From the Desk of Jacqueline Lane, ED:
 We have spent a great deal of time here at the NAMI Cape Cod & the Islands’ office exploring programming which might have the most value for our community as a whole as we move from summer into a traditionally busy fall and holiday season. Based on our calls and discussions, and conversations, professional and personal, if one were to choose a single word to collectively describe us at this time, that word would probably be “stressed.” There are certainly multiple things about which each of us can stress. Personal and family relationships, jobs and finances, childcare and schooling, entertainment and hobbies, everything has become more challenging.

We are also constantly in the position of having to assess risk when we make everyday decisions such as going out to dinner, having a small family gathering, or even going out to the grocery store. There is so very much that is still unknown about this virus, how it spreads, the long term effects, and how the pandemic is going to play out this fall and winter and even next year.

And to make it even more difficult and distressing, the pandemic itself has become a political issue for many, adding further division to an already divided society. Fear often produces aggressive behavior and push back as we are seeing at the present time.

With the help of Dr. James McGuire, a psychiatrist and NAMI CC&I Board of Directors member, we are presenting an 8 part series based on the trauma study work of Dr. Bruce Perry. This series will include the topics of Structure, Meals, Media, Exercise, Socially Connecting, Helping Others, and Sleep.

Each topic will be explored as a component of stress relief with common, everyday techniques to implement in your and your family’s daily lives. And for those of you who are interested in the science behind these effective techniques, there will be the opportunity, with provided links, to further learn about the work of Dr. Perry and how his research on the brain and findings apply to stress and its control. If interest supports it, we anticipate presenting on line discussion groups to answer questions and share experiences. We look forward to your input as we move forward with this series.

Below, is an introduction to this series by Dr. McGuire.
From the Desk of James McGuire, MD:

The past six months have been trying (stressful) for us all! The COVID–19 pandemic has created a prolonged period of unpredictable and uncontrollable uncertainty in the presence of a virus that has disrupted the normal routines of our lives and separated us from our loved ones and friends. With the death rate from this virus approaching 200,000 in the United States alone, many of us have been left emotionally exhausted, physically fatigued, and distressed about our futures.

Alcoholics Anonymous and recovery programs advocate the use of the acronym, HALT, to remind members when they are Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired, we are in danger of not functioning at our best levels. These symptoms are signals of Stress Response System (SRS) that our brain, mind, or body sensors have recognized a threat and is automatically organizing a response to that threat. For example, if we are hungry, we need to seek food, if we are angry it indicates we sense an obstacle, if we are lonely we need to seek connection with those that we care for, and if we are tired we need to rest.

Dr. Bruce Perry MD, PhD and colleagues at the Child Trauma Academy in Houston, Texas have developed a helpful and understandable explanation I have found valuable in understanding my stress and the SRS (stress alarm system). Dr. Perry believes that our brain is a marvelous overarching operating system built from the bottom up over the course of our development from child to adolescent to adult to elder, with each stage having its own stress (survival) strategies and skills which we learn incrementally over a lifetime. Each of our SRSs (stress sensitive alarm systems) have sensors that allow us to monitor the world inside and outside of our bodies. They are turned on and off by our level of stress. When the stressor is not perceived as a danger to us, it turns itself off and you are no longer anxious, tired, in pain, or hungry.

We are at our best when we can use all the strategies and skills we have developed. When our ability to adapt to stressors is compromised, either by our level of development or the seriousness of the threat we are experiencing, our brains automatically switch gears to earlier developmental strategies. Emotionally, we switch from being calm and reflective to be being alert and assessing a danger to ourselves or family or friends. If we are not reassured of safety, we automatically become alarmed and our energies prepare us to either fight or flee. If our stress is not relieved at this point, we shift into a state of terror with one foot on the accelerator and the other on the brake of our nervous system. At this point our stress response system goes into a rage or a shutdown mode where stress signals from inside and outside the body are turned off as a final strategy for survival.

Dr. Perry emphasizes that we can learn to recognize these emotional cues in ourselves and others and then can engage in positive activities that can help us do our best. He advises that when our stress response system (SRS) is overwhelmed, we can try to make our lives less stressful by making them Predictable, Moderate, and Controllable as possible during the realities of the Covid-19 world. This is our PMC Challenge.

