February’s Split-Plate Will Support Frederick County NAMI

NAMI, our country’s largest grassroots mental health organization, has a special association with UUCF. The Howes, long-time members of our congregation, worked with the National Alliance on Mental Illness from its early days and were founders of NAMI’s Frederick County chapter. Because NAMI is our February 19 split-plate recipient, I asked Gerry Blessing, a volunteer, to chat with me about what NAMI-Frederick County does. Gerry is a facilitator for support groups and feels these groups, along with Family-to-Family classes and other events and workshops, help participants realize they are not alone in the difficulties they face. “Everyone has a story that’s just about overwhelming, but we all say we wouldn’t trade places with anyone else.”

I hope my few words about NAMI here encourage you to contribute next Sunday, but see the very helpful website that details local NAMI activities, events, and training. Basically, NAMI assists people and families facing mental illness by providing the help an old-fashioned milk stool does, with each of its three legs representing a different area:

All families have issues; NAMI families learn ways to deal with them. Some of the advice Gerry mentioned include:

  • Understand there is no quick answer and the problem won’t go away.
  • Keep a record of interactions. “You forget the trail of hurts and conflicts that happened.” Often this record can be useful, from court documentation to seeing a pattern of behavior that might help a professional better understand how to help.
  • Learn more about Hippa laws that have changed advocacy issues.

Gerry also told me, “For us, the UUCF contribution is significant and goes directly, and only, to our local chapter.” Your offertory on February 19 will especially help NAMI-Frederick printing costs and also provide binders for workshop materials. “That’s big,” Gerry said. Please give generously!

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