The NAMI NC community mourns the passing of Mike Mayer, PhD, a dear friend, advocate, leader, and man who as former Executive Director Deby Dihoff stated “had a life well lived.”  He was an accomplished professional who was sought out for his expertise in working with people with disabilities, not only here in North Carolina, but throughout the country. But that was just a part of the great work Mike did; he also worked in other countries as well, as evidenced by his work to start a clinic in Africa. Mike’s leadership in NAMI NC as Board President helped us through the transition of our new executive director, as well as positioning NAMI NC to be a “go to” organization in the state for issues related to mental illness and those affected by it. We at NAMI NC hold Mike’s family in our thoughts and prayers as we all say goodbye to a dear friend, who indeed, had a life well lived.

NAMI North Carolina is aware of the proposed changes to funding strategies to the Cardinal LME/MCO service array. There has been much discussion and speculation about these changes and how they will impact services for both Medicaid and non-Medicaid members. With so much constant change in the mental health system, we, along with our members, have rightfully become skeptical about sudden changes that lack clarity. While it may be easy to immediately react to these changes, NAMI North Carolina values doing our due diligence and gathering as much information that is available.

After careful consideration of the bulletin and discussions with Cardinal leadership, we have been assured that the service array is not changing nor are services being cut or decreased. How we understand it, these changes will allow state dollars to be used for those who have no other options -uninsured or underinsured. If medical necessity is not met under the Medicaid service definition for a member, instead of the Medicaid member using state dollars, they instead will use services created by Cardinal from Medicaid savings (B3 funds). This way, state dollars are reserved for when Cardinal members need them most; either people without insurance or Medicaid eligible people who have been unsuccessful with B3 alternative services and have been denied by Medicaid.

The General Assembly has charged the LME/MCO system with smartly investing their savings and limited resources in a socially and fiscally responsible way. Cardinal is taking an unprecedented step that may have smart payoffs. NAMI North Carolina will continue to remain diligent in our observations and communications around this issue. Whenever there is innovation, we monitor closely to ensure the changes have positive impacts on care, health outcomes, and overall experience with the mental health system.

If you are in the Cardinal catchment area, please contact the state office or your local affiliate and share your experience so we can better understand how this change is affecting our community.

Questions should be addressed to Public Policy Coordinator Nicholle Karim, or Executive Director Jack Register,

NAMI North Carolina will host a NAMI Smarts for Advocacy teacher training on March 11–13, 2016. The location is to be determined based on geographical location of selected affiliates and  trainees. The teacher training will allow affiliates to offer NAMI Smarts for Advocacy to their members within their community. NAMI Smarts for Advocacy is a modular, hands-on program to help members tell their story with skill and confidence and make an impact through grassroots advocacy. The NAMI Smarts curriculum consists of three 90 – 120 minute modules:

  • Module 1: Telling Your Story – participants learn how to deliver a compelling, one to two minute version of their personal story
  • Module 2: Contacting Your Policymaker – participants learn how to write attention-getting emails and make phone calls that leave a positive impression
  • Module 3: Meeting Your Policymaker – participants learn how to orchestrate successful meetings with public officials

Please forward completed applications by email to Nicholle Karim at or mail to Nicholle Karim, NAMI North Carolina, 309 W. Millbrook Rd., Suite 121, Raleigh, NC 27609. Applications accepted on a rolling basis. Deadline is January 29, 2016. Please contact Nicholle Karim if you would like an application or have questions about the application process.

Click here to download an application.

Save the date for the 6th Annual Faith Connections on Mental Illness Conference, “Growing up in Faith with Mental Illness.”

April 1, 2016 – 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

St. Thomas More Catholic Church, Chapel Hill, NC

Keynote Speaker: Rev. Gary E. Nelson, DMin
Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression: Depression is one of the top killers and is the leading cause of illness and disability in adolescents worldwide. Dr. Nelson is a pastoral counselor, United Methodist pastor, and author with over 38 years of experience working with teens and families. His son suffered depression and anxiety as a teen. Dr. Nelson used his son’s story to educate about teen depression and God’s hope and healing in his book, A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression. Dr. Nelson will present what teen depression looks like on the outside and inside, help for teens living with depression, and help for those walking the journey with teens.

Click here to download a flyer for the event.

WHO: NAMI North Carolina (National Alliance on Mental Illness)

Attendees will be: psychologists, counselors, social workers, mental health professionals and providers, nurse practitioners, government officials, students, holistic wellness providers, local management entities, advocates, child advocates, school nurses, families, individuals with lived experience, other health care professionals and interested community members.

WHAT: NAMI North Carolina’s Annual Conference: Transforming the Face of Mental Illness in North Carolina

WHEN: Friday, October 23, 2015, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday, October 24, 2015, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

WHERE: NC State University McKimmon Conference & Training Center, 1101 Gorman Street, Raleigh, NC 27606

WHY: This conference will focus on how mental health and wellness is changing in North Carolina. We will focus on the best practices in mental illness treatment, recognizing the signs of suicidal behavior across the lifespan and how trauma, depression and anxiety affect a myriad of populations. We will also address the recent changes in the structure of mental health service delivery such as: changes in understanding what a diagnosis is, how integrated care will be incorporated, funding, implementation and measurement of community programs and services, and what the structure (public or private) of the mental health system will be in the future. Additionally, we aim to educate attendees on the early signs and symptoms of mental illness, and empower them with the tools necessary for early intervention, day-to-day coping skills and how to make their voices heard. Speakers range from mental health providers, to those with lived experience (family members as well as consumers), to mental health researchers and advocates.

