RALEIGH, NC (April 2, 2014) – The National Alliance on Mental Illness North Carolina (NAMI NC) will be holding its tenth annual NAMIWalks on Saturday, May 3 at Dorothea Dix Campus in Raleigh. NAMIWalks is a 2.4 mile walk to raise awareness and support for North Carolinians living with mental illness. Proceeds from the walk will be used for critical mental health programs, education, support and advocacy.

NAMI North Carolina’s tenth annual NAMIWalks will bring together over 1,500 mental health consumers, family members and friends, volunteers, mental health professionals, and private and corporate sponsors from across the state. Registration for the event begins at 9 a.m. on the Dorothea Dix Campus in Raleigh. The walk, which begins at 10 a.m. will also include family fun, featuring bounce houses, prizes, Kona Ice of Raleigh, corn hole, refreshments, Zumba™, yoga and music. The walk is dog-friendly.

“One in four Americans are affected by mental illness, and yet less than one-third of adults and half of children with a diagnosable mental disorder receive any mental health services in a given year,” said Deby Dihoff, Executive Director of NAMI NC. “NAMIWalks brings the community together to raise awareness that recovery is possible and treatments work, and to raise support for vital services. It is time to focus on the need for an improved mental health system, which recognizes signs of mental illness and provides quick access to services.”

NAMI North Carolina is pleased to announce that Bruce Mildwurf, Reporter and Anchor with WRAL-TV is serving as the Honorary Chair for NAMIWalks. Melissa Arkin, CEO of Strategic Behavioral Health, will serve as our Business Team Chair.

There is no fee to participate in the walk. Those who raise at least $100 will receive a t-shirt.

To register to walk, go online to namiwalks.org/northcarolina. For more information call 919-788-0801 or email Robin Kellogg at rkellogg@naminc.org.

About NAMI North Carolina

For 30 years, NAMI North Carolina has provided free support groups, education programs, and advocacy efforts throughout North Carolina. NAMI NC is the state’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to promoting recovery and optimizing the quality of life for those living with mental illness. Founded in 1984, NAMI NC has become North Carolina’s voice on mental illness, serving 34 local affiliates across North Carolina, who join together to meet the NAMI mission. For more information on programs, our advocacy efforts and the 34 affiliate organizations in North Carolina, visit our website at www.naminc.org.

“NAMI Homefront” is based on the evidence-based NAMI Family-to-Family education program, which has been used in recent years at U.S Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health facilities.

NAMI Homefront adapts the NAMI Family-to-Family curriculum to the unique needs of military and veterans’ communities, such as post-deployment and post-discharge transitions.

“When one person in a family is living with a mental health problem, the entire family is challenged,” said NAMI Executive Director Michael Fitzpatrick. “Families of Service Members and Veterans are not immune, particularly in the case of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).”

“NAMI Homefront’s mission is to provide education for managing conditions, provide support and to help break down the stigma of seeking help.”

In early 2014, NAMI will begin to implement the new program in six states. The free course is comprised of six peer-led sessions of instruction. Trained teachers in the program have family members who themselves are Service Members or Veterans and live with mental illness.

In a second phase, NAMI will offer a free online option nationwide. For more information on the program click here.

*Classes should be available in North Carolina starting in May. Please contact Brenda Piper for more information.

In few places are the consequences of non-treatment more visible than in jails and prisons, said the Treatment Advocacy Center

(ARLINGTON, VA.) The first national study to examine the policies and practices under which mentally ill inmates receive treatment was released today by the Treatment Advocacy Center and the National Sheriffs’ Association.

The Treatment of Persons with Mental Illness in Prisons and Jails: A State Survey” reports that 10 times more individuals with serious mental illness are in state prisons and county jails than in the nation’s remaining state mental hospitals – an estimated 356,000 mentally ill inmates compared with 35,000 patients.

The consequences of failing to treat individuals with serious mental illness in prisons and jails are usually harmful and sometimes tragic, the survey found. Without medication, the symptoms of the inmates’ mental illness become worse, leading them to sometimes behave in disruptive and bizarre ways. Such mentally ill inmates are vulnerable to being beaten, raped or otherwise victimized; are frequently put in solitary confinement for long periods; and sometimes mutilate themselves or commit suicide. Mentally ill inmates also contribute to the overcrowding of prisons and jails and to the increasing cost of corrections for both states and counties.

