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Winter 2021

Board Member p. 4

Programs p. 15

Ending the Silence p. 16

Affiliates p. 8


1735 St. Julian Pl #300 Columbia, SC 29204 (803) 733-9591 namisc.org TABLE OF CONTENTS Letter from the President of the Board 3 Board Members 4-5 Website Launch 6-7 Affiliate News 8-14 Programs 15 Ending The Silence` 16-19 STAFF Bill Lindsey, Executive Director Corinne Mathews, Office Manager Sharyn Pittman, Program Coordinator Sherri Cloud, CIT Director Marty Wilkes, CIT Regional Coordinator Peter Farrell, CIT Regional Coordinator Michelle Ready, Assistant Director of Ed. Programs Paige Selking, Director of Ending the Silence Deniece Chi, ETS Program Manager Judy Rauppius, ETS Program Manager Erica Bradley, ETS Program Manager Robin McCants, ETS Program Coordinator Maria Beth, ETS Program Coordinator Amanda Phillips, ETS Program Coordinator Bethany Henry, ETS Program Coordinator Leola Reeves, ETS Program Coordinator Karimah Nonyameko, ETS Program Coordinator Emily Gunning ETS Program Coordinator/ Community Engagement Specialist Michelle Hinson, Marketing & Operations Specialist AFFILIATES NAMI AOP NAMI Charleston Area NAMI Greenville NAMI Kershaw NAMI Lowcountry NAMI Mid-Carolina NAMI Pee Dee NAMI Piedmont Tri-County NAMI Spartanburg NAMI Sumter The NAMI South Carolina newsletter is funded by donations from members and partners, and is published to inform, educate and strengthen the community of individuals and families affected by serious mental illness. The articles and opinions within are not necessarily those of the NAMI South Carolina organization. Content is not intended to endorse any political candidates, viewpoint, treatment or medication.

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Thanks to our wonderful Sponsors!

Letter from the Executive Director


OVID-19 changed our lives in 2020. So, what happened while we were/are waiting for it to go away? Kicking and screaming, we changed the way we do business, the way we interact with our friends, family, and colleagues. It has been difficult if not impossible to hold in person meetings, trainings, conferences, support groups, business coffees or lunches. So, we have to enter the world of virtual meetings, trainings, conferences, and idea exchanges because guess what? Mental illnesses, anxiety, fear, and trepidation did not go away, but increased exponentially. So, while all of this is going on, the NAMI South Carolina Staff and the local South Carolina NAMI Affiliates worked miracles. The Ending the Silence team converted in person trainings to ZOOM and sometimes other formats to expand into schools that are meeting in hybrid models or in a lot of cases totally virtually. This was a Big Deal! Can you imagine a student in the fall of 2020 being told that their opportunity to learn the signs of mental illness or suicide prevention was being put on hold for six to twelve months? We can’t do the program so the student has to hold that thought or condition for a year. Do you think that it is going away by itself? Do you think that being

isolated at home is not in itself a stressor? Your NAMI ETS Team found a way to get students, teachers and staff, and parents and caregivers the training that is so desperately needed now, when they need it. Through countless meetings with the Department of Education and the Department of Mental Health, they created a way to make it happen. To market the new formats, we created a PSA that NAMI National wants to share, and got the trainings to those who needed it. Our CIT staff has been hard at work as well and is the first of our trainings that are beginning to be held in person for law enforcement and first responders primarily. We have added staff to fill vacancies and going forward will have staff in three parts of the state to fulfil the never-ending demand for this training. This has never been more important after the events of this summer and the need for training not only to de-escalate situations involving those with mental illness, but to de-escalate situations involving equity as well. What an incredible opportunity. We have ventured into Connection and Family Support Groups and have had some success with virtual Family to Family, Peer to Peer, and In Our Own Voice. Other programs will be forthcoming. And with all of this going on, we have discovered a


talent within the organization to update, upgrade, and redo our website and make an expansion into social media. Some of this has already started to happen and some is on the way. Meanwhile, back at the Affiliates, NAMI Greenville was the NAMI National Affiliate of the Year. And not only that, Ken Dority won the Vicki Cottrell Award for National Director of the year! All of the South Carolina Affiliates have been doing incredible work in a very trying time. The stories and results are too numerous to mention in this short space, but a colossal congratulations to all of you. So, what are you doing to take care of yourself? Stay connected with your NAMI friends, family and others, at least virtually. Be sure to treat yourself well and 2020 will in fact be hindsight.

