FARMINGTON- The St. Francois County Mental Health Walk raised $2,275 at Engler Park in Farmington on Saturday. Organizers said money is still coming in.

National Alliance on Mental Illness, or NAMI, of Southeast Missouri member and walk co-organizer Kathryn Green said members of the group had gone to the Mental Health Walk in St. Louis for the past few years.

“Some of our NAMI support group members have been going to St. Louis for the walk. Someone had the idea to do a walk in our county to raise awareness,” said Green. “The idea with the Mental Health Walk is to start small and build up. This is just to raise awareness because everyone has some connection to mental health in some way.”

BJC Behavioral Health Clinical Supervisor Michelle Ramirez said the walk is meant to help educate the community on this years walk had 12 different vendors with a variety of information for walkers to pick up and talk about to the groups on hand.

Green and Ramirez said the money raised at the walk will benefit the NAMI Support Group of Southeast Missouri.

NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. The organization advocates for access to services, treatment, support and research and is steadfast in its commitment to raise awareness and build a community of hope for all in need.

Green said NAMI of Southeast Missouri has been around for about 11 years. She became involved in the chapter after reading about it in the Daily Journal. She and her husband took a free Family to Family class.

She said after the 12-week course they came out feeling a lot better and more informed. They didn’t feel intimidated about asking questions.

This spring’s 12-week class began May 7 at the L.I.F.E. Center in Farmington. Classes are held from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesdays. The class is for anyone with a family member who has a mental illness. It will be taught by Green and another local NAMI leader.

For more information or to register for the classes contact NAMI Missouri coordinator Sonya Baumgartner at (573) 634-7727.

There’s also a support group held the second Thursday of the month at Mineral Area Regional Medical Center. About 15 to 20 people attend on average. The support group is for family members and those who suffer from mental health disorders.

The mental health walk was held in conjunction with the St. Francois County Mental Health Board and NAMI.

Maridee Lawson is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 756-8927 or mlawson@dailyjournalonline.com.

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