The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) North Carolina, Inc., a nonprofit grassroots organization, seeks an experienced and committed leader.  This Raleigh-based position includes promoting awareness and visibility of NAMI NC; advocating in the public arena and the legislature; creating strategies for development and fundraising; program development; office management and supervision; financial management; community and public relations/advocacy and working to strengthen our affiliates across the state.

NAMI members include families, consumers, and friends of people with mental illness.  The primary functions are support, education, and advocacy.

The ideal candidate is skilled and experienced as an advocate and in nonprofit management.  The candidate must be articulate, organized, analytical, able to write well, build a consensus, and be well grounded in mental health services and advocacy.

Education BA/BS; MA preferred; starting salary dependent on education and relevant experience. Includes health insurance and vacation/sick leave benefits

Click here for the job description

How to Apply:
Send Letter of Interest, Application and Resume to Chair of the Search Committee at recruit@naminc.org

NAMI North Carolina’s Public Policy Specialist, Nicholle Karim, was one of the guest panelists on  WRAL’s “On the Record” talk show about mental health issues brought to the surface following Robin Williams’ death. Nicholle was joined by Dr. Allen Mask, and Dr. Sarah Lisanby, chair of the department of psychiatry at Duke University.

Watch the show at http://www.wral.com/wral-tv/video/13900615/#RycRyX1UgyGVs44v.99

Consumers who are living well, in recovery, with a mental illness, and who have a personal experience in jail, ability to independently get to Raleigh meetings every other month for 2 hours, and an interest and passion for this subject can apply to serve on the State Prison Advisory Committee. Interested candidates should fill out the form here and return it to the NAMI NC office (instructions provided in form) by September 18.

Helpline Manger, Gloria Harrison was featured on a WRAL news segment about the help and support NAMI NC offers in the wake of Robin Williams’ death.

Click here to read the story and watch the video.

Robin Williams 2011a (2)" by Eva Rinaldi → Flickr: Robin Williams - →This file has been extracted from another image: File:Robin Williams 2011a.jpg.. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 via Wikimedia CommonsNAMI NC is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Robin Williams by apparent suicide. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. In North Carolina, suicide is the 8th leading cause of death among adults ages 45-64. Thoughts and behaviors related to suicide is the most common psychiatric emergency.

NAMI NC is no stranger to understanding the challenges that people with mental illness and their families face. We are here to provide support and education to those in need. Our Helpline (800-451-9682) operates Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 5:00 pm and our 34 Affiliates throughout the state provide education and support.

Events such as these can be traumatic or triggering to some. When our society focuses on the issue of suicide, it can often bring up painful memories for suicide loss survivors. It’s important to take care of ourselves and each other. Below please find a variety of resources if you or someone you know are having thoughts of suicide.

NAMI NC is a member of the Suicide Prevention Task Force that aims to provide solutions to suicide in North Carolina. We will continue to carry out our mission to promote recovery and optimize the quality of life for those affected by mental illness, by working on important issues like suicide prevention.

More on this topic:

Message from Board President, Mike Mayer: After eight very successful years Deby Dihoff, our Executive Director, has decided to retire at the end of this year. She will be greatly missed. Under her leadership NAMI NC has continued to grow and flourish, building on its original mission to be the grassroots voice on mental illness in this state. We are stronger than ever in our impact on public policy, our advocacy for the best possible recovery-focused services and supports, and our belief that families are partners in recovery.

We are very fortunate that we have several months to complete our search for a new Executive Director and to assure a successful transition. I have asked Carol Matthieu, a long-term member of the Board of Directors and our current Board Secretary, to lead the search committee which is currently being formed and will include representatives from all of our constituencies. We will have more information about the application process in the very near future.

The organization is in excellent shape with strong staff, and while any leadership change presents a challenge, we have confidence in both the process and the outcome. Few nonprofits have weathered the recession in such excellent fiscal shape. Please direct your comments or questions to Carol Matthieu at carolcmatthieu@gmail.com.

I have had a wonderful challenge in leading NAMI NC to a new level over the past eight years, so it is with very mixed feelings that I have made the tough decision to retire as the Executive Director of NAMI North Carolina on December 31, 2014.