Executive Director NAMI SC

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Featured Board of Directors 18 · NAMI MISSISSIPPI

mentally ill face. Marybeth hopes through sharing her experiences and story, first responders are better equipped to interact with those in crisis in an appropriate and compassionate manner that sends everyone home to their families safely.

She is looking forward to continue advocating for the mentally ill as a NAMI SC board member.

Marybeth Parilla Marybeth Parrilla is a resident of Anderson, SC. She holds a Juris Doctor degree from Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley School of Law in Lansing, Michigan and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Cedar Crest College in Allentown, Pennsylvania. She has practiced law in South Carolina Family and General Sessions Courts since 2009. Marybeth is the Vice President, General Counsel, and Chief Operating Officer of Echelon Sports International. Marybeth works with young athletes facing the pressures of professional sports. Marybeth’s desire to serve on the State of South Carolina’s Board of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) came after seeing many of her clients face legal difficulties - oftentimes due to untreated or undiagnosed mental health conditions. After a close family member was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Marybeth found herself in the position of care advocate and caregiver. She frequently speaks in the community on the issue of Crisis Intervention. Her passion is to educate law enforcement about the challenges families of the 4 | NAMI SC | Winter 2021

BJ Pettit

Lawrence Graham

Lawrence Graham is a semi-retired tire changer / auto mechanic with a family member coping with mental illness. His goal as a board member is to help strengthen small affiliates and get more started.

BJ Pettit is a registered nurse and resides in Effingham,SC. She is honored to be a NAMI Pee Dee and SC NAMI board member as well as NAMI Pee Dee Advocate for Florence County. Her passion is the NAMI Family to Family programs where she serves as a facilitator.

Pamela Eyring

Terri Orred.

Terri Orred graduated from the University of South Carolina with a bachelor’s degree in nursing. She is a board certified psychiatric-mental health nurse and has cared for those with mental disorders passionately for over 36 years in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Most recently, she has worked solely with suicidal clients. She considers it a privilege to serve this population.

Pamela Eyring learned about NAMI SC as she was planning for her son, Jacob’s, funeral. She wanted to select a charity and the funeral director recommended NAMI SC. Jacob was diagnosed at a young age with Bipolar Disorder and died by suicide when he was almost 21 years old. His doctors and psychiatrists never shared NAMI as a resource and sadly she learned about them from the funeral director after he was gone. Her goal for being on the board is to help educate


families about the programs and resources to end the stigma of mental health for recovery. Pamela is also the president and owner of The Protocol School of Washington®, a nationally accredited school focusing on international protocol, business etiquette and communication skills training. With more than three decades of public and private sector experience in operational protocol and educational development, Pamela has extensive knowledge of US and international practices and is a global thought leader in the etiquette and protocol industry. Currently, she oversees the national and international operations of the PSOW in Washington, DC, Columbia, SC and Dubai.

Stacee Rowell Stacee is a South Carolina native and graduated from the University of South Carolina with her master’s degree in Social Work. She is a clinical social worker and is employed with the SC Department of Mental Health. Stacee is a program coordinator in the Office of Emergency Services and works with their Mobile Crisis and Justice Involved initiatives. She became involved with NAMI in 2018 through her current position, assisting with CIT Trainings. Stacee joined the NAMI SC Board in 2019 and currently serves on the NAMI Pee Dee Board as well.

Tray Stone Tray Stone lives with schizoaffective disorder. He volunteers at his local NAMI Mid-Carolina affiliate running a book club. He has a B.A. in Journalism and has worked for Harper’s Magazine and The Beaufort Gazette. He studied creative writing at the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop and L.S.U. He has 2.7 million viewers per month on his Pinterest boards and 5.7 million impressions on same. He is writing a science fiction novel titled “Harmless.”

Stacee is married to Robert and they enjoy riding motorcycles and travelling. She loves all things Harry Potter and spends her free time catching up on the latest Netflix series.

Director. Previously Betsey had been employed by NAMI South Carolina for fifteen years as the Director of Education Programs where she managed NAMI presentations, programs and support groups for the state. Betsey is the parent of a son who lives with a mental health condition, an intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorder all diagnosed at various times during his elementary school years.

John E. (Jack) Balling Has been on the Work in Progress Board since 2008. Jack has a BS in Business Management from the University of South Carolina 1970). Retired from the S.C. Dept. of Mental Health with 33 years of service including 6 years as an Assistant Hospital Administrator (Hall Institute) and the rest in budget, planning and policy analysis. Since 2003, he has been actively involved with several not-for-profit organizations including the National Alliance on Mental Illness of SC (NAMI, state and local) and Lutheran Homes of SC. He also volunteers with the S.C. Junior Golf Foundation.

