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Thursday, April 20th, 2023

Nonprofit Spotlight: NAMI Boulder County

You are not alone.

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Boulder County is the local affiliate of the largest grassroots mental health organization in the country. Their mantra is “You are not alone.” Mental illness affects everyone, every family. That is why NAMI affects change and offers free services in Boulder County. Last year, the national organization named NAMI Boulder County the Outstanding Affiliate of 2022. As an affiliate of a national organization, NAMI Boulder County delivers “consistent services across the country tailored to local needs,” explains Interim Executive Director Paris Adler. She continues, “NAMI provides service, information, and advocacy that will help people in need right now.”

Paris began her engagement with NAMI through their programing. She then joined the board and moved into the Executive Director position when that vacancy became available. She and NAMI have been involved with Social Venture Partners Boulder County (SVP). Paris was a panelist on a recent SVP hosted “Mental Health in Boulder County” discussion panel. SVP also assisted NAMI to “think about and learn about scaling up the organization,” Paris explained. She adds, “[They] had volunteers, but struggled to build capacity and meet the demand for service.” She continues, “SVP helped us plan and implement an internal staff structure to build a sustainable organization; not just be reactive [to issues].” She is excited to not just continue to offer services, but to grow the organization.

The recent increase in telehealth availability has created access for mental health services that was unheard of a few years ago. As a result, the requests for mental health services have increased substantially. NAMI now offers both in-person and virtual groups and services, as well as resources and education, all free of charge. They plan to expand their service offerings even more in the year ahead.

For NAMI to provide the services currently accessible and to expand, Paris says NAMI needs to “grow the community of people with a shared vision: a world where mental health service is accessible and there is no stigma surrounding mental health.” If you share that vision, you can get involved in any capacity. Volunteers are needed to plan and run events, to facilitate support groups, to perform administrative duties, and more. Visit their website for more information: namibouldercounty.org/get-involved/.

For more information about mental health services in general, Ken Duckworth, M.D., the Chief Medical Officer of NAMI (the national organization) published, You are Not Alone: the NAMI Guide to Navigating Mental Health. It is the first comprehensive resource on all facets of mental health.

Paris wishes everyone to know “You are not alone.” Mental health affects everyone.

For more information about NAMI Boulder County or to seek support visit: namibouldercounty.org.

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