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Help stomp out stigma at the NAMI Walk

Join us in raising awareness about mental health

“I’m a 26-year-old business woman. Many are likely to refer to me as smart, kind, ambitious and lucky. However, I’ve struggled with depression since I was a teenager. I often try to hide it to protect my loved ones from stress. And to protect myself from the idea that I might lose them if I reveal neurotic patterns. In the past week, I’ve finally considered opening up about it and seeking professional help.”

There are many stories like this. Each year, 1 in 5 Americans experience a mental illness. This can disrupt their thinking, mood, ability to relate to others or just their day-to-day life. Yet many delay seeking help. And that’s largely because of the stigma.

So what can we do to help stop the silence? How can we encourage our loved ones to talk openly about mental illnesses?

One way is by getting involved in a NAMIWalks 5K event. The National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) brings people together at local NAMIWalks all across the country. Each one is a celebration of recovery. It’s also a time when we let the world know we are stigma-free.

HealthPartners colleagues have been part of NAMIWalks Minnesota since 2006. This year, we will join over 50,000 people in more than 80 communities to stomp out stigma and help raise funds for their local chapter. That money will go toward providing education, advocacy and support for communities. You, too, can start your own team or make a donation at NAMIWalks MN.

“We walk to eliminate stigma. We want to show support for and unity with people living with mental illnesses,” said Karen Lloyd, PhD, LP, who is the past president of the NAMI Minnesota board of directors. She also leads HealthPartners Behavioral Health and Resilience department. “NAMIWalks, especially our local one, are really fun events! Colleagues, friends, family and pets come together. There is live music and activities to enjoy. And everyone is happy to be there to help out the cause.”

Living with a mental illness can feel lonely. But conversations can help. When we start talking, we realize that mental illnesses are more common than we think. And more importantly, these chats are the foundation for treating people living with mental illnesses with respect and acceptance. By supporting them, we can help them get the care they need.

Conversations about mental health can sometimes be awkward, but they are important. That’s why HealthPartners created the Make It OK campaign. It offers tips and resources to help get the conversation started. Learn more about how you can help by visiting makeitok.org.

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