NAMI Lexington is a 501c3 non-profit organization that provides assistance to Families, Caregivers and Individuals whose life experience includes living with a serious and persistent mental illness. NAMI Lexington directly serves central Kentucky and partners to serve communities across the Commonwealth of Kentucky. We offer free advocacy, education, outreach and support programs and special events designed to raise community awareness and reduce stigma around mental health issues. Our guests encounter passionate “lived experience” wisdom in a welcoming environment. Our mission statement is simply "Promoting Recovery".
The Lexington Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, (NAMI Lexington), was founded in 1985 and recently celebrated 25 years of education, support and advocacy for person’s whose lives are impacted by chronic mental health challenges. NAMI Lexington has been a front-runner in the state and nationally in areas of inclusiveness, diversity, cultural competence and scope of services; notably in the area of consumer and peer-empowerment.
A sampling of other significant programs and trainings offered by NAMI Lexington:
1) Identified the need for a mental health court in Fayette County as a result of bringing community leaders together for a Q&A session following the presentation of a documentary on recidivism in October 2013. The group diligently researched the details of implementing a mental health court, have applied to Justice Minton to authorize the court and expect to have the court established early in 2014.
2) Participation Station (PS) – a Peer-operated Center co-sponsored by NAMI Lexington has been recognized as a "center of excellence" in our state for consumer operated services. The Department of Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities (DBHDID) contracted with NAMI Lexington to provide technical assistance to other consumer operated centers throughout Kentucky.
3) NAMI Lexington’s Participation Station (PS) program established a peer "system navigator" service in 2013. Many of our participants don't access the many public assistance programs available due to lack of information or inability to navigate the system. The service allows PS to systematically offer peer support for each of the major life areas - living, learning, working and socializing.
4) NAMI Lexington graduated 73 individuals from Family to Family classes (a 12 week course) during 2013. The program provides up-to-date information about a range of mental illnesses, including co-occurring mental illnesses and substance use disorders and teaches skills related to managing crises, solving problems and communicating effectively
Increase number of participants in all NAMI Lexington programs.
Outreach - Develop a marketing strategy to increase NAMI Lexington’s visibility to the general public. Develop strategies targeting families, consumers, providers, civic groups, schools, clergy, law enforcement, under-served communities and social service agencies.
Volunteer recruitment, training, and retention - Maintain a team of certified and willing members to teach NAMI signature programs and provide outreach and support to the community. Adopt a mechanism for utilizing volunteers in increasingly responsible leadership positions.
Programs - Expand current programs and increase the number of programs offered. Increase training opportunities for NAMI consumers and family member leadership.
Operations - Expand capacity and refine internal NAMI operations to support increased levels of visibility and enhance relationships with partner agencies. Diversify funding sources by developing and training teams focused on grant writing, local fundraising, and planned giving.
Technology - Leverage technology to build capacity and reach people “where they are”. Integrate “high tech” and “low tech / high touch” methods to support NAMI dialogue.
My wife, Kelly and I have been involved with NAMI Lexington for the past ten years. In fact, we've been SO involved that it has become our # 1 topic of conversation. Small wonder that many have a slightly glazed look in their eye by the time we come to the end of our mantra!
However, it has not been at all unusual for someone to say, in confidence and relief "You know, I have a brother… (mother, cousin, friend)”… After all, 1 in 4 persons will be affected by serious mental illness and the annual economic, indirect cost of mental illness is estimated to be $79 billion.
Our journey with NAMI began when we took NAMI’s flagship Family to Family class, a 12 session curriculum taught by trained family members to help people understand and learn about serious mental illness and how to survive as a caregiver. We served NAMI Lexington and NAMI Kentucky as board members, and are now both in staff roles with NAMI Lexington.
We have learned a great deal about human suffering through this experience. We've become more humble, and more grateful for our GOOD fortune, of which there is much! And, we've shared a lot of lived experience with many people, friends and strangers alike.
We have the good fortune to be involved in the weaving of a tapestry - a unique and valuable community resource, NAMI Lexington. A weaver usually works a tapestry vertically, building the fabric from bottom to top. NAMI Lexington is a grass roots organization that recognizes the value of “bottom up” design and philosophy. Many stellar volunteers and partners have created a foundation that supports the ability to pursue opportunities to help others.
