Hello, NAMI-CVA Members & Friends!

It's only March and 2016 has proven to be a very busy year already for NAMI-CVA! Let's take a look at what we've accomplished and what is to come!
In This Issue:

Hello to our NAMI CVA family, the past couple months, I have been encouraging everyone to be more involved, engaging and participative with NAMI CVA. This month, I want to discuss some tips I found through an agency called Trillium Family Services in Portland, Oregon:

 “Ways to Reduce Stigma and Become a Mental Health Advocate”
1. Begin a discussion with your family, friends, or social network about a mental health topic even if it does not pertain to you specifically. Sharing, liking and commenting on posts directly from the NAMI CVA (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) is a great way to do this!

2. Forward a mental health-related article to a friend or family member or post links to your social media to spread awareness about emotional health topics to start and keep conversations going.

3. Read an article on a mental health topic that you have been curious about or are interested in.

4. Watch a documentary about a mental or behavioral health. There are many TV shows about these issues available, as well.

5. Call or meet with a trusted friend or family member if you have been feeling down, stressed or anxious and tell them how you are feeling. It can feel difficult to reach out at first, but the more you do it, the easier it becomes. The people in your life who love you will welcome this as a sign of trust and it will facilitate closeness in your most treasured relationships.

6. If you have a friend or family member who you have been concerned about, call them to see how they are feeling. Listen intently and without judgment. Often times, just being there for someone who is struggling with their mental health is enough to make all the difference in the world!

7. Write down what your stereotypes, prejudices and potentially discriminatory behaviors are regarding specific mental health issues (e.g. depression, stress, bipolar disorder, addiction, etc.) Looking at our own misconceptions and naming them is the first step toward releasing them.

8. Ask someone who has openly shared that they have lived with mental health issues what their experience has been like. Chances are good that, since they have already come out about their struggle, your interest will validate the importance of their having told their story. This will be both healing for them, and educational for you.

9. Read a book about a mental health subject that you have been curious about or are interested in.

10. Research mental health policies and write a letter to political representatives (members of Congress, senators, mayors, etc.) to educate them about mental health struggles or to offer your opinion on a specific policy. — and be sure to vote! Your voice matters.

11. Attend a conference or seminar on mental or behavioral healthcare. Education is the key to advocacy. The more you know, the more you can be of service to yourself and to your community.

Things you can do in your daily lives…

1. Join a support group. There are lots of ways to reduce stigma around the struggles we face in our daily lives. Talking with others who are experiencing similar struggles is a great way to break down the internal barriers many of us face.

2. Be careful of the language you use. Stop using words that are offensive, degrading and hurtful to describe someone with an emotional issue, or as a put-down or descriptor for a situation. There are ways of politely correcting the use of problematic language with others in your life, as well. Sometimes a bit of awareness is all it takes! This is a great tool for fighting stigma.

3. Along those same lines, beware of labels. Saying someone is “a schizophrenic” or “an addict” implies their identity is based on their illness or behavioral struggle. Instead, saying “a person living with schizophrenia” or “a person struggling with addiction” shows that they have more to them than their diagnosis. As the saying goes, “Labels are for jars, not people.”

4. Get involved in supporting a mental health organization – YOU ARE ALREADY DOING THIS ONE by being a member of NAMI-CVA!

Thanks everyone, lets all work on this together, and until next month, all my best.
NAMI General Meeting - Thursday, March 10th 

7:00 P.M. - 8:30 P.M. 
featuring a presentation by:
The Honorable Judge Lucretia A. Carrico (Retired) Petersburg - 
"Mental Health Dockets"
Upcoming Classes
In order to register for any of these upcoming programs, please contact the office at 804-285-1749, or email jeff.conley@namicentralvirginia.org
Richmond Peer-to-Peer
Parham Doctors’ Hospital
Medical Office Building (MOB) III, Suite 312
7702 E. Parham Rd. Richmond, VA 23294
Thursday Afternoons
March 10 – May 12
3:30 – 5:30 
Hopewell Peer-to-Peer 
John Randolph Medical Center
Wellness Pavilion Conf. Room
411 W. Randolph Rd. Hopewell, VA 23860

