HELENA — The National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) celebrated their 16th year of “NAMI Walks,” the nation’s largest mental health awareness and fundraising event.
September is Mental Health Awareness Month, and the 2019 NAMI walk was celebrated with friends, family, vendors, and other organizations in Memorial Park.
The 5K walk began with participants and volunteers making their way to Carroll College.
A total of 437 people, separated into 45 teams, walked in unison to advocate for mental health awareness.
About 56 percent of the NAMI Walk’s fundraising goals were met this year, with $84,000 raised toward their goal of $150,00.
It's estimated that about 20 percent of children from the ages of 13-18 experience some form of mental illness and 43.8 million adults nationwide suffer from depression in a given year.
NAMI spokesman Pete Aspinwall, said about the significance of the walk: “The whole idea behind the NAMI walk is to help dispel and lessen this whole idea of stigma that's been attached to mental illness, by making people much more aware of what mental illness is and what it is not.”
He continued, “The idea is to kind of squash stigmas as much as we can, to educate people about mental illness, and to make people aware of all of the organizations that are here to help.”
For more information on the NAMI organization and how to participate, click here to visit the website .