The Kim Foundation was invited to attend the NAMI-Omaha Conference on October 20, 2012, and we were delighted to be among the over 100 people attending! The keynote speaker, Keris Jän Myrick, urged participants to become involved locally, to make a strong effort to impact policy and the changing of policy as it addresses mental health conditions in our home communities.
Ms. Myrick especially stressed the need for prevention and early intervention opportunities for young people, for members of our military, and for those struggling with addictions. Only people with “experience” can appreciate how vital prevention and early intervention can be, so she urged consumers/peers to develop their leadership skills, and become involved in what she called PARITY — helping children and adults receive the same kind of compassionate care for a mental health condition as they would for a physical health condition! She reminded us that when people are hospitalized for something physical, like appendicitis, they are receivers of reassurance, comforting pats, and gentle attentions and explanations, while those hospitalized for a mental health condition are usually locked in an isolation room for long periods of time, adding further to their fear and trauma.
Ms. Myrick was recently elected President of the Board of Directors for the NAMI-National organization; from this platform she asked the audience to “Do something meaningful”. She suggested that we turn “illness” into “wellness” by simply turning our “I” into “We” and that we develop strategies for working together for supporting the people in our community that will benefit from enhanced mental health care.
Ms. Myrick is employed as Executive Director of Project Return Peer Support Network in Pasadena, California, a network that provides symptom management advice and other services to over 3000 people in the Los Angeles community.
It was another outstanding conference for NAMI-Omaha — thanks for inviting us to share in this special day and thank you for the service you provide to your home community!