Insight News

Feb 07th

NAMIWalks changing minds one step at a time

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NAMIWalks is changing minds one step at a time. NAMIWalks is a 5K walk to increase public awareness of mental illness, fight stigma, and raise funds for NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. NAMIWalks Minnesota will be held at Minnehaha Park in Minneapolis on Saturday, Sept. 25 at 1 p.m. Nearly 150 walk teams and more than 2,500 people from across the state are expected to participate. NAMI provides educational classes, support groups and resource information, and advocates for better mental health services.

Mental illnesses affect persons of any age, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or socioeconomic status. One in five adults and one in ten children live with a mental illness. “The Walk brings people together to raise awareness that mental illnesses are treatable medical conditions, and that there is help and hope for children and adults with mental illness and their families,” said Sue Abderholden, executive director of NAMI Minnesota.

African Americans in the United States are less likely to receive diagnoses and treatments for their mental illnesses than Caucasian Americans. Culture biases against mental health professionals and health care professionals in general prevent many from accessing care due to prior experiences with misdiagnoses, inadequate treatment, and a lack of cultural understanding. They are often at a socioeconomic disadvantage as well in terms of accessing both medical and mental health care.

Yet African Americans are disproportionately more likely to experience social circumstances that increase their chances of developing a mental illness. They comprise 40% of the homeless population, nearly 50% of U.S. prisoners, and 45% of the children in public foster care. Of the African American children exposed to violence, over 25% meet criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder. Across a recent 15-year span, suicide rates increased 233% among African Americans aged 10 to 14 compared to 120% among Caucasian Americans in the same age group.

NAMIWalks helps break through the wall of silence around mental illness and supports NAMI’s advocacy for improved mental health services. Join in this inspiring event on September 25. Entertainment by the High & Mighty band. For information, go to and click on the NAMIWalks logo, or call (651) 645-2948 ext. 115 to register for the walk, captain a team, volunteer, or give a donation.

CIGNA Behavioral Health proudly supports NAMIWalks as a premier sponsor, along with nearly 40 corporate and individual sponsors, including UCare, Medica, HealthPartners, Regions Hospital, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, HealthEast, KARE 11, and others.

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