Betsey OBrien Betsey O’Brien is the NAMI Piedmont Tri-County’s Executive

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NAMI SC’s New Website Thanks to the amazing help and support from the NAMI EasySite Tomato Tech team, NAMI South Carolina was able to launch their brand new website. We have an all new design and interface that is cohesive with NAMI National’s website. Our goal was to improve our site by making it more user-friendly, and provide easy access to our resources and programs. If you want to see some of the amazing improvements we’ve made, you can still find us at namisc.org. We’ve added some new features like our interactive affiliate map, events calendar, quick links to resources and support, and much more. We’ve also taken steps to improve some already existing features such as the way you navigate

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the site in general using our drop down menus. Programs have been reorganized so you will no longer find them under the pages “for families” or “for schools”. Instead, we’ve made it a lot easier for you. You can now find all the programs we offer under “Support & Education” where things like Ending the Silence, CIT, and NAMI Basics will be listed, as well as the support groups we offer. Our work doesn’t stop here. NAMI South Carolina’s website is wealthy in resources on mental health. We make a point to put details on where to find help in your area, healthy tips for mental wellness, numbers you can call, and places you can

go. We don’t want that to become buried within our new site’s features, and we want to provide you the easiest way to access them. One of our major goals this year is to turn our resource page into a searchable table, where you won’t need to scroll forever to find what you’re looking for. With this, you will be able to use key words like “behavioral health center” or even the name of your county to find things faster than ever before. We hope you enjoy this new interface, and we look forward to hearing some feedback on how we can continue to improve NAMI South Carolina’s online presence and support. - Emily Gunning, Community Engagement Specialist


Events Calendar All the upcoming events from every affiliate will be listed on this useful calendar, including links to register for webinars, and contact details.

INTERACTIVE MAP Find your closest affiliate, the counties they serve, and their contact info by using our useful interactive state map.

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AMI AOP serves the Anderson-Oconee-Pickens counties of upstate SC. Currently, we have three support groups via Zoom available. The Family Support Group meets on the first and third Tuesdays of the month at 6:30 pm. The Connection Recovery Support group meets on the second Tuesday of the month at 6:30 pm. The new 8 session Family-toFamily course will be taught on Sunday afternoons from 2:305:00 pm via Zoom. This course will most likely begin in February. Since the course is taught via Zoom, attendees may log in from anywhere to attend. If you don’t know anyone local who could benefit from the course, consider recommending this course to friends and relatives who may live outside the state or in an area in the state that does not have a course scheduled. Pre-registration is required. To receive the link to attend the support groups or to register for the Family-to-Family course, contact the NAMI AOP Resource person. Michelle Ready, michelleready@hotmail.com 864-882-5131.

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020 has been a year of change. We as a country have had to adapt to rapid changes, work through extremely difficult and challenging events, and embrace a “new normal.” For those of us in the NAMI community, we understand what it means to be able to adapt to changes quickly and to accept a “new normal,” but this year has been a challenge for even the most seasoned NAMI members. NAMI Charleston Area researched and used different mediums to continue to supply our programs and help to the community. We saw a significant increase in the number of calls and emails from people reaching out to us for the first time. We heard from many people who had been supporting their mental health or had a family member who was well for many years that had setbacks or downward turns in their mental health this year. We are grateful for the support we have received from NAMI South Carolina in guidance, resources, and knowledge. We are also grateful to the other NAMI SC affiliates who graciously offered to open their NAMI education classes and support groups to the rest of the state. The support groups were a significant help in those instances where people indicated they wanted to attend a group more than once a week or needed a group that worked with their schedules. Once again, we saw how valuable NAMI is

is to our community and how we bond together in a crisis to support and encourage one another. Some of our data for 2020: We started the year with our in-person support groups increased and expanded to different areas. We were excited to add support groups in Georgetown and Horry Counties with our newly NAMI trained facilitators. When March and the Covid-19 quarantine came, we did some research and decided to use Google Meet as our virtual platform. Our last in-person NAMI Connection Support Group was March 12 th and the last in-person NAMI Family Support Group met on March 10th. We were proud to have our virtual support groups launch on April 30 th . We offered the NAMI Connection Support group weekly on Mondays and the NAMI Family Support group twice a month. So far, this year we have had 42 Connection meetings with 250 people attending and we have had 23 Family meetings with 134 people attending. We were able to host an In Our Own Voice presentation before the quarantine with 20 attendants. Crisis Intervention Team training was put on hold due to the quarantine, but when we were able to safely gather again, we had some great volunteers take part in the Faces part to share their personal experience with mental health and answer questions from our local first responders.


