NAMI offers referrals, education, and support through our Helpline, which can be reached at 833-NAMI-CHI (833-626-4244) Monday through Friday from 9 am to 8 pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm. We also offer education courses, trainings, and support groups for families and individuals.
"NAMI Chicago is the local Chicago affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. We are one of the largest, most active NAMI affiliates in the country, with full-time and part-time staff." - From their website
When I decided to start my business professionally, I knew I wanted to bring joy to your taste buds with sustainable chocolate, along with uplifting my community. In the black community, mental health is rarely talked about. It’s commonly believed that we can just “tough it out” or “pray about it.” I feel like poor mental health, amongst many other things, explains why we, as a people, are so overstressed & unhappy. However, to have a better life, your mindset will have to improve, so taking care of your mental health is a must. Therefore, I wanted to make sure I had a partner who was indeed an active advocate for mental health in all communities and yet understood it’s different and challenging for minorities to fully accept it as an issue that matters.
I LOVE NAMI! NAMI is hugely active in fighting the negative stigma of mental illnesses in all communities. However, NAMI acknowledges the conversation of mental health/mental illness in POC communities is handled differently because of the culture of the people. Thus, understanding representation helps connects the message of awareness, education, and encouragement to those in the community. With that in mind, they have an extensive list of peer-lead support groups for people supporting those with mental illnesses and people with mental illnesses throughout Chicago’s culturally diverse neighborhoods.
Additionally, NAMI has a program called Ending the Silence, which includes a presentation for middle and high school students to help them understand mental illness. NAMI Chicago's Ending the Silence program travels to schools on the west side and south side of Chicago, which have a higher concentration of black and brown students. The program teaches them common warning signs and when, where, and how to get help for themselves or their friends. During the presentation, they hear the reality of what living with a mental health condition is like directly from a young adult with lived experience.
Overall, NAMI was a clear choice for me to work with because they are genuinely inclusive, their resources are abundant, and their team is absolutely marvelous. Working with them has been a true blessing, and I hope our partnership continues for a long time.