Mental Health_Creative Commons

Mental illness doesn’t take breaks over the holidays. In fact, in many ways the stress, financial strain and the expectations of self and others can exacerbate pre-existing conditions — or even create new ones.

Families and friends of those affected by mental illness are not immune to the complications involved. And even with all of the noble efforts going on to mitigate the negative impacts, effective support is often very difficult to come by.

This week, NGV would like to shine a spotlight on and commend the efforts of NAMI Gwinnett. 

NAMI Gwinnett’s official mission statement is as follows: “to Provide Support, Education, and Advocacy for those in our community living with mental illness (a Brain Disorder) and those people that care for them. We provide Support and Education classes to both Family members and Consumers/Clients. We advocate for a complete system of services that help those in their Recovery reintegrate into our community and become productive citizens.”

NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the country’s largest mental health nonprofit operating at the grassroots level. They believe that three key concepts are crucial in their advocacy for advancing mental health in all persons affected:

  • Recovery
  • Resiliency
  • Support

Back in 2012, NAMI designated the late Mrs. Rosalynn Carter as the “First Lady of Mental Health”. Her efforts to respond to the stress of caregivers have spearheaded great strides in recognizing the impact of mental health and other illnesses on the family and friends of a loved one in need of care.

NAMI Gwinnett offers education and support for caregivers as well as peer-to-peer support groups for individuals battling and coping with the effects of burdened mental health.

NAMI Gwinnett has outlined their core goals as:

  • Providing emotional support to family and friends of persons with mental illness
  • Providing support to individuals struggling with a mental illness
  • Promoting the education, research and study of the most impactful treatments and care for individuals with mental illness
  • Advocating for the rights of individuals with mental illness and a comprehensive system of care
  • Reducing stigma by providing education and information concerning mental illness to both affected individuals and the public at large

If you are interested in joining their advocacy efforts, locally or nationwide, find out more here.

Learn more about NAMI Gwinnett’s education, support groups, and calendar of activities at this section of their website.

If you or a loved one are experiencing an immediate or protracted crisis, call the NAMI Helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (1-800-950-6264). Help is available Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. in finding resources and support.

They can be reached by email at

NAMI Gwinnett also provides a list of direct contacts within the community.

They remind everyone that: “Mental illnesses are brain disorders that are biologically based medical problems. Untreated, they can cause severe disturbances in thinking, feeling and relating. This results in substantially diminished capacity for dealing with the ordinary demands of life. Mental illness can affect persons of any age and occur in any family. They are not caused by bad parenting and not evidence of weakness of character.”

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