With our fundraising efforts from 2019, we were able to hire our first employee, Kelly Troyer, as our Community Outreach Coordinator. She also took on the role of NAMIWalks Walk Manager and did an excellent job! Local news organizations contacted us several times this year to talk about different mental health subjects. Kelly Troyer stepped up each time and the news agencies featured her in their stories more than 6 times! Our NAMIWalks Charleston event was only our 2 nd one and we weren’t sure how a virtual event would work. Thanks to our fearless Walk Manager and an enthusiastic board and several volunteers we not only had success in fundraising but had a lot of fun doing it. We exceeded our goal of $25,000 and ended up with $33,000. We had several people send us pictures and videos of their walk day activities and poses with the NAMIWalks Signs of Hope. One of our sponsors and community partners, Charleston County Sherriff ’s Office, created a fantastic video about their support of NAMI Charleston Area and mental health awareness. Our Vice President, Malinda Terry, made a video that NAMIWalks shared nation-wide. She created a “Wobble Challenge” video and challenged other affiliates throughout the country to do their own challenge video. The Today Show with Hoda and Jenna also featured Malinda

wearing her NAMIWalks Volunteer t-shirt and commenting that she watches Hoda and Jenna while walking on the treadmill. From our community members, we received several videos with messages about the importance of mental health, including some in different languages: Hindi, Tamil, Spanish, and Mandarin. We created the NAMI Charleston Area YouTube channel in part to share all the videos we received. On the day of our Walk, October 10 th , we live-streamed several activities on Facebook, including a yoga session, a meditation session, walk updates, messages from our sponsors, and different members showing their safe, socially distanced, and mask-wearing walks. Yes, 2020 has not been a wonderful year or even a good year. The optimist in me is always searching for the silver lining in dark times. My silver lining? The response from the mental health community, the new volunteers who had not been involved with mental health organizations before, the energy and enthusiasm of our board members and volunteers to work together and supply our programs to those in need, and the unflagging resilience of our community members and NAMI family to rise to these challenges and to help those who were not doing as well. Here’s to hoping next year will bring better times and even more goodwill. Toni Smallwood - President, NAMI Charleston Area (SC) 843.284.3091

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Like most affiliates, NAMI Greenville has had to get creative to overcome many of the unexpected obstacles that 2020 has thrown our way. The year began smoothly, with the start of two in-person NAMI Family-to-Family courses and one NAMI Basics course. We were also busy planning our annual NAMIWalks Upstate South Carolina event that was scheduled for June 6 th at Furman University, along with the many other events scheduled throughout the rest of the year. Then, the coronavirus hit. Within a week of closing our office and cancelling all in-person gatherings, we were able to get our leaders and facilitators trained on Zoom to begin holding events virtually. Without missing a week, our Connections and Family Support Groups shifted to virtual meetings on March 23rd. We also transitioned our educational courses and presentations like ETS and IOOV to virtual platforms. A COVID-19 resource page was created on our website (www.namigreenvillesc.org) with information and tools ranging from local resources available to community members, general info on the virus, and how to manage one’s mental health during times of uncertainty. The next big challenge was to determine how to handle the upcoming walk. We soon realized that an in-person walk was not realistic, so we shifted to a virtual platform. Held over the weekend of June 20th, our NAMIWalks Upstate South Carolina event was a hit! 10 | NAMI SC | Winter 2021

Despite losing many of our sponsors due to COVID-19-related budget cuts, we were still able to raise over $53,000. The virtual nature of our walk meant that participants could walk on their own terms; they chose their courses, what time they started, and who walked next to them. It was encouraging to see people participate from different places in the United States and around the world. We even had a few walkers in London! It was a great weekend spent raising awareness of mental health advocacy and education.

NAMI Greenville also organized creative ways to serve our community. Recognizing the reduced opportunities for engagement that many in the community were facing, one of our AmeriCorps VISTAs, Cianna Clinkscales, created “Boredom-Buster Care Kits.” These kits were filled with things like coloring books, garden kits, bubbles, behavioral health handouts, and more. She distributed the kits outside of a local community center in June, and they were a huge success! All of the kits were gone within hours, and we were glad to be able to provide an innovative form of relief during such unique times. As the year progressed, virtual

