, Westlake Eye Specialists and others.

About NAMI
For three decades, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has established itself as the most formidable grassroots mental health advocacy organization in the country. NAMI’s support and public education efforts are focused on educating America about mental illness, offering resources to those in need, and insisting that mental illness become a high national priority.

For more information about the NAMI Austin Walk on Saturday, October 8, 2011, visit http://www.nami.org/namiwalks/TX/Austin. To learn more about NAMI Austin and their education and support programs, visit http://www.namiaustin.org.

NAMI Austin is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Taxpayer ID number 74-2374858.

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Adrienne Kennedy
NAMI Austin
(512) 420-9810
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