I am proud to have played a role in the extraordinary growth of the organization. We’ve expanded outreach, membership, diversity, our visibility within the state, the effectiveness and number of affiliates, and the sheer number of programs which has more than doubled during my tenure. With the help of the amazing team of staff, volunteers, affiliates and board members, NAMI NC has grown and is now thriving, despite the recent recession. It is wonderful to be associated with an organization that works endlessly to achieve our mission, to promote recovery and to optimize the quality of life for those affected by mental illness.

I am grateful to so many members, volunteers, and colleagues who have helped make this organization the strong entity it is today. Thank you for all of your support. And thank you for the many relationships that have been formed in doing this work.  I will miss working with all of you. I can’t wait to see what is next for NAMI NC!

Deby Dihoff,
Executive Director

NAMI North Carolina is very excited to release our first public service announcement! We created a 30-second television spot, with the help of FOX 50 and Fourth Rule Films, that aims to eliminate stigma by showing that mental illness is a medical condition like any other. The television spots will be airing in August and September in FOX 50 in the Triangle Area. We’ve also created companion radio and web ads. The radio spot will be airing on MIX 101.5 and the web ads will run in the Triangle, Triad and Charlotte areas.

Watch the ad here and let us know what you think!

From the filmmaker: I’m Meghan Parkansky, and I’m currently producing a documentary film about mental illness and the mental healthcare system in America. Documentary filmmaking has become a very powerful tool that can spark social movements and spearhead change. Take the recent films Blackfish and Bully, for example. Both films began national conversations that changed the way we looked at sea animal captivity and bullying. As a mental health advocate and documentary filmmaker, this is what I would like to accomplish for the cause of mental health.

If we can raise the funds to produce this film, Cynthia Lowen, the Co-Producer of the previously mentioned Bully documentary, has agreed to come on board to work on casting, post production collaboration, and outreach. This would be huge.

I have included a “perk” in my campaign that I think would bring great exposure to the NAMI Walks – As it reads on my fundraiser website:

NAMI Walks are the most successful mental health awareness events in the U.S. Members of our crew will participate in any U.S.-based NAMI walk event of your choosing. We will walk in honor of anyone you choose, film our experience, and include it in the special features on the DVD.

I’m reaching out to the NAMI organizations to ask for help spreading the word about our fundraiser with a mention in social media or their newsletter.

There is more detailed information about the project on our fundraising webpage:

Gains in Health and Education Despite Economic Challenges

Although North Carolina children have made significant long-term gains in health and education, troubling setbacks in family economic security threaten to undermine their overall well-being, according to the latest KIDS COUNT Data Book released today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. (Follow this link to view the full Data Book – http://www.aecf.org/resources/the-2014-kids-count-data-book/.)

The 2014 KIDS COUNT Data Book examines 16 measures of child well-being in four categories ranking states from 1 to 50 according to their outcomes for children. North Carolina ranks 34th in the nation for overall child well-being, faring among the worst states for Economic Well-Being (38), and performing only slightly better for Family and Community (36), and Health (32). North Carolina received its highest rank in Education (28).

“We know what children need to be successful—a healthy start in life, stable families, a quality education, and safe and secure communities,” said Laila A. Bell, director of research and data at NC Child, home of the NC KIDS COUNT project. “These data show our children are at risk of falling behind in key areas, leaving them underprepared to compete and excel in the 21st century economy.”

In 2012, 26 percent of children in North Carolina lived in poverty, up 24 percent from 2005. Studies show poverty is one of the greatest threats to healthy growth and development, dampening life trajectories and placing children at risk for a slate of poor outcomes, including reduced academic achievement, high dropout rates, health problems, substance abuse, and greater likelihood of living in poverty during adulthood.

The data suggest North Carolina families are still reeling from the harsh impact of a poor economy. One in three children in North Carolina (33 percent) lives in a family where their parents lack secure employment or have a high housing cost burden (34 percent).

“North Carolina ranks a low 39th for child poverty and a greater share of our children are being raised in high poverty neighborhoods than in West Virginia,” said Bell. “It is important that we invest in solutions that have been shown to help children overcome the negative effects of poverty, like high-quality early education. Unfortunately, more than half of our children ages 3 to 4 are currently not attending preschool, and our legislators have debated proposals to restrict—not expand—access to early education in recent years.”