support groups, classes, and presentations became the new norm. We tuned into this year’s virtual NAMICon in July and were humbled to receive the “Outstanding NAMI Affiliate Award” for our work towards promoting mental health education, support, and community awareness in the Upstate. This award is the top honor given to one NAMI affiliate annually that demonstrates exceptional leadership, strong community presence, outreach to diverse communities, and exemplary stewardship of the NAMI mission. Our Executive Director, Ken Dority, also received the “Vicki Cottrell Executive Director Leadership Award” in July. This award is a top honor given annually to the NAMI Executive Director who has dedicated a significant amount of time, effort and commitment to expanding and implementing NAMI’s key programs. Dority, a member of NAMI Greenville since 2011 and Executive Director for the past seven years, has been an exceptional leader in the fight to improve the lives of those with mental illness. For Dority, the fight to end stigma became personal after a family member’s diagnosis. He has been instrumental in expanding Greenville’s Crisis Intervention Training for police and improving behavioral health coalitions in the Upstate. He has also partnered with schools, industry, and community groups to advance the importance of mental health education and awareness. We were humbled and honored by these awards and would like to thank all of our supporters. We are incredibly thankful for our volunteers and donors; we could not achieve this level of success without you. Also, a tremendous thank you to our board, staff, and program leaders for

QUARTER 20XX · 15 all of your hard work in delivering programs that educate, support, and advocate for those living with mental illness and their families. We look forward to continuing to build collaborations and partnerships that allow us to better serve our community.

-tors such as loneliness, isolation, uncertainty, and fears created by job loss are contributing to higher rates of anxiety and depression. It is very likely that you know someone who is fighting a mental health battle right now. That is why it’s important to have the necessary tools to support our community’s mental health. Your best donation to NAMI Greenville will help us continue putting these tools in the hands of

those impacted by mental health conditions around us. We are grateful for any gift you are able to give. Visit www.namigreenvillesc. org/donate to donate. The mental health needs of the Upstate are greater than ever, and so is our need for your continued aid. We look forward to continuing our work in the new year and thank you again for your support.

As the year winds down, we will continue our work serving the Upstate community and have begun planning more efforts for next year. Our weekly virtual support groups will continue every Monday at 6:15 PM until further notice. We also have an upcoming virtual NAMI Peer-toPeer course scheduled beginning in January 2021. This educational program is for adults over the age of 18 who live with a mental health condition. It will be held every Sunday from 2:00-4:00 PM between January 17 th and March 7 th . Additionally, our next NAMI Family-to-Family course will begin in February for adult loved ones of people with mental health conditions. More details to come. If you are interested in either of these courses or have any questions, please email tammy@namigreenvillesc.org. Now more than ever, we need your continued support. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated mental health conditions with unprecedented reporting of anxiety, depression, and overall feelings of hopelessness. In addition to health concerns, fac11 | NAMI SC | Winter 2021


2020 has been a busy year at NAMI Lowcountry. As an organization we have reimagined our way of thinking, the way we operate and how we connect with our community. COVID-19 has presented many hurdles, but NAMI Lowcountry has continued to be a beacon of hope for those who are struggling with acute and chronic mental health conditions, their families and their loved ones. We are proud of the following programs and milestones we have accomplished this year and thank all of our supporters, investors and partners in making them possible.

For NAMI Mid-Carolina, 2020 started off great. We had a lot of strong new board members with wonderful ideas and commitment to mental health. In the first month of 2020, NAMI Mid-Carolina began a partnership with the City of Columbia Parks and Recreation in order to establish Mental Health Safe Zones throughout their park systems. This endeavor began with us training over 70 of their park staff. NAMI Mid-Carolina conducted a 5-hour training that would help park staff recognize signs of mental health distress in their patrons. The training was very well received and we look forward to continuing the partnership once the parks open back up completely. Other activities that were complet12 | NAMI SC | Winter 2021

NAMI Lowcountry’s 2020 Programs and Resources: 1. The creation of a new, innovative and user friendly website. 2. Hosting our successful signature fundraising Mardi Gras Gala Event. 3. Moving all Support Groups, Education and Outreach Programs Online. 4. Building The Makers of Mental Health to celebrate those with mental health conditions and their artistic abilities.

-ed in the first three months of 2020 included a board retreat, regular IOOV presentations at Primsa hospitals and our NAMIWALKS Kickoff Luncheon. The Kickoff was held on March 13th with approximately 65 people expected based on early RSVPs. However, due to the growing pandemic, the numbers were much smaller than we expected. Nevertheless, in true NAMI style, we continued with our presentation, which was attended by our National Walk Manager, Darcey Mamone, and we had a great time. The low attendance, however, was definitely a sign of what was to come. The Monday after the Kickoff, schools closed and all in-person activities were discouraged and later banned, which had a major impact on all our programs.

