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Perficient Colleagues Get to Know NAMI

NAMI Aligns with Perficient’s Corporate Giving Philosophy and is Supported by Perficient Gives

Recognizing the impact 2020 had on society is something NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, recently explained in their presentation to Perficient’s Giving Employee Resource Group.

In 2020, 1 in 5