On Thursday, April 21, a number of Aevidum members had the opportunity to attend a ceremony held by NAMI at the Blair County Convention Center.
NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness, which is the nation’s largest organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI advocates for access to services, treatment, supports and research and is steadfast in its commitment to raise awareness and build a community for hope for all of those in need.
“NAMI is similar to what Aevidum would be after high school,” said B-A Aevidum co-advisor Mr. Brandon Stewart. “It was a great opportunity for our students to see how mental health issue affect those outside of our community.”
Students left school after second period and were at the event all day. Once there, there were all different types of stands set up so that students could learn about different agencies and groups that provide services and information on mental health. One agency that was there was PeerStar which is a community behavioral healthcare service the works towards recovery and integration.
Everyone gathered and one room and watch multiple presentations and videos. Students were able to listen to multiple stories of hardship and recovery. The feature speaker of the event was Kellyanne Strouse. Kelly spent her life living with depression, drug addiction, and bulima. She talked about all of the different obstacles she had to go through such as being being convicted and incarcerated for the auto accident that killed three of her best friends. Kelly encountered a mentor who helped her find who she truly is. It was an inspiring story that made an impact on everyone that was listening.
“She was very good,” said Maria McFarland. “I enjoyed the experience. It was eye-opening, and there were a lot of people talking about their personal struggles. It was very interesting to hear.”
After pledging to be stigma free, and listening to all of the speakers, it was clear that everyone had been impacted by what they had heard throughout the day.
Everyone who went to the NAMI ceremony would agree that it was a great experience and a big eye-opener on mental health.