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News from NAMI of Snohomish County, WA
First Quarter 2020
A New Year

As we welcome a new year I'd like to mention a few of NAMI Snohomish County's 2019 accomplishments and take a look forward to 2020.

Among the 2019 achievements were creating a strategic plan with assistance from a consultant; providing support for the October opening of the Everett Clubhouse; continuing presentations at the Everett Police Department's Crisis Intervention Training for first responders; upgrading the NAMI Snohomish phone service so that people could reach our message line via text; and completely revamping our website which, among other improvements, makes it possible to register in advance for class waiting lists and volunteer opportunities. In addition, we participated in Boeing’s Health Care Initiative, which resulted in an appreciation honorarium for the affiliate, and continued to be represented at many health care fairs including at the Edge of Amazing Conference in Lynnwood.

In 2020, plans include another day-long board retreat in January to further define the strategic plan created in 2019. I am looking forward to 2020 with the firm belief that NAMI Snohomish County will continue to provide county residents with mental health programs and advocacy that benefit those suffering from mental illness.

Happy New Year to you all!
Keith Binkley
Annual Meeting Wrap-Up

Like other affiliates, NAMI Snohomish is required to hold annual meetings for their members. The 2019 meeting took place on November 4, with 16 members joining board members for a dinner and roundtable discussion.

During the meeting, Emma Volesky was honored for telling her story through her many presentations in Ending the Silence programs. On one single day, she gave seven presentations! Besides presenting in Snohomish County schools, she has been busy in Thurston-Mason County NAMI and NAMI Eastside. Emma was selected to be one of the state presenters at the Seattle NAMI Brainpower Chronicles at the Museum of Flight on November 9, 2019, which is a major fundraiser for NAMI Washington State. Brainpower Chronicles is a competitive story-telling event which was featured at the national NAMI convention in Seattle in June. 

Also at the meeting, the membership elected four people to serve as new board members: Bryan Fugate, Megan Amaya, Jana Phillips and Emily Fountain. The board now consists of nine people and we would like to add two more at the next annual meeting. Following two days of a February 2019 retreat working on a strategic plan with a professional consultant, the board will continue to provide leadership in two areas of priority: Increasing Organizational Capacity and Offering Programs of Value.
Light Therapy for SAD
There's Hope for Sufferers of SAD

We in the Pacific Northwest are still in for several more months of rainy gray weather that can easily affect our moods. For some, the short bleak days of winter bring on an episode of depression for the duration. Commonly known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), symptoms that can be mistaken for a simple case of the "winter blues" include feelings of sadness, loss of interest in formerly pleasurable activities, craving carbohydrates, eating more than usual, and sleeping too much while at the same time feeling fatigued.
SAD can be treated with light therapy, antidepressant medications, talk therapy, or a combination of these. Although SAD makes it difficult, efforts to take care of your general health and practicing good wellness techniques can help. These include getting regular exercise, eating healthy, and staying active and connected.

If you think you are having Seasonal Affective Disorder, see a mental health professional. With the right treatment, SAD can be a manageable condition, even in the gloomy Pacific Northwest.

Read more about SAD on the National Institutes of Mental Health website.
Thanks from Everett Clubhouse

More than 60 people attended the November Open House of the new Everett Clubhouse located at 1601 Wetmore in Everett. Soozee McNamara, program director, would like to thank all of the Everett community members for the warm welcome and those who helped to renovate the space. In true Clubhouse style, members helped with demolition, construction, and painting and are now planning their work-ordered days and future social events.

The Clubhouse is up and running 40 hours a week from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday. Its purpose is to decrease social isolation for those with mental illness and fight stigma in an environment based on meaningful work and relationships. If you or someone you know is an adult diagnosed with mental illness who might be interested in participating, give Everett Clubhouse a call at 1-425-389-9510 to schedule a tour.
UW REACH CBTp Training for Treatment Providers this February

The Beacon readers may remember that four NAMI Snohomish members took part in the first US training for families in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Psychosis (CBTp) at the University of Washington in May 2019. These REACH (Recovery by Enabling Adult Carers at Home) consultations still continue for those participants with monthly international conference calls with Dr. Douglas Turkington and Dr. Kate Hardy. Now the training will be available to mental health treatment providers in Seattle at the UW February 13 and 4, 2020. Lunches and Continuing Medical Education credits are included. Please share this registration link to professionals interested in learning these skills. Additionally, here is a flier that can be printed and distributed.   
Grim Suicide Statistics for Youths

When celebrities Anthony Bourdain, Kate Spade, and Robin Williams tragically took their own lives in summer 2018, many examined more closely the rates of suicide in the US. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) notes that the rates increased from 10.5 to 14 deaths per 100,000 between 1999 and 2017, or a 33% increase. Read more on the APA website. This fall, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published even more shocking statistics in the numbers of children between 10 and 14 who took their lives. After a decline in the early 2000s, that rate nearly tripled between 2007 and 2017. Read more on the CDC website. For more on this topic, read this excellent article in The New York Times (you may have to register to read it).
Advocate Magazine Features NAMI Seattle Pioneer

If you attended the national NAMI convention last summer, you may have seen the spry 98-year-old local Seattle woman Eleanor Owens running up the steps to the stage to accept an award. Eleanor was one of the founders of NAMI WA, first called WAMI, Washington Advocates for the Mentally Ill. She describes NAMI as the glue holding her family together. You can read about this remarkable woman on pages 13 to 14 in the recent issue of NAMI's Advocate magazine.
Funding Increase Announced at White House Summit on Mental Health

At a summit at the White House on Dec. 20, 2019, President Trump announced an increase of $328 million for mental health programs including Assisted Outpatient Treatment and Assertive Community Treatment programs. The summit, titled Transforming Mental Health Treatment to Combat Homelessness, Violence, and Substance Abuse, included Dr. E. Fuller Torrey and John Snook, previous and current CEO’s of Treatment Advocacy Center, and the first assistant secretary for mental health, Dr. McCance-Katz. 

Peter Earley writes extensively about this summit in his blog.
Become a Member
NAMI membership has its benefits and supports the organization's programs. If you are not already a member, you can join on the national NAMI website. With one payment, you become a NAMI member at the national, state, and local (Snohomish County) levels. Rates for one year are $60 for an entire household, $40 for an individual, and $5 for for anyone with limited resources. You will receive publications such as the Advocate magazine along with other benefits such as reduced rates at conferences and full access to the national website resources. The more members we have, the more powerful our voice becomes when we advocate for NAMI's mission with local politicians and state legislators. Of course, we always welcome any donations to NAMI Snohomish specifically through our website in addition to the membership fees. 
'Screenagers' Film Examines Role of Video Screens on Mental Health

Seattle physician Dr. Delaney Ruston made a film about her father who lived with schizophrenia called Unlisted that was shown at a NAMI WA state conference in 2010. Her second film in 2013 was on global mental health titled Hidden Pictures. She now researches the role of video screens or technology with youth and mental health and on that topic produced her 2016 film called Screenagers. Her website includes useful ideas on discussing this subject with kids and developing family alternatives not involving screens.
New Daytime Connections Group in Downtown Everett

We have just added a new daytime Connections support group in addition to those meeting in Lynnwood and Smokey Point. It meets twice monthly with trained facilitators at the Carnegie Resource Center at 3001 Oakes Avenue in Everett on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month from 1:00 to 2:30 pm. The upcoming dates will be January 14 and 28, February 11 and 25, and March 10 and 24, 2020. Check the website for information on all NAMI Snohomish support groups.
NAMI Snohomish offers an array of free classes and support groups throughout the month. Here is the Full Schedule, and below are descriptions of each group with links to more information.

NAMI Connection is a recovery support group for adults with a mental health diagnosis that offers respect, understanding, encouragement, and hope led by trained facilitators living in recovery themselves.

NAMI Family and Friends Mental Health and Spiritual Support Group is for individuals who wish to share their life experiences, spirituality, and coping skills in living with a mental illness. 

NAMI Family Support Group is a peer-led support group for any adult with a loved one who has experienced symptoms of a mental health condition.

NAMI Peer-to-Peer is a recovery-focused educational program for adults who wish to establish and maintain wellness in light of their mental health challenges.

In Our Own Voice provides an opportunity for a person living with mental illness to speak with community groups and share what it is like to live with mental illness.

NAMI Basics Class is a free, six-session education program for parents, guardians, and other family members who provide care for youth (age 22 or younger) who are experiencing mental health symptoms.
24-Hour Crisis Hotline: 1-800-584-3578

What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor,
and more unashamed conversation.
– Glenn Close
Banner photo of Mukilteo Lighthouse courtesy of David R. Irons Jr.