NAMI Lexington continues to expand existing programs and develop new ones to provide Advocacy, Education, Outreach and Support – the cornerstones of our mission. More importantly – we continue to increase the number of people we serve and our ability to evaluate and improve the outcomes of our programs and services. Volunteers, staff, and our partner organizations all bring unique talents and ideas to the table resulting in the ever-changing tapestry that is our organization. We continue to reach new milestones and expand our vision of what we can be and remain singularly focused on our mission :
To assist Families, Caregivers and Individuals whose life experience includes living with a persistent mental illness. To help them acquire and use available supports and skills necessary to manage their symptoms and return to the community and find success, hope and meaning in the role and environment of their choice.
As board chair of National Alliance on Mental Illness Lexington Chapter, I am pleased to register with Good Giving.net. I have volunteered with this organization for over 15 years, serving for the last four as president. I became interested in NAMI while serving as executive director of the Kentucky Psychiatric Medical Association. As I networked with NAMI as part of my job, I saw the marvelous work they were doing on an extremely limited budget. At the same time, my adult daughter was coping with chronic depression and an eating disorder. Stories I heard of family members coping with more serious mental health disorders underscored the vast need for the programs that NAMI offers not only to family members but also to their sick loved ones.
Since I started with NAMI Lexington, it has had phenomenal growth. When NAMI began, they offered at most one or two Family-to-Family classes a year. Since then, they have added support groups for those suffering from mental illness (“consumers”), with special groups for those with dual diagnosis (substance abuse and mental illness), anxiety, bipolar and their family members. Recently, we added an outreach program called Family Fridays, for families newly impacted by mental illness.
Last year, we opened a peer to peer run program known as Participation Station. This program has become a model for the state. Consumers attending have achieved heart-warming success. For example, one woman who started attending initially cried for days. With help from a fellow consumer, she began to participate in some of the programs. She has progressed to the point where she is teaching crocheting to fellow participants and volunteering in the office. This is a woman who had not left her home in years. Participation Stations offers classes in life skills, special interests, and perhaps most importantly offers socialization opportunities for the consumer.
NAMI Lexington has partnered with Bluegrass Comprehensive Care to establish a Recovery Mall at Eastern State Hospital. This is another model program for hospitals around the state. NAMI Lexington has been conducting training across the state in the recovery model to state hospitals and comprehensive care organizations. NAMI Lexington has been a vocal advocate not only for families and consumers, but for the new Eastern State Hospital, the 2nd oldest (187) years still in use facility in the nation.
NAMI Lexington has outreach programs for African American and Hispanic communities. We have information tables available at community events such as Woodland Arts Fair, the Roots and Heritage Festival, and the Latino Festival. With In Our Own Voice, two trained consumers tell their stories to church, civic, and school groups, mental hospitals and anyone else who is interested. We take every opportunity available to education the public about mental illness and strive to erase stigma.
Of course, all this activity requires money. We seek grants and donations. We hold a walk every October during mental illness awareness week which raises money for our organization. We are frugal with our resources, but without more money, we cannot continue to grow or worse, cannot continue what we have in place. It is very important for us to be a part of Good Giving.net.
In an effort to balance the state budget Kentucky has recently contracted with three managed care companies to administer Medicaid services in the state. Many individuals with severe and persistent mental illness (SPMI) are Medicaid recipients. In other states that have implemented managed care, mental health services have experienced problems related to decreases in reimbursed services, limitations on medications and administrative “hoops” for participants to jump through. This change to a managed care system, ironically, offers NAMI-Lexington both challenges and opportunities. While existing funding sources of NAMI-Lexington may experience a negative impact financially (threat), we offer several cost-effective alternatives to traditional mental health services such as Participation Station, Kentucky’s first peer operated recovery center (opportunity). In addition, NAMI-Lexington has worked hard to earn a reputation as an innovator and as such is embracing opportunities to transform and update LFUCG’s and the state’s mental health system with cost-effective and recovery-oriented solutions.
Phill began as a volunteer Board Member for NAMI Lexington in 2002, became the NAMIWalks Manager in 2005, and the Executive Director in 2009. Phill is a trained teacher of the NAMI Signature program, Family-to-Family, and is also a Teacher Trainer. He has served as President of the NAMI Kentucky Board of Directors and currently serves as an at-large member of the Board of Directors of New Beginnings, an organization providing housing and supports to consumers of mental health services.
