Mental health community-building at NAMI San Gabriel Valley’s annual potluck picnic

Photo by Lisa Rau.


Alhambra , CA United States

The annual NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) San Gabriel Valley Potluck Picnic was held on Sunday afternoon at Almansor Park.

More than 65 attendees enjoyed an afternoon of food, socializing, activities that included a gift raffle and get-to-know-you bingo, and personal stories shared by individuals and families affected by mental illness who found support through NAMI San Gabriel Valley.

“People think mental health is all about what’s wrong with you, but no—it’s about what’s right with you, too,” said Emily Wu Truong, picnic co-host and NAMI San Gabriel Valley board member.

NAMI San Gabriel Valley is one of more than 1,000 local chapters of NAMI, a nationwide association of affiliates, organizations and volunteers who work to raise awareness and provide education about mental health. Local chapters focus on advocacy, research, support and education, such as NAMI San Gabriel Valley’s free, 10-week Peer-to-Peer Education Program and bimonthly Connection Support Group for community members who have been affected by mental illness to gather and share their experiences.

The picnic served as a platform to invite community members to register for the 14th Annual NAMIWalks LAC (Los Angeles County) event, scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017 in Downtown Los Angeles’s Grand Park. Participation in the three-mile event is free and open to the public.

San Gabriel Valley residents interested in registering for NAMIWalks LAC as part of the local NAMI San Gabriel Valley chapter can request more information from namisgvconsumer@gmail.com.

“NAMIWalks help ease the stigma [of mental illness] to make people feel good about themselves and about our community. It makes people realize that they’re not alone,” said Pam Dart, NAMIWalks co-leader. “There’s a synergy that’s created when people get together to walk.”

Dart emphasized that in addition to seeking participants for NAMIWalks, NAMI San Gabriel Valley is seeking community participation to assist in developing a San Gabriel Valley-specific cheer to be performed during the October 7 festivities. Community members who might be interested in providing lyrics or assistance with organizing and leading the cheer are encouraged to reach out with their ideas.

More information about NAMI San Gabriel Valley is available at: http://www.namisangabrielvalley.org.

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