5. Hosting: Parenting During Covid 19 with Totum Women, Not Safe for Mom Group and Trust Me I am a Social Worker. 6. Presenting the Tell My Story Challenge for college athletes in partnership with the Tell My Story Challenge Foundation and USCB. 7. Hosting two virtual events: NAMI Lowcountry’s Walk Your Way Event and our One in Five Event.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, NAMI Mid-Carolina hosted four weekly Connection groups as well as a bi-weekly group that met every other Saturday morning. We also hosted two weekly Family and Friends groups in addition to a bi-weekly group. All of these had to be curtailed due to the growing threat of COVID-19. Fortunately, with the support of our board members, NAMI Mid-Carolina was able to pivot completely from in-person services to virtual almost seamlessly. We currently offer two Connection support groups each week, one on Tuesday at noon and another on Thursday nights, as well as a Family and Friends group every Tuesday at 6:00 pm. We also offer a monthly online book club that meets the third Wednesday of every month. All our online offer-

QUARTER 20XX · 7 ings can be found on the homepage of our website at www.namimid-carolina.org. Thankfully, our groups have been thriving and for those who are unable to attend, we have been reaching out to them personally to check on them to make sure they are doing okay. Not everyone is comfortable with technology or having their face shown on a screen for everyone to see, so we make periodic calls, send text messages or emails just to let our regulars know that we are still here for them. One program that NAMI Mid-Carolina discontinued earlier this year made an amazing comeback during the month of October. During the latter part of 2019, it was decided that we would discontinue our monthly education meetings due to lack of attendance. However, we decided to bring them back virtually to observe Mental Illness Awareness Week. Each day for the entire week, we had an online education meeting featuring different speakers and topics. The topics included information on self-care, trauma, work-related mental health and art therapy. We even had an amazing presentation by NAMI SC’s Paige Selking on considerations for students when reopening schools. The week of programs was very informative and well attended. Far better attended than the in-person meetings had been. We look forward to hosting more online education meetings in 2021. Although our groups are continuing and thriving, NAMI Mid-Carolina, like other nonprofits, did take a financial hit due to the pandemic. Our in-person NAMIWalks which was scheduled for May 2nd, not only had to be rescheduled but had

to transition to virtual as well. We fell far short of our goal of $65,000. Fortunately, other streams of revenue were made available to us through various other entities. We had our best year ever for Midlands Gives, we successfully applied for PPP funding and we received an unexpected and extremely generous contribution from NAMI SC. These funds have helped us to make up for our NAMIWalks deficit and allowed us to continue to provide services in our area.

to volunteer their services to help our youth develop the skills they need to be happy and successful. So, if you know of anyone with a special talent that might be helpful, please send them our way. We are very excited about the upcoming year. We know that things won’t change overnight, but we know that we are ready to offer the support and guidance that people will need once we have shifted back to some form of normalcy.

Another exciting source of income we were able to secure was a program grant from NAMI National. With funding through this grant, NAMI Mid-Carolina plans to implement a parent support group. This group will be for parents of school age children and will be co-facilitated by an education professional. Parents of young children with mental illness have different needs than parents with older children at home. It is not always easy for parents to know where to go to get the resources they need to help their children succeed academically. We are currently looking for parents of students living with mental illness to become facilitators for the group so that they can share their lived experiences. We will also host a bi-monthly Youth Group that will be co-facilitated by a Licensed Practical Counselor. The purpose of the Youth Group is to help participants develop coping skills that can help them in their dayto-day life. Along with the LPC, there will also be a subject-matter expert who can expose the students to outlets such as journaling, art therapy, music therapy, exercise and meditation, just to name a few. We are looking for people to 13 | NAMI SC | Winter 2021

More from South Carolina Affiliates 8 ¡ NAMI MISSISSIPPI

We had several affiliates rise to the challenge when we faced the reality of the Covid-19 restrictions. The online support groups supplied a continued sense of connection and community for those facing the challenges related to mental health conditions. NAMI SC affiliates completed 187 NAMI Connection Support Groups with 1,167 people attending and most of those groups were online beginning in March 2020. The number of NAMI Family Support

Groups completed in 2020 was 183 with a total of 1,319 attending! In addition, the affiliates opened the groups to anyone across the state, so those who don’t have an affiliate near them or those who have been unable to attend in person were able to take part. Some people said they liked this option, because they wanted to attend meetings more than once a week, especially with the added pressures everyone faced this year.

their online classes and several presentations to any one in the state. We completed 4 Family to Family classes with 58 graduates. We completed 26 In Our Own Voice presentation to 391 people. NAMI Greenville did the majority of those presentations: 24 to 346 people!