Phill’s 25 years of entrepreneurial small business ownership and general management were a valuable resource for NAMI Lexington as the organization transitioned from an all volunteer organization with limited funding to an organization of paid staff with diversified funding sources and the concomitant Federal, state, and local reporting requirements. Phill has attended numerous trainings, workshops, and seminars on a variety of topics including:
Leadership, Management, and Consulting;
Recruiting and Hiring;
Networking and Team Development;
Project Management and Event Management;
Board Member Development;
Grant-writing and Fundraising;
Affordable Housing, HUD Programs and FHA/VA Guaranteed Loans;
Contract Negotiation and Contract Management;
Quickbooks and Microsoft Office Suite;
NAMI Leadership Institute;
NAMI Family-to-Family, Train the Trainer; and
Numerous Tracks at NAMI National and State Annual Conferences.
Additionally, Phill has served on committees, boards, and workgroups for a variety of trade organizations at the local, state and national levels.
The NAMI Family-to-Family education program is a volunteer-driven peer education program designed to foster learning, healing, and empowerment among families of consumers. Offered by NAMI Lexington since 1985, it is a comprehensive 12-session program typically taught by a two-person team of family member volunteers to other family members impacted by mental illness. The program encompasses current information about the major brain disorders, provides updates on medication and treatment options, teaches coping skills for family members, and offers advocacy training on locat, state and federal policies and services. The Family-to-Family program recently received the honor and designation of this being the only family peer provided program to be recognized as an evidence-based program.
…individuals having received Family to Family (FTF) showed significantly greater overall empowerment and empowerment within their family, the service system and their community. Individuals who received FTF also had greater knowledge of mental illness, higher ratings of constructive emotion focused coping, and lower ratings of anxiety than individuals in the control condition. In addition, individuals who received FTF reported higher ratings of personal skills related to family functioning. …FTF was also significantly associated with reduced depression symptoms and reduced overall distress.
Study Shows Long-term Benefits Family-to-Family Participants1
A University of Maryland study of 95 families, has demonstrated significant benefits to participants in Family-to-Family classes. Compared to a control group, six months following their classes, Family-to-Family graduates:1. Had greater knowledge of the causes and treatment of mental illness; 2. Felt less burdened by their loved one’s illness; 3. Had an improved understanding of the mental health system; 4. Showed a reduction in depression. The authors conclude that Family-to-Family meets the national criteria for an “evidenced based practice.”
1 L. Dixon, et. al.Acta Psychiar. Scand 2004:109:207-215
In Our Own Voice (IOOV) is a unique public education program developed by NAMI, in which two trained speakers share compelling personal stories about living with mental illness and achieving recovery. Throughout the IOOV presentation, audience members are encouraged to offer feedback and ask questions. IOOV presentations are given to consumer groups, students, law enforcement officials, educators, providers, faith community members, politicians, professionals, inmates, and interested civic groups. All presentations are offered free of charge.
The IOOV program helps to dispel many myths surrounding mental illness. Audiences benefit from this type of presentation because they learn, first hand, what it means to have a serious mental illness and how the recovery process works.
All IOOV presenters complete a 16 hour NAMI training course. Presenters often find that participating in this program helps build self-esteem. Presenters may learn new coping strategies from one another and are given hope and strength by finding a community of peers. There are a myriad of ways consumers can grow as In Our Own Voicepresenters.
Participation Station (PS) is a Peer Operated Center developed to embrace philosophical and practical extensions of the psychiatric rehabilitation and social re-integration recovery model. PS provides evidence-based, best practices in the realm of supports and recovery from serious mental illness (SMI). The program is helping individuals regain HOPE and BELIEF in a life that is not defined by SMI, but by meaningful, personal choice and empowerment.
Individuals with SMI are involved at every level of day-to-day operations, program planning and implementation at PS. The Leadership Team, led by Kentucky Peer Specialists, schedules "tracks" and social events on a bi-weekly basis. The Warm-Line is manned exclusively by peers who have completed specialized training. This program and facility truly define "peer- operated."
Housing, clinical, vocational and educational programs throughout our area are engaged at PS as referral sources, volunteers, educators and/or funding entities.
Outreach to the Hispanic communitythrough a partnership with the UK Migrant Farm workers with Disabilities Employment Partnership (MDEP), has resulted in the presentation of successful “Safe and Sane” workshops and the graduation of the first Spanish Family to Family class in Kentucky.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
Copyright © 2014 Blue Grass Community Foundation
499 East High Street, Lexington, KY 40507