Wednesday Afternoons
March 30th  – June 1st
3:00 P.M  – 5:00 P.M.  
Richmond Family-to-Family
First Presbyterian Church
Room To Be Determined
4602 Cary St. Rd., Richmond, VA 23236 
6:00 to 8:30 P.M.
March 28 – June 13th
Monday Evenings
Hopewell Peer-to-Peer
John Randolph Medical Center
Wellness Pavilion Conf. Room
411 W. Randolph Rd. Hopewell, VA 23860
6:00 to 8:30
Monday Evenings
March 14th  – May 30th
                             Mental Health First Aid for Youth

What: 1-Day Workshop for Individuals to assist youth/young  adults in recognizing mental health risk/crisis
When: March 30th 2015
            8:00 A.M. - 5:00 P.M.
Where: NAMI Central Virginia Office
             1904 Byrd Avenue, Suite 207
             Richmond, VA 23230
Cost: FREE (Lunch is not provided) 
Program Director Kathy Harkey Featured on WRIC 8
Kathy will be speaking on the work NAMI CVA does, and the upcoming Golf Tournament in an interview with Barry Moore from Haley Buick GMC! 

Set to air March 13th, at 8:45 A.M. on Channel 8

Our intern, Katelynn Jarrells, has developed a survey ! Please consider participating by clicking this link and filling out a brief survey! Thank you.


It's almost time for NAMI Central Virginia's 4th Annual Charity Golf Tournament! 

What: 18 Holes of fun and challenging play! 
Tournament Features
  • Captain's Choice teams of 4
  • Lunch provided by NAMI-CVA
  • Dinner catered by King's Korner
  • Hole-in-one car!
  • Longest putt competition!
  • Closest to the pin contest!
  • Door prizes!
  • Goody bags for all players!

When: May 16th, 2016, 11:00 A.M. Registration, 1:00 Tee Time
Where: The Country Club at the Highlands, 8136 Highland Glen Drive, Chesterfield, Va 23838

How?: $125.00 per player, which includes lunch, dinner, cart, green fees, two mulligans, and two tickets for beer, available non-alcoholic drinks or bottled water. 

Why?: 100% of proceeds benefit NAMI-CVA programs, support groups, and resources!

Registration: Golfers and sponsors can send paper Registration Forms to our office with checks for fees included, or click here to register online
The NAMI National Convention educates, inspires and empowers a diverse community of individuals living with mental illness, family members, researchers, providers, field leaders, policy makers and educators to advance and sustain recovery from mental illness as well as act, advocate and achieve change in the mental health system across the country.

Attend the NAMI National Convention to:

• Learn how to spearhead advocacy efforts for mental health reform.
• Be inspired by top researchers sharing exciting new research and tools.
• Expand your skills and network with experts in the mental health field.
• Earn CE credits as a licensed counselor, social worker or registered nurse.

To learn more about our program offerings and help plan your trip to Denver, check out the preliminary program schedule.
Former Board Secretary Keith Kittinger presents the Distinguished Community Partner Award to HCA John Randolph Medical Center, received by Kristen Eichert, Director of Behavioral Health Outreach
April 21st is the night for NAMI Central Virginia to recognize those individuals & agencies in the region that show exemplary service in the realm of mental health: The 3rd Annual NAMI Central Virginia Awards Banquet! Nominations are being collected for anyone that you wish to recognize! Nominations may be made for the following categories: 

  • Distinguished Community Partner
  • CIT Officer of the Year
  • NAMI-CVA Members Choice
  • NAMI-CVA Mental Health Services Award
  • NAMI-CVA Outstanding Contributions Award 
  • NAMI-CVA Volunteer Champion Recognition

Forms must be submitted by April 12, 2016

Invitations to the Awards Banquet will be mailed within the next couple of weeks. Keep on the lookout and make sure you RSVP because seats fill up fast! 
Pictured left is NAMI CVA volunteer Ashanti Cheatham holding it down at our booth with tons of information and cool giveaways! 
The CBS 6 Healthy Lifestyle Expo is the largest community health event that NAMI CVA participates in, with dozens of vendors and thousands of participants! This event is always a fantastic way to let the Central Virginia community know about what NAMI CVA provides, the message of recovery & hope, and how to get involved! In addition to some fantastic outreach and a nice 1-minute plug on Channel 6, WTVR also selected NAMI CVA to receive a generous donation from the event! 