The Keynote address will be given by Representative Carla Cunningham. Rep. Cunningham is a native North Carolinian. She graduated from Anson Senior High school in 1980. She then received her Licensed Practical Nurse diploma from Central Piedmont Community College in 1981, her Associate’s Degree in Nursing from Gaston College in 1996, and her Bachelors of Science degree in Nursing in 2009 from Winston Salem State University. She has practiced as a health care professional since 1981 in multiple nursing fields, while also serving as a community activist.

In 2011, Governor Beverly Perdue appointed her to serve on the NC Commission for Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services. Currently, she is serving her second term in the NC General Assembly and is an advocate for health care, mental health, developmental disabilities, seniors, women, and children.

CONTACTS: Robin Kellogg, 919-788-0801, and Megan Fazekas-King, 919-788-0801,

NAMI North Carolina will be postponing trainings for NAMI Signature Programs until 2016. This is intended to enable NAMI NC staff to create stronger, more inclusive trainings that reflect the programmatic needs of affiliates around the state. Applications for program trainings will be available at the NAMI North Carolina Annual Conference. Interested individuals or affiliates can also contact Program Coordinator Seth Maid at with information about potential training participants, as well as with any questions or concerns. Thank you for all the work that you do, and NAMI North Carolina looks forward to working with you to strengthen and grow programs across the state!

During the first full week of October, NAMI and participants across the country are bringing awareness to mental illness. Each year we fight stigma, provide support, educate the public and advocate for equal care. Each year, the movement grows stronger.

We believe that these issues are important to address year round, but highlighting these issues during Mental Illness Awareness Week provides a time for people to come together and display the passion and strength of those working to improve the lives of the tens of millions of Americans affected by mental illness.

The theme of MIAW this year is #IAmStigmaFree. Use this hashtag on your posts during the week. You can also take the pledge to be stigma free!

Click here to learn more about MIAW and how you can get involved.

If you or someone you know may need a mental health assessment, anonymous online tools are available.  Learn more and help yourself or someone you care about.

NAMI North Carolina has been selected as the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Outreach Partner for 2015 for the state of North Carolina. NAMI NC joins a nationwide network of 55 mental health organizations committed to disseminating science-based information from NIMH about the causes, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental disorders, and educating the public about the importance of research and the opportunities to participate in studies.

For over a decade, NIMH has supported organizations from every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico through the Outreach Partnership Program to increase the public’s awareness about the importance of mental health to overall health as well as the recognition that mental disorders are brain-based disorders, and that research is the way forward to understanding how best to treat, prevent, and ultimately cure mental illness.

The National Institute of Mental Health is one of 27 components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Federal government’s principal biomedical and behavioral research agency. NIH is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

North Carolina has made great strides to curb tobacco addiction, but one out of every five North Carolinians is still smoking. According to new data from Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the number of smokers nationwide has fallen to 15 percent, yet in North Carolina, it is more than 20 percent. We still have work to do.

That’s why we are joining together with more than 50 other organizations – including leading patient groups, health care delivery systems, nonprofits, and state and local agencies – to launch “Race to Quit, NC.”

This groundbreaking campaign represents the first time that the state’s leading health care advocates have come together to offer North Carolinians help they need to win their battles with smoking and tobacco use. We know the vast majority of tobacco users know of these dangers and have tried unsuccessfully to quit, but they might not be aware of the support that exists to help them in the fight.

During the Race to Quit, NC launch week October 5-9, campaign partners will hold events to raise awareness of the campaign and to promote the campaign website. The site, which has launched but is still being fully developed, will feature educational materials and comprehensive resources to help tobacco users quit. You can also follow the campaign on social media via the hashtag #RacetoQuitNC.

Together, we can help North Carolinians break the cycle of tobacco use and cross the finish line to a tobacco-free life.

Well-known author and mental-health advocate Pete Earley will be the featured speaker at the Center’s second annual No Limits Gala fundraiser, November 12, 2015, at the George Watts Hill Alumni Center on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus.

The event is set for 6:30–9:00 p.m. The evening begins with a reception, followed by dinner and Pete Earley discussing his book “Crazy: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness,” which chronicles his experience as a father seeking answers and care for his son who was diagnosed with bipolar mental illness. Crazy was a 2007 Pulitzer Prize finalist.

Additionally, three family members from the Foundation of Hope (Foundation of Hope for Research and Treatment of Mental Illness) will receive the Center’s Community Mental Health Advocacy Awards for their contributions toward improving mental health. Shelley Eure Belk and Van Eure, along with Van’s  husband, Steve Thanhauser, will be recognized at the Gala. The Foundation of Hope for Research and Treatment of Mental Illness was founded by Thad Eure, Jr., in 1984 to support research to find cures for mental illness.

Proceeds from the fundraiser will benefit Center programs that serve individuals with serious mental illness.

For additional information, contact Ed Binanay at or register for the  Gala at

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