(Tucson, AZ—August 2, 2017) The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Southern Arizona received funding from the David & Lura Lovell Foundation for a planning grant to advance a state-wide school-based mental illness stigma reduction initiative.
Fifty percent of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14, and 75% by age 24. NAMI Southern Arizona’s goal is to reach young people when they are first experiencing symptoms of mental illness with the message that mental illness is just like any other illness, they are not alone, and it’s okay to talk about it and get help.
“If we can get to children before they accept the stigma that has long been associated with mental illness, we can show them how to connect to those who can help them, reducing the average delay of 8-10 years between onset of symptoms and treatment,” said H. Clarke Romans, executive director of NAMI Southern Arizona. “Most importantly, we want young people to know that with help they can get better and have bright futures.”
The planning grant funding will enable NAMI Southern Arizona to engage leaders in education, behavioral and physical health, government, business, the judicial system and the faith community to discuss and develop a plan to address the inclusion of mental health education in all Arizona schools. NAMI has an effective stigma reduction program, Ending the Silence, for middle and high school students that is already being implemented in some schools through local affiliates of NAMI, and can be expanded to schools throughout the state.
“We believe in bringing people together to create systems change and address root causes of social issues,” said John Amoroso, executive director of the Lovell Foundation. “We are pleased to support NAMI SA and their partners as they work to eliminate stigma before it takes hold, making it possible for young people to get the help they need to improve their chances of success in school and beyond.”
The result of the planning grant will be an assessment and recommendations for the best course of action to pursue in providing effective school-based mental health education in Arizona.
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About NAMI Southern Arizona, www.namisa.org
NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. Started by volunteers in 1983, the Southern Arizona affiliate was the fourth to be established nationally. NAMI Southern Arizona serves primarily Tucson and Pima County through education, advocacy and support at no cost to anyone affected by mental illness.
About the David and Lura Lovell Foundation
Over the past 23 years, the Lovell Foundation awarded more than $14 million in grants to nonprofits for specific projects. For more information, visit www.lovellfoundation.org or call (520) 325-3656.