North Carolina uses a committee procedure allowed under a 1990 U.S. Supreme Court decision for providing involuntary treatment for prison inmates with serious mental illness whose symptoms render them dangerous or likely to deteriorate into dangerousness. This procedure is now sanctioned by law for state prisons in the majority of states and for a few county jails but it is only rarely used. Barriers to similar treatment for county jail inmates who are symptomatic result in the use of restraints, seclusion or observation rather than medication, the report said.

In almost every state, a prison or jail is now de facto the largest mental institution in that state. In North Carolina, the Mecklenburg County Jail in Charlotte and Wake County Jail in Raleigh probably both hold more individuals with serious mental illness than any of the three remaining state hospitals, according to the study.

“The lack of treatment for seriously ill inmates is inhumane and should not be allowed in a civilized society,” said Dr. E. Fuller Torrey, founder of the Treatment Advocacy Center and lead author of the study. “This is especially true for individuals who – because of their mental illness – are not aware they are sick and therefore refuse medication.”


•    Maintain a functional public mental health treatment system so people with mental illness do not end up in prisons and jails

•    Reform mental illness treatment laws and practices to eliminate barriers to timely treatment before people commit crimes

•    Reform jail and prison treatment laws so prisoners with mental illness receive appropriate and necessary treatment,  just as inmates with other medical illnesses already do

•    Use court-ordered outpatient treatment – identified by the Department of Justice as an evidence-based practice for reducing crime and violence – to help at-risk individuals live more safely and successfully in the community

•    Implement and promote jail diversion programs

•    Institute mandatory release planning. A recent study reported that inmates who are not treated following
release have an almost four times higher rate of committing additional violent crimes compared to those who receive treatment.

“The mistreatment of inmates in jails in prisons, including the denial of proper medical care, is a national embarrassment and has led to international condemnation,” Torrey said.  “Mentally ill individuals who end up in prison or jail should be treated for their mental illness just as they should be treated for their diabetes or hypertension.”

The full report is available at: www.tacreports.org/treatment-behind-bars.

The Treatment Advocacy Center is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating barriers to the timely and effective treatment of severe mental illnesses. The nonprofit promotes laws, policies and practices for the delivery of psychiatric care and supports the development of innovative treatments for and research into the causes of severe and persistent psychiatric illnesses, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

The organization does not accept money from pharmaceutical companies. The American Psychiatric Association awarded the Treatment Advocacy Center its 2006 presidential commendation for “sustained extraordinary advocacy on behalf of the most vulnerable mentally ill patients who lack the insight to seek and continue effective care and benefit from assisted outpatient treatment.”

Hats off to NAMI Guilford for their new Fairway billboard posted in Guilford County!


The Subcommittee on Health held a hearing on Thursday, April 3, 2014, at 10:30 a.m. in 2322  Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing focused on H.R. 3717, the “Helping Families in Mental Crises.”

One of the panelists Mrs. Thompson, patient advocate and president of NAMI Westside Los Angeles (around  22 minutes into the video) speaks for family members, as a daughter representing her mother that spoke seven languages fluently, knew every opera and was a gifted pianist; however, she did not know she was ill –its called anosognosia.  Below is only parts of her five minute testimony.

“My mother was severely mentally ill from as far back as I could remember. So growing up in my family was like living in a combat zone.  It never felt safe because of her drastic mood changes and paranoia and grandiose ideas and inappropriate anger.  Our family was paralyzed to help her because she did not believe she was ill. Its called anosognosia. I’m a firm believer in self determination, but for those who are capable.  We must recognize there is a whole group of people like my mother – severe mental illness untreated.”

A consumer Mrs. Jenson from Kansas speaks against parts of this bill around 33.24 of the video and other parts Dr. Shern with Mental Health America. Panel with five witnesses are followed by committee members asking questions. Mrs. Jenson has also written a book of her experiences.

Click here for more about the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act

The N.C. Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VR), which provides counseling, training, education, transportation, job placement and other support services to people with physical, psychiatric and intellectual disabilities, is seeking public input through a series of meetings to help update the state plan for delivery of its services. The plan, updated annually, will become effective Oct. 1.

