Staying connected —
even when we can't be together
Interpersonal connection is at the heart of what NAMI does. It has always been, and always will be.

But we realize that during the coronavirus crisis, it has to look different.

We’re writing to share NAMI Colorado Springs’ approach to providing mental health support for the foreseeable future, and to invite your input, thoughts and ideas as things unfold.
CLASSES & SUPPORT GROUPS

To abide by the recommendation that people not meet in groups, NAMI Colorado Springs has suspended weekly classes for its mainstay education programs, including Family-to-Family and Peer-to-Peer. We have also postponed classes scheduled for later this spring, including Provider Education and Basics, with future dates to be determined. 

We have also suspended all in-person support groups. This decision has been particularly difficult, knowing that many in the NAMI community have found deep connection in these groups for months or even years. We understand, of course, that physical health considerations must take precedence at the moment. Still, we are unnerved by the idea of going without these groups, especially in such challenging times.

With that in mind, next week NAMI Colorado Springs will begin offering weekly online support groups. Connection Support Group, for people living with mental illness, will meet at 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 23. Family Support Group, for people who love someone who is living with mental illness, will meet at 7 p.m., Wednesday, March 24. Once we have finished preparing our online platform — probably sometime on Monday — we will post login information on the homepage of our website. 

We also want to note that a couple of NAMI facilitators elsewhere in Colorado will continue to offer their established Teleconference Family Support Group Service, held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on the first and third Tuesdays of each month. You can find more, including preregistration information, at the bottom of this page.

In coming weeks, NAMI Colorado Springs may add more local groups according to the needs of the community and our technical capabilities. Amazing volunteers have already stepped up to say they’re ready to help if called upon.

MENTAL HEALTH NEWS & RESOURCES
We appreciate that recently, the media has started turning its attention to the mental health effects of this crisis. However, we have already found that all of the expert interviews, advice and resource lists can be overwhelming.

So by noon each weekday, NAMI will provide links to several of the day’s most important or valuable stories, on our blog. We will also provide links to some of the best mental health and self-care resources — free mental health apps, meditation options, and more — that have come to our attention.

On Tuesdays and Fridays, we will cull through those blog posts and select a few of our favorite stories and resources to be included in an email like this one. 

If you come across news items or resources that you think we should consider for the blog, please send them to Communications and Grants Manager Kirk Woundy at kirk@namicos.org

OFFICE HOURS & CONTACTING US

As of this writing, NAMI is taking a day-to-day approach to managing office hours. Most days, our small team is working on site at 1615 S. Murray Blvd.

If we’re not going to be in the office on a given day, we will provide that information on our website homepage and social media. And when out of the office, we’re having calls automatically transferred to our personal numbers. So if we don’t immediately answer, please leave a message and someone will get back to you as soon as possible. 

You also can also always email us. In addition to reaching Kirk at his email above, you can get a hold of the rest of NAMI’s staff here:

Lori Jarvis-Steinwert, Executive Director: lorijarvis@namicos.org 
Lynn Shull, Programs and Volunteer Manager: volunteer@namicos.org
Emily Brady, Family Programs Coordinator: familysupport@namicos.org
Lara Ostenberg, Administrative Assistant: admin@namicos.org 

As always, for urgent mental health concerns, trained counselors are standing by at Colorado Crisis Services . Contact them 24/7 by calling 844.493.TALK (8255), or by texting the word TALK to 38255. Between 4 p.m. and midnight, you can also use a "Chat" option at coloradocrisisservices.org.

WISHES FOR THE NAMI COMMUNITY
Even the most physically and mentally healthy among us are bound to feel unsettled by these unprecedented times. We urge you to take good care of yourselves and those around you. Even if you’ve never personally used NAMI’s services before, we’re here for you. And we’re open to hearing any of your ideas for how we might best serve this community.

On behalf of the NAMI Colorado Springs board of directors and our tight-knit team of staff and volunteers, please know that we’re undaunted in this work that we believe in so much. NAMI’s interpersonal connections and support have helped see many of us through life’s toughest moments. In the coming days and weeks, we will carry on that legacy.

Wishing you health and peace,
Lori Jarvis-Steinwert, executive director Collyn Florendo, board president