We will be discussing stress interventions month by month in this newsletter. If you have any experiences that have helped you (and yours) be your most effective and healthy selves, please share with us what you have learned.
Family to Family Completes Outside This Summer

Despite a difficult start (and stop) to the Family to Family course that began in Harwich this past March, Family to Family facilitators Dianne Jackson and Julie Greenspon, with help from Debbie Francis, were able to find a way to meet outside, socially distance themselves, and complete the course!

NAMI Cape & Islands greatly appreciates their efforts and commitment to support and educate family members. Family to Family is an eight week program designed to educate family and friends about mental health, and strategies to help a loved one in need while maintaining self-care.

Family to Family courses will be available in an online format going into the Fall and Winter months ahead. For information on how to find a course and register, contact the NAMI office at 508-778-4277 or email Kim at


NAMI Cape & Islands is working on a new kind of support group. One that will give people an opportunity to connect with others, and talk about how the Pandemic has affected routines, relationships, livelihood, and life in general.  We will be connecting people from similar situations such as parents with school-aged children, educators, retirees, young adults, and healthcare workers with the primary objective of creating an opportunity for mutual support, sharing creative ideas, and helping each other to manage this challenging time.
While we continue to organize groups, locate appropriate facilitators and participants, and produce a working schedule for these Zoom meetings, we welcome feedback and suggestions from the community.

If you have interest or ideas to support this concept, please contact NAMI at 508-778-4277, or send an email to:
COVID Talks for Retirees

The first monthly support group via Zoom will be on Tuesday, October 13th at 10:00 a.m. Jud Phelps will be facilitating this group designated for retirees who may be feeling isolated during this time when regular activities have been canceled, and usual schedules may have gone by the wayside.  

If you have the ability to log into a Zoom meeting, and wish to have a conversation with others who may be facing the same challenges, contact Kim Lemmon to register and receive a Zoom invitation. Call 508-778-4277 or email
The Falmouth Support Group for Families with School Age Children Will Be Resuming
The first meeting will be held via Zoom on Thursday, September 10th at 7:00 p.m.  Participants can begin signing into the meeting as early as 6:45 p.m. Julianne Sullivan will facilitate this support group; the Zoom invitation will come from her.
Please be sure that you can join from a private setting for the sake of all participants’ confidentiality. 

If you wish to participate, please contact the NAMI office at 508-778-4277 to be connected with Julianne.

*Beginning in October, the Support Group will meet the first Thursday of each month at 7:00pm.  
For Family and Friends of People with Mental Illness

 1st Thursday of month
 St. Peter's Lutheran Church
 310 Route 137
 1/4 mile south of Rt. 6, Exit 11
 6:00 – 7:00 PM
 Contact: NAMI 508-778-4277
3rd Tuesday of month
St. Mary's Episcopal Church
3055 Main St. (Rt. 6A)
7:00 – 8:30 PM
NAMI 508-778-4277
4TH Tuesday of month
Wellfleet Preservation Hall
335 Main Street
6:00 – 7:30 pm
Contact: NAMI 508-778-4277
4th Monday of month
Gus Canty Recreation Center
790 Main St.
7:00 – 8:30 PM
Contact: Bill at 
 2nd Tuesday of month
  Sherbourne Commons
 (Sherbourne House Room)
 40 Sherbourne Commons Drive
 7:00 – 8:30 PM
 Contact: Suzanne at
1st Sunday of month
Island Wide Collaborative
Martha’s Vineyard Comm. Serv.
111 Edgartown Rd, Vineyard Haven
6:00 – 7:30 PM
Contact: Maryanne DelVecchio
at 860-690-4583
2nd Tuesday of month
Island Wide Collaborative
Martha’s Vineyard Comm. Serv.
111 Edgartown Rd, Vineyard Haven
6:00-7:30 PM
Contact: Cecilia at
Support for Parents
Of School Aged Children
1ST Thursday of month
Zoom Meeting
7:00 p.m.
Sign in begins at 6:45 p.m.
Contact: NAMI 508-778-4277
Facilitator: Julianne Sullivan
Support for Parents
Schizophrenia Diagnosis
1st Tuesday of the month
400 Nathan Ellis Highway
Suite B     6:30 pm
Contact: Cliff at
Family and Friends Supporting
Borderline Personality Disorder

Zoom Meeting
2nd Wednesday of the month
Contact: Kim Lemmon
For People with Mental Illness
Every Saturday
Federated Church of Orleans
162 Main Street, East Orleans
Outside Live: 4:30-6:00
Bring a beach chair & mask

