NAMI Eastside, is the East King County affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. We are a community-based non-profit organization that provides services that focus on the concerns of all those affected by mental illness. Our members include families, friends, clinicians and people living with mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, general anxiety disorder, ADHD and many others. We currently run 9 different support groups across east King County for individuals and families, many of which occur each week, we provide mental health education and training for law enforcement, give presentations to organizations, schools and hospitals, have monthly public forums, provide educational courses to parents, caregivers, and individuals affected by mental illness, and we have a public policy committee dedicated to improving mental health legislation in Washington State.
A grant was provided by Sammamish Rotary in the Fall of 2017 to fund their “In our own voice” program.
A grant was provided in the Fall of 2018 to fund their new “Ending the Silence” program. The following paragraphs describe this program.
“Ending the Silence” is a brand-new youth mental health education program that NAMI Eastside aims to roll out across public middle and high schools in the City of Sammamish over 2019. The program consists of 1-hour in-class presentations given to students in their Health Education courses, where volunteer presenters educate students on the signs & symptoms of mental illness, provide them information on the resources available should they experience a mental health crisis, share their personal stories of their journeys to recovery, and help combat the persistent social stigma around mental illness that prevents so many young people from seeking help.
Unique to NAMI Eastside’s “Ending The Silence” program is the use of volunteer presenters with lived experience of mental illness to educate middle and high school students. Because of their direct, personal experience with mental illness, our volunteer presenters (at least one of whom is always a young adult, under the age of 35) provide the student audience a safe place to ask even the most uncomfortable of questions – and help students gain a greater understanding of the often taboo and misunderstood topic of mental illness.
Specific to the City of Sammamish, we expect to provide a minimum of 26 Ending The Silence presentations over the coming year to health education classes, reaching ~750 students at the following middle and high schools: Middle Schools: Pine Lake Middle School, Inglewood Middle School, Renaissance School of Art & Reasoning. High Schools: Eastlake High School, Skyline High School.
The objective and goals of the Ending The Silence” project is intended to provide middle and high school students knowledge of the signs and symptoms of mental illness, information on the resources available should they or their peers experience a mental health crisis, and to combat the persistent social stigma around mental illness that prevents so many young people from seeking help.
A study commssioned by the National Alliance on Mental Illness of nearly 1,000 high-school students found that “Ending The Silence” presentations were effective in changing students’ knowledge and attitudes toward mental illness and increased their willingness to seek help.
Per the City of Sammamish’s first Human Services Needs Assessment (published earlier this spring), youth in the City of Sammamish struggle with extraordinarily high rates of depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation. Ultimately, our aim through the “Ending The Silence” program is to ensure that young people in our community struggling with mental illness seek help before it’s too late