NAMI SC Affiliates also opened

803-424-1002 lnlgraham@toast.net Contact: Larry Graham Address: N/A Counties Serving: Kershaw county

803-905-5620 fharmon1@sc.rr.com Address: P.O. Box 3842 Sumter, SC 29151 Counties Serving: Sumter, Clarendon, Lee

PeeDee 803-610-8174 info@nampiedmont.org Contact: Katie Durkee namipiedmont.org Address: P.O. Box 3626 Rock Hill, SC 29732 Counties serving: York, Chester and Lancaster

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843-413-1500 lbhanna3@joimail.com Contact: Lou Hanna Address: 601 Maynard Ave., Florence, SC 29505 Counties Serving: Florence, Darlington, Dillon, Marion, and Marlboro

Education Programs


NAMI Basics OnDemand is an online 6-session education program for parents, caregivers and other family members who provide care for youth (ages 22 and younger) who are experiencing mental health symptoms. This program is at no cost to participants. The OnDemand program is guided by parents and family members with lived experience but is self-paced and available 24/7. OnDemand offers the flexibility of participating in the course on your schedule. Both formats provide identical information, strategies and the opportunity to connect with other parents and caregivers.

NAMI Ending the Silence is an engaging presentation that helps audience members learn about the warning signs of mental health conditions, suicide awareness and prevention, and what steps to take if you or a loved one are showing symptoms of a mental health condition. NAMI Ending the Silence presentations include two presenters: one who shares an informative presentation and a young adult with a mental health condition who shares their journey of recovery. Audience members can ask questions and gain understanding of an often-misunderstood topic. Through dialogue, we can help grow the

movement to end stigma. Free of cost to schools and communities

NAMI Family Support Group is a free of cost peer-led support group for any adult with a loved one who has experienced symptoms of a mental health condition. Gain insight from the challenges and successes of others facing similar experiences. NAMI’s support groups are unique because they follow a structured model, ensuring everyone has an opportunity to be heard and to get what they need.

NAMI Family-to-Family is a free, 8-session educational program for family, significant others and friends of people with mental health conditions. It is a designated evidenced-based program. This means that research shows that the program significantly improves the coping and problem-solving abilities of the people closest to a person with a mental health condition. NAMI Family-to-Family is taught by NAMI-trained family members who have been there, and includes presentations, discussions and interactive exercises.

NAMI Peer-to-Peer is a free, eight-session educational program for adults with mental health conditions who are looking to better understand themselves and their recovery. Taught by trained leaders with lived experience, this program includes activities, discussions and informative videos. However, as with all NAMI programs, it does not include recommendations for treatment

These presentations change attitudes, assumptions and ideas about people with mental health conditions. These free, 40-, 60- or 90-minute presentations provide a personal perspective of mental health conditions, as leaders with lived experience talk openly about what it’s like to have a mental health condition. If you are interested in any of our available programs you can fill out a class interest form at namisc.org/support-and-education/class-interest-form/

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NAMI’s Ending the Silence is a mental health awareness and suicide prevention program presented to youth, school staff, and families. January through March of this year, we presented to 3,957 students in 142 presentations and 629 school staff, families, and community members during 22 presentations. Like many other states, South Carolina schools abruptly moved to virtual learning in mid-March as a result of COVID-19. Up until that point the program had always been offered in-person. As a result, we had a crash course in Zoom and conducted our first virtual presentation on April 2, 2020. Knowing that schools were scrambling to adapt to online learning and concern over presenting safely to students who were virtual and potentially home alone, we did not pursue any student presentations. Instead we decided to focus on parents/care givers who as a result of stay-at-home orders and physical distancing were the most likely adults to have direct contact with youth. Isolation and the uncertainty associated with the pandemic increase the risk of mental health symptoms such as anxiety and depression. Therefore, one of our goal this year has been to ensure that parents/caregivers knew the warning signs that their child was struggling and how to get help. Since April 1, 2020, we have presented Ending the Silence virtually to 2,160 educators, families, and community members in 84 presentations. We also hosted four free screenings of the documentary Resilience on the impact of Adverse Childhood Trauma (ACEs) followed by an Ending the Silence presentation. In addition, we’ve worked on developing partnerships with statewide organizations/agencies. Since this summer we have formed part-

