Hundreds gathered at Cambier Park in Naples on Saturday morning for the 17th annual Collier County National Alliance on Mental Illness walk.
About 50 vendors, sponsors and volunteer organizations set up tents at the park to bring awareness.
For Anna Barry, 16, participating in the NAMI walk was just one way she is bringing attention to mental health.
After overcoming her own challenges with mental health, the Gulf Coast High School student founded Students’ Alliance on Mental Illness, a program within NAMI that aims to provide emotional and financial services to minors struggling with mental health issues without the consent of their parents, authorized by 2018 Florida Statue 394.4784.
Last year, Barry was diagnosed and treated for depression, anxiety, bulimia and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Although she described approaching her parents about getting help as a “traumatizing experience,” Barry was able to get the help she needed through therapy that she was able to afford.
“I noticed my peers did not have the same resources I did,” she said. “Some parents don’t believe in mental health or they can’t afford getting therapy.”
There are support groups for loss and grief, but it is a much heavier to connect with the fact that someone decided to die,” he said. “The support group is for people who have lost someone to suicide a few days ago or 50 years ago.”Bob Riley – facilitator surviving after a suicide loss support group
Bob Riley keeps a photo of Kelly Humphrey tucked in his wallet.
Riley served as a “father figure” to Humphrey, who died by suicide at 17 on April 22, 1987. He belongs to Surviving After Suicide, a support group in Naples for people who have lost someone to suicide.
“There are support groups for loss and grief, but it is a much heavier to connect with the fact that someone decided to die,” he said. “The support group is for people who have lost someone to suicide a few days ago or 50 years ago.”
Riley stressed the importance of using the term “died by suicide” rather than “committed suicide” when referring to suicide victims.
“We die of many different things,” he said. “We can die of a heart attack but we can also die by suicide. That alone can help a person cope.”
By 10 a.m. the organization raised an estimated $30,000, not including online donations.
The funding is used toward programs associated with NAMI, including its emergency treatment house. es for people who have lost someone to suicide.
“This walk is not just about funding, but about awareness,” Pamela Baker, CEO of NAMI said. “It’s about bringing awareness to mental health.”
Terri Bork, a member of Ronin Riding Club in Lee County, attended the event to help spark a conversation on mental health.
“Mental Health is a big issue and it should not be as taboo as it is,” she said. “People should know what kind of help is out there.”
Rodriguez, J. (2019, February 16). Annual NAMI walk in Naples helps focus discussion on mental health. Retrieved from https://www.naplesnews.com