 NAMI Central Virginia would like to thank the folks at WTVR, and our friends Shelby Jennette, Dee Davies, and Neil Malakoff. Also, our 'Expo Team' did a wonderful job working the event. A huge thanks goes out to Ashanti Cheatham and her mother, Tina Bishop, Tab Battle, Jim Shanley, Margaret Loew-Cooney, Darryl Matthews, and Sharon Moore!
        Each year, NAMI Central Virginia holds the Holiday Party in December to offer our members and friends another opportunity for fellowship and celebration. It is also another avenue to spread our message of hope and recovery to many individuals affected by serious mental illness who may be facing additional challenges during the Holiday Season. 

        For the second year in a row, the Richmond Christmas Mother Fund has supported the NAMI Central Virginia Holiday Party with a $1,000 grant. These funds were used to cover some of the costs of the party including food, drinks, and the rental at Weinstein JCC. Most of the grant funds were used to purchase $5 gift cards, which were combined with other gifts collected by NAMI CVA members and distributed to individuals in need. 
        The Marshall Center was chosen as the group home that would receive most gifts this year. Additionally, gifts were dropped off at the RAFT House in Hanover County. 
Marie Parker took all of the holiday gifts out into the community, and snapped some photos with the folks at RAFT House.
Marie is pictured here with a couple of staff members from the Marshall Center. She has been spearheading delivery of holiday gifts for 16 years! 
On the morning of Wednesday, January 27, 2016 at the Virginia General Assembly building, NAMI Central Virginia, NAMI Virginia, Voices for Virginia's Children, Mental Health America of Virginia and VOCAL (Virginia Organization of Consumers Asserting Leadership) once again joined together to organize a Mental Health Advocacy Day! We want to thank everybody who was able to come out for Mental Health Advocacy Day 2016.

You are able to make a difference with your voice, experience, and support! Your participation is a driving force for mental health care legislation, in addition to many other ways in which one can be a part of change and help in ending the stigma surrounding mental health conditions!
Senator Rosalyn Dance stops for a photo-op with Program Coordinator Jeff Conley (far left) NAMI CVA Intern Katelynn Jarrells (far right), and several other mental health advocates. 
        For ten years in a row, Deep Run High School has held a massive local fundraiser known as the Deep Run Marathon Dance. The dance itself is an event where students from the high school dance for 36-hours straight (with a couple of short breaks, of course). Over this ten year period, the Marathon Dance has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for many charity organizations in the Richmond area, including NAMI Central Virginia.
        This will be our second year as a recipient of the Marathon Dance fundraiser. The students on the Dance Marathon Committee truly understand the struggle that many individuals face when dealing with mental health concerns. We are deeply grateful that the students at Deep Run are so dedicated to our cause. 

Can You Lend a Hand?

    Representatives from NAMI CVA are needed for a couple of upcoming events leading up to the Marathon Dance on Saturday, March 19th. These events require little more than a brief visit. Please contact the office if you are able to lend a hand. Here are the details: 

  •           Tuesday March 8th - Meet & Greet / Filming for dance 
  • ·         Friday March 11th Pancake Supper
  • ·         Saturday March 12th Blood Drive - Short Pump Midas
  • ·         Saturday March 19th - Dance Finale
Written by Andi Chrisman

    From December 7 - 10, 2015, I attended the Consumer Empowerment Leadership Training (CELT) offered by Mental Health America of Virginia (MHAV) in Virginia Beach, VA. The week-long CELT class is geared at Peers in recovery who want to learn more about becoming Peer Leaders in their community. The classes covers a variety of topics ranging from the history of the peer movement to advance directives to trauma awareness.. This was my first conference with MHAV and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

    We were staying at the Best Western Waterfront Hotel and the view was beautiful. We could see the ocean from our rooms, though it was one of the few cold weeks we’d had in December 2015, except the last day of the conference, where we could have even gone swimming in the ocean! We were right on the Christmas Light Parade path, and a giant set of elves poured sugar and flour into their respective giant containers right outside our bedroom balcony.. One day we even saw dolphins passing through the ocean!

