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Letter from the President of the Board

Dear fellow NAMI Mississippi members,

As Mississippians, we pride ourselves on being the “Hospitality” State. Though that may not be the experience of everyone within our borders, we certainly seek to nurture a spirit of generosity, empathy, and support while typically providing an unreasonable number of covered dish treats to anyone in our social circle who is experiencing illness or distress. That’s who we are. It’s something we’re proud of. It’s something we celebrate. All too often, however, we express our generosity without carefully considering our own needs or, in some cases, we feel a sense of pride at intentionally neglecting ourselves to serve others. While self-sacrifice can be admirable sometimes, we must keep in mind that we are best able to serve others when we ourselves are healthy and running on a full charge.

The members of NAMI Mississippi are people living with mental illnesses, their families and friends, and professionals in the field of mental health. Given the challenges we face, we often forget the importance of self-care. As I write this, I’m reminded of the children’s song, “There’s a Hole in My Bucket.” The gist of the song is that the man, Henry, can’t use his bucket to get the water to wet a stone to sharpen an axe to cut the straw to fix the hole in the bucket— because there’s a hole in the bucket. If you didn’t quite follow that, here’s the takeaway: Neglecting our own needs for too long and for too great an extent can be ultimately self-defeating. We are at our best when we take measures to maintain a sense of balance and wholeness so that when we serve others, we serve them with clarity, purpose, and a full measure of our energies.

As you face the day-to-day challenges ahead, remember to take some time out for yourself, to sit and consider your own health, to engage in productive reflection, and to do what’s necessary to take care of yourself so that the flame of your passion for the work of advocating for mental health, promoting well-being, and supporting those who struggle with mental health challenges never goes dark. We at NAMI Mississippi are grateful to have such a strong and active membership. Your well-being is our highest value. We encourage you to let us know how we can support you and your communities.


Brett Mayfield, Board President