The public meetings are scheduled for 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the following locations on the dates indicated:

  • Lumberton, May 5, Robeson Community College, SBC Workforce Development Center, Building 18, BB&T Conference Room, 5160 Fayetteville Rd., Lumberton, N.C. 28358; phone (910) 272-3631
  • Washington, May 6, Beaufort County Community College, Allied Health Nursing Building (Bldg. 12), Room 1204, 5337 HWY 264 East, Washington, N.C. 27889; phone (252) 946-6194
  • Hickory, May 12, Catawba Valley Community College, East Campus, Room 975, 2760 Hwy. 70 SE, Hickory, N.C. 28602-8304; phone (828) 327-7000
  • Albemarle, May 13, Stanly Co. Library,133 East Main St., Albemarle, N.C. 28001; phone (704) 986-3755
  • Durham, May 20, Durham Co. Library, 300 North Roxboro St., Durham, N.C. 27701; phone (919) 560-0163

In addition to the general public, those who may find the meetings of interest are people who receive VR services and their families, those who work in human services programs, advocates for people with disabilities and potential employers of people with disabilities.

Discussion topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Strategies to improve outreach to underserved populations and disability groups
  • Priorities that individuals with disabilities would like the public VR program to address
  • Eliminating barriers to participation by individuals with disabilities in the VR program and the state’s supported-employment program
  • The responsiveness of VR services to its consumers
  • Improving VR services to high-school students with disabilities

Attendees may register to speak upon arrival at the meetings or in advance by calling Alma Atkinson at (919) 855-3530. Speakers are encouraged to bring a written copy of their comments. People who are unable to attend one of the meetings may provide input by sending written comments by May 25 to Jeff Stevens, 2801 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-2801.

Comments may also be  e-mailed to dvr.m.stateplan@dhhs.nc.gov or faxed to: State Plan Comments at (919)715-1050. The current state plan is available at  http://www.ncdhhs.gov/dvrs/stateplan.htm .

The scheduled meeting locations are accessible to people with disabilities. Sign-language interpreters will be present. If you plan to attend and need other accommodations, please contact Ms. Atkinson at (919) 855-3530 by April 24. For additional information, contact Jeff Stevens at (919) 855-3531 or e-mail jeff.stevens@dhhs.nc.gov.

NAMI North Carolina was delighted when the Federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) dropped its plans for overhauling the Medicare prescription drug program after a proposed rule in January was met with withering criticism from industry stakeholders, patient groups and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle. Two North Carolina lawmakers, Congresswoman Renee Ellmers and Senator Kay Hagan, took a stand against the proposed rule and we wanted to thank them for their efforts. At our Eastern Regional Conference on March 29, attendees had the opportunity to sign the thank you letters to each lawmaker. Their efforts in opposing this rule change mean that individuals living with serious mental illness will continue to have access to life-saving drugs that work best for them.

(Click the images to open the PDF)

2013-2014 NAMI Program Trainings Announced!

April 26, 2014 – Parents and Teachers as Allies Team Training – Peer Recovery Center, Morehead City
May 23-25, 2014 – Family Support Group Facilitator Training

* All dates are tentative and training sites will be determined by area where most interest is received no later than 1 month before the training.

For more information and applications, click here

Jess Krall, husband of Judith Krall, Interim President of NAMI Moore County passed away on Thursday, 3/27/2014 at 7:55am at the First health Rehabilitation facility in Pinehurst.  There will soon be a private family Celebration of Life service in memory of Jess.  Please see the attached Obituary

Memorial donations can be made in memory of Jess Krall to:

NAMI Greater Wheeling Area
Marian House Project
P. O. Box 6027
Wheeling, WV 26003


NAMI Moore County
P. O. Box 4823
Pinehurst, NC  28374

NAMI Western Carolina president Bill Kinschner died Thursday, March 28, of a heart attack while working in mental health ministry in Romania. Bill’s death follows that of his wife and ministry partner, Bonnie, on January 13. Further updates will be posted as they are available. Our deepest sympathies to the family.

Bill had two daughters, Janet (Doug) and JoAnne (Jonathan), and two grandchildren Nathan 16 and Rachel 14.

Bill’s celebration of life service in Asheville will be Friday, April 11th at 11am at the Lutheran Church of the Nativity. The address is 2425 Hendersonville Road, Arden, NC 28704.  The phone number is 828 684-0352. The Toledo Service on Saturday May 10th is at 10am at Hope Lutheran Church 2201 Secor Rd, Toledo, Ohio 43606. Their phone is 419 536-8383.

NAMI North Carolina Executive Director, Deby Dihoff, was recently asked to be a panelist on the Carolina Business Review talk show featuring Mental Health Policy in the Carolinas. In this two part series, Deby, along with other experts discuss the current mental health system, policy and its challenges.

Part 1

Part 2

Thank you to Carolina Business Review for inviting us to be on the panel.

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