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-nerships with the SCPTA and SCFPA (Foster Parents Association) who are now regularly hosting Ending the Silence presentations for their members. We are also in the process of scheduling Ending the Silence presentations for DSS employees including the employees in all 29 group homes in South Carolina. During COVID-19 we have seen an increase in the number of organizations who see the need for more mental health education. We also sent articles and resources relating to children’s mental health during COVID- 19 to school contacts. In addition, we created resources and worked with schools, community organizations, and state agencies to get them to as many families around the state as possible. Our first resource was a two-sided postcard: one side had information for students and the other side had information for parents. The postcards were distributed by multiple non-profits including Harvest Hope and United Christian Ministries food banks, Homeless No More that works with homeless families, Family Connection of SC, United ‘Way of Pickens and through several SCDMH clinics. We also had multiple school districts that included them with school lunches that were distributed including 5,800 to students in Sumter School District, 2,500 to students in Rock Hill School District and 2,800 to students in N. Charleston through a partnership with Project Prevent. SCDHEC and SCDE also received electronic versions to disburse. We knew that schools realized there would be a need for mental health resources and SEL when students returned to the classroom, but wanted to emphasize the long-term need. As a result, we wrote a white paper about what schools might see when students returned based on children’s trauma response to past disasters. It also included recommendations for addressing mental health needs. The paper was shared with schools, the SCDE AcceleratED task force, and presented as part of the Webinar Series: 17 | NAMI SC | Winter 2021



Supporting the SEL Needs of Educators and Students coordinated by the SCDE’s Office of Student Intervention Services. We also turned to social media to offer encouragement and mental health information to parents, educators, and youth. On Facebook we started Parent Refresh (@namiscparentrefresh) and Teacher Refresh (@namiscteacherrefresh). We also wanted to find ways to reach youth, so created an Instagram account @endingthesilence_sc. Based on feedback received from parents and educators, we created Parent Refresh and Teacher Refresh, 30 minute interactive programs that address self-care and communication strategies. As the summer progressed we realized that the pandemic was going to continue and many students would be virtual in the Fall. The concern was finding a way to present information about mental health and suicide as safely as possible to students who were virtual and may be home alone. We always provide students with resources such as the Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the Crisis Text Line, but wanted additional safeguards as well. We worked with school counselors from several school districts to create protocols including having a breakout room available during presentations, where a student who is struggling can go and speak with a school counselor as well as sharing contact information for their school counselor. Since April 1st we have presented to 5,987 students in 186 presentations across South Carolina. We have had multiple students connect with a school counselor during a presentation, had others reach out to their counselor after a presentation, and had a number of students contacted by a counNOW'S THE TIME TO REACH OUT. selor based on comments in the chat BE A FRIEND. A Mental Health Awareness Campaign


Stigma causes the mentally ill to suffer in silence.

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More info at namisc.org/resources

box or on an evaluation.


We continue to work on providing resources throughout South Carolina including an 11x17 poster we created that lists national and statewide resources available. We sent the posters to over 2,500 middle and high school guidance offices in the state, to pediatrician’s offices, and to every DHEC clinic in the state. We also partnered with the AYA-BH CoIIN to distribute 10,000 two-sided business cards (resources on one side and mental health symptoms and suicide warning signs on the other) and 5,000 magnets (the resource side of the business cards). Some of the distributors include the SC Coroners Association, the 28 pediatric practices involved in SC’s QTIP program, non-profits that work with families, SC Foster Parents Association, and DSS. We know youth are hurting. Virtual students in particular are craving interaction and struggling with continued isolation. For example, one presentation to 31 virtual students had over 500 comments in the chat box. They were asking questions, encouraging each other, and sharing their own experiences with mental health struggles. Coordinators indicate that they are seeing that over and over in presentations. They are also encountering students who are messaging them privately during presentations to share struggles and ask for help or staying after to ask questions. Many schools continue to be hesitant to discuss mental health and suicide with virtual students, but we have had overwhelmingly positive feedback from schools who have had Ending the Silence presentations and experienced firsthand the need as well as had the opportunity to connect their students with help and resources. If we could identify anything good that has come from the pandemic, it is the openness with which people have discussed their struggles with stress, anxiety and depression since COVID-19 began. Our team is hoping to build on and continue that conversation which led to the creation of our new vision statement: NAMI South Carolina’s Ending the Silence team believes that we all have mental health, that we all struggle sometimes, and that tools and coping skills are available to help us deal with anything from stress to a mental health condition. Paige Selking - Director of Ending the Silence

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NAMI South Carolina Winter 2021 Newsletter  

NAMI South Carolina Winter 2021 Newsletter