NAMIWalks raises mental health awareness as struggles high amid pandemic, leaders say

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – NAMI Dane County is walking for mental health awareness during a…

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – NAMI Dane County is walking for mental health awareness during a time when leaders say their services are needed more than ever.

Saturday, chapters around the nation invited participants to walk “Your Way”– 3,500 steps wherever they are and connect virtually.

“Right now, because of coronavirus, our services are even more important,” executive director Anna Moffit said. “So many folks are struggling with the pandemic and its impact on their mental health.”

Moffit and other leaders collected donations at a drive-thru near Olin-Turville Park. With a goal of raising $200,000, Moffit explained that the funds would go to the chapter’s advocacy and support work.

“It’s important for me to support organizations that align with my beliefs in promoting mental health and wellness,” said Anna Melville, who raised money with the Madison West High School team. “With COVID, it’s more important than ever with increased stress, uncertainty and isolation. I think we need to try harder and just do whatever we can to support individuals that are struggling with mental health problems.”



a car parked on the side of a road: A car, decorated in support of NAMIWalks, drives by the event in Madison.


© Provided by Madison WMTV
A car, decorated in support of NAMIWalks, drives by the event in Madison.

The national movement started in Dane County 1977. Nancy Abraham, one of the founding members, said, that the pandemic has already raised awareness and increased use of words such as “mental health,” “suicide” and “need for support.” She continued, “I do think that for all of the horrendousness of the pandemic, at least for now, people have become or have had their eyes opened to the incredible need for assistance, for care, for research into what we call the brain disorders of serious and persistent mental illness, as well as general overall mental health.”

Abraham was joined by her son Dylan, who has worked with NAMI for more than 30 years.

“When I began to be involved with NAMI, it was no coincidence that my mental health got better. I got more confidence. I was able to do more,” he said.

NBC15 is a media sponsor of the event.

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