Every Sunday
Via Zoom: 3:00 -4:30
Contact NAMI – 508-778-4277
  NOTE: Meeting dates & contacts can change – Please check the NAMI CC&I website or call the office for information.
Phone: (508) 778-4277 ◦ E-Mail: Website:            
 updated 8-28.20 
 September Is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month
September is a designated time to share resources and stories in an effort to shed light on this stigmatized, and often taboo, topic. This year, we are facing greater challenges than ever before.
Click here for the quick guide to help you coordinate your Suicide Prevention Awareness Month public awareness efforts with the national office for greater impact. It has many resources to promote the month in your community, creating awareness and driving outreach.
 Throughout September, NAMI will continue to amplify its “You Are Not Alone” campaign, which builds awareness with digital tools and storytelling that make connection possible during a climate of physical distancing. The NAMI community is always here to help, reminding everyone that you are not alone.
We will also be sending a guide in mid-September for Mental Illness Awareness Week happening in October. 
These are only a few of the reasons why it’s important to take part in promoting Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Please use these facts and others, including the “It’s Okay to Talk About Suicide” infographics on our website, to encourage discussions with your community through social media or other forms of outreach.

Individual Impact:
• 75% of all people who die by suicide are male
. • Although more women than men attempt suicide, men are nearly 4x more likely to die by suicide.
• Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for people ages 10-34 and the 4th leading cause of death for people 35-54
• The overall suicide rate in the U.S. has increased by 31% since 2001
• 46% of people who die by suicide had a diagnosed mental health condition
• While half of individuals who die by suicide have a diagnosed mental health condition, research shows that 90% experienced symptoms. Community Impact:
• In 2017, suicide was: • the second leading cause of death for American Indian/Alaska Natives between the ages of 10-34.1 • the second leading cause of death for African Americans, ages 15-24.1 • the leading cause of death for Asian Americans, ages 15-24.1 • the second leading cause of death for Hispanic people in the U.S., ages 15-34.
• American Indian/Alaska Native adults die by suicide at a rate 20% higher than non-Hispanic white adults. • Lesbian, gay and bisexual youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than straight youth. • Transgender people are 12 times more likely to attempt suicide than the general population.
• 10% of young adults say they experienced suicidal thoughts in the past year.

1 CDC. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System
Martha's Vineyard Updates
NAMI MASS Webinar: Family Support and Education
What is family support and education and where can you find it? Join us to find out! 
Learn about support and education options for family members, partners, and friends. Hear from folks who are leading support groups and family education programs, and supporting people one-on-one. Bring your questions! 
Registration is required!
Mindfulness Practice During Difficult Times - October 6
Rebecca Priest, LICSW and long-time practitioner of mindfulness meditation, will present an introduction to mindfulness, including a brief guided meditation. Her focus will be on coping during stressful times. Open to 25 participants.
Free and registration is required.
Channeling the Power of Human Connection toward Whole Health
Recovery Support Specialist Nanette Larson, BA, CRSS shares her story of recovery and strategies to connect with individuals on their journey to whole health.
Social Media & Adolescent Suicide: Risks, Benefits, & a Novel Monitoring Intervention
Listen to this podcast to explore a novel social media monitoring intervention for adolescents at risk of suicide based on findings of a mixed-media study.
And, a bit great news in the Boston Globe:
NAMI on Nantucket Updates
Nantucket News

Free Therapy for the Uninsured

Free therapy for those without insurance coverage continues with six independent therapists offering their services and over a dozen clients taking advantage of the program. This program was initiated with funding from The Nantucket Fund For Emergency Relief and NAMI CC&I On Nantucket hopes to be able to continue the program into the future. If you are interested in being a provider in the program, please contact NAMI at (508)778-4277. If you are looking for a therapist and do not have the means to pay for all or part of the fee, call the Nantucket Interface Helpline at William James College (1-888-244-6843) or call NAMI On Nantucket at (508)280-8777.

Registration Open for NAMI Homefront Online in Early September
Registration for the Quarter 4, 2020, session of NAMI Homefront online will open in early September. The six-week course for families and caregivers caring for military service members and veterans with a mental health condition will run from early October through mid-November. Visit for more information and to register.

Helpful Resources

Barnstable Human Services Newsletter

  • Community News & Announcements
  • Department News and updates
  • Information on events and trainings
  • COVID-19 Resources & Notices
  • Links to essential services for children, teens, and adults
NAMI Cape Cod & Islands | 5 Mark Lane Hyannis, MA 02601 | (508)778-4277