Walk raises about $40,000 for mental health alliance

  1. Walk raises about $40,000 for mental health alliance

    People with mental illness, their family members and local mental health workers were among hundreds of people who braved stormy weather yesterday morning to raise money for a Nashville mental health agency.

    About 400 people raised more than $40,000 in the first 5K walkathon for the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, or NAMI, of Nashville.

    Maggie Samuchin of Brentwood and an executive board member of NAMI Nashville, said one of the agency's goals is to educate teachers and parents about the symptoms of mental illness so that young people can enter treatment early.

    Samuchin said she knows the loneliness and confusion that occurs when a loved one suffers mental illness. After a family member had a ''psychotic episode'' in the 1970s, she said, she quickly learned the difficulties in obtaining treatment and community support for people with mental illnesses.

    She said 20% of all Americans have some kind of mental health problem. ''We're trying so hard to get people help in high school,'' she said. ''First, family members have to know what mental illness is and how to deal with the person.''

    NAMI will hold its seventh annual ''Ambassador of Hope'' awards dinner May 25 at the Sheraton Music City Hotel to honor people and organizations that have helped those with mental illnesses.

    For more information about NAMI Nashville, call 259-7591

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