     We had about 15 people in our group, and we sat at a set of tables in a U formation, so we could see each other, the teachers, and the screen, as they had multiple powerpoint and video presentations. They had rented a conference room on the bottom floor of the hotel that provided plenty of amenities: comfortable seats, a water dispenser in our room, and plenty of room to move around. Our presenters introduced themselves: Danielle Donaldson of MHAV, Kevin Kelly of Henrico Mental Health & Development Services, and Certified Peer Recovery Specialist, Heather Fossan. The conference started at 2pm, allowing me to leave Richmond that morning.

    We quickly jumped into the material, after an introductory exercise to introduce us to each other. For each section an instructor would do a presentation on a topic like Effective Communication, Leadership, or Cultural Competency. The presentation would engage us and they openly invited us to ask questions if we didn’t understand the material. We were provided with some worksheets and a legal pad ahead of time, so some lectures would involve note-taking, while others were discussions between the whole class, and other times we had a worksheet or activity that accompanied the topic. We were given regular breaks throughout the day, and from twelve to one, we would go to the hotel restaurant and have a delicious meal.

    Class ended each day at 5:00pm and then we would move back to the restaurant for dinner. We were given a menu of five items to choose from daily, and we quickly picked out our favorites. We were a bigger group than the restaurant was used to, so there was some confusion with our meals, but we were joking and laughing with our waiter by the second day. Each evening there was an optional event to do mindfulness, a drum circle, music therapy, and other fun events to bond with your fellow classmates and also wind down for the day.

    On day three, we were assigned a group project, and we picked our groups out and worked on our big project: “Addressing a Recovery Gap in Your Community”. Our group decided to focus on what recovery really means: understanding that it is a way of living life with your mental illness and not a destination where one day you’re just “better”. We used markers and our legal pad to write out a presentation with a different color for each of us to speak.

    We presented our projects on the final day. After each group of three showed off their project, using a variety of mediums and topics, we gathered outside on the final and only warm day of the conference. We took some group photos with the beach behind us. We went back in and we were presented our certificates of graduation. We cleaned up our room, said our goodbyes, and headed back home around 1pm.

    The conference was a fun and educational four days, where I met peers from all over the state. I was able to share information about NAMI to the group and passed out information for those that lived in our region and told the others to find their affiliate through nami.org. I made some good friends, got to know some old ones better, and had an exciting training with Mental Health America of Virginia. To learn more about CELT and other conferences, check out MHAV’s website.
    We are now the proud owners of a new conference room, connected right next to our office. Now we will be able to hold meetings, trainings, programs, classes and other events right here in our easily located and accessible conference room. We cannot wait for you to see it!
Regina Cason
This month, NAMI Central Virginia wanted to share a little bit about Regina Cason. She is in this picture (left) with fellow CVA volunteer Jennifer Giles.

Regina moved from San Diego, California to Chester a little over a year ago when her husband was assigned to Ft. Lee. She was involved with the San Diego affiliate, and wanted to continue doing In Our Own Voice here with us. Regina immediately got into the field, regularly presenting at John Randolph Medical Center in Hopewell, Chesterfield CIT, Crater (Petersburg) CIT, and several others. 

In the next month or so, Regina's husband is retiring from his military service, and the two of them are relocating to Texas. Her dedication and service has been a great help to the IOOV program and advancing our mission.

Thanks for all of your hard work, Regina! From all of us at NAMI CVA, best of luck, and safe travels!