North Carolina children fared better in the Health domain, improving three out of the four indicators by 20 percent or more during a five-year period. The percentage of children without health insurance declined by 20 percent to 8 percent in 2012; child and teen deaths declined by 21 percent to 27 per 100,000 children ages 1 to 19 in 2010; and, the percentage of teens ages 12 to 17 who reported abusing alcohol or drugs in the past year fell by 25 percent to 6 percent in 2011-2012.

North Carolina slipped one spot in Education, but a closer look at the data reveals significant gains in high school graduation. Between 2005/2006 and 2011/2012, the share of high school students not graduating on time declined by a quarter to 21 percent.

“A well-educated workforce is a powerful tool that drives economic growth,” said Bell. “By 2018, 59 percent of all jobs in North Carolina will require some education beyond high school. Getting students to graduate on time is an important first-step toward ensuring more North Carolina students are on the pathway toward postsecondary education and training.”


Long-Term Trends Highlight the Importance of Strategic Investments

This year’s Data Book marks the 25th edition of the report, which has evolved over time to offer an increasingly sophisticated view of how children fare nationally and by state. Bell says long-term trends highlight the difference effective programs and high quality practice can make in improving child well-being today and over time.

“In two decades, North Carolina has made tremendous progress in reducing the percentage of uninsured children, boosting high school completion rates, and preparing children to read and do math proficiently,” said Bell. “These gains started with strategic investments in public programs like CHIP, preschool, and early intervention—to name a few. In order to preserve and build on this progress we must work together—advocates, citizens, businesses, legislators and communities—to ensure children are a priority on the policy agenda.”

The 2014 KIDS COUNT Data Book is available online at http://www.aecf.org/resources/the-2014-kids-count-data-book/.
NC Child is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to advancing public policies that improve the lives of North Carolina children. NC Child works statewide to ensure that all children are healthy, safe, well-educated, and economically secure by engaging communities and informing and influencing decision-makers. For more information, visit www.ncchild.org.

By Dania Douglas, NAMI State Advocacy Manager

“My mental condition was horribly debilitating for many years. I had no reason to get out of bed in the morning….I had no direction and no purpose. Now, when my feet hit the floor, I get to go to work every day and practice my passion.” – Stephanie Joseph, CPA, Office Administrator NAMI, Montgomery County.

Ask 100 different people what work means to them, and you are likely to get 100 different responses. It can simply mean a source of income; it can provide a purpose; it can create order in life; it can be an opportunity for creativity and building something new; it can be a chance to help others.

People with mental illness work successfully in a range of professions: at artists, scientists, famers, engineers, lawyers, construction, workers, chefs. Look anywhere and you will find people with mental illness leading and innovating.

Yet, the reality in America is that many people with mental illness are either unemployed or underemployed. Bouts of illness, difficulty concentrating, trouble communicating with co-workers, medical appointments and absences from work can make getting and keeping a job difficult. Stigma and discrimination can also be great barriers to overcome.

NAMI just released a report, Road to Recovery: Employment and Mental Illness, which explores the current state of mental illness and employment in the United States. It examines the reasons for low unemployment rates among people with mental health conditions, and describes the most effective supported employment programs that have been developed to date. The report is also a call to action for policymakers and advocates. It includes policy recommendations and model legislation that leaders could use to make supported employment programs available to the people who need them.

Almost 80 percent of the nearly 7 million individuals served by the public mental health system in this country are unemployed. About 60 to 70 percent of these same people want to work and would work if they had appropriate support. The current employment support systems we have in place are simply not effective for most people with mental health conditions. It is time for a change.

The good news is that there are employment programs that have been studied, tested, and shown to help people with mental illness choose, get and keep a job.

Individual Placement and Support (IPS) Supported Employment is a system that focuses on rapid placement in competitive employment and in jobs that match an individual’s talents and interests. IPS has a strong evidence-base shown to significantly improve the opportunities for people with mental illness to find and keep employment.

Clubhouses are community centers open to anyone with a mental illness. Clubhouses offer a variety of employment services including transitional employment and independent employment programs. Both have been proven through research to help improve opportunities to find and keep employment.

Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) is a team-based system that provides intensive support services to people with serious mental illness in the community whenever and wherever they are needed 24/7. Every ACT team should include a vocational specialist. ACT has a proven track record of helping people find and keep employment.

When we invest in programs that work, we invest in real lives, in real people, in real success and real recovery.

Click here to read the complete report.

Click here to read the USA coverage.

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