HALLOWELL — As the American public increasingly understands the critical nature of accessible, affordable mental health care, so do the demands on NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, known locally as NAMI Maine. As NAMI Maine has worked to provide the state of Maine with access to critical mental health training, information, and care for 40 years.

To acknowledge 40 years of mental health advocacy in Maine, we have a goal to raise $20,000. This $20,000 goal will be matched by the Haynes family, bringing our total donation goal to $40,000! Cheryl Haynes, a previous staff member of NAMI and current affiliate president, shared her story and the reason as to why her family has agreed to match the $20,000 donation.

“Our family mental illness impact is with my boys. They both live with a diagnosis of schizophrenia. In 2005, after four years into our journey, I found NAMI Maine and I found help and hope. I also found out that we were not alone. My boys are not only sons to my husband and I, but they are brothers to each other and to my daughter. They are also grandsons, nephews, cousins, and uncles. This donation made by our family is very symbolic to the significant impact that mental illness has, not only to the individual living with a diagnosis, but to the entire family.”

She went on to state, “Our family hopes that, in some small way, this donation will help individuals living with a mental health challenge and all those who love and care for them. Like NAMI Maine did for me 18 years ago.”

At NAMI Maine, we are waiting for our goal to become a reality so that we can continue to provide Maine with access to mental health assistance and training as we have for 40 years.

NAMI would like to thank Cheryl and her family for this amazing opportunity. With their donation NAMI can extend it’s outreach across Maine to provide help and assistance to those who need it.

Cheryl explained why her and her family felt such a strong connection to NAMI by saying, “In this world of an ever-increasing need for mental health support, it was an amazing feeling just to know that our family wasn’t alone.”

Jennifer Thompson, executive director of NAMI Maine, shared her appreciation for the Haynes family by saying, “We are filled with profound gratitude and hope as we extend our appreciation to the Haynes family for their remarkable gift. Their generous donation of $20,000 will undoubtedly impact numerous individuals, creating a brighter future for mental health advocacy and support throughout the state of Maine. Furthermore, this gift enables us to initiate a matching gift challenge to engage the community, multiplying the positive effects of their contribution.”

NAMI Maine, located in Hallowell, is part of the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMIWalks is the largest, most vibrant mental health event series in the country with walks taking place in more than 130 locations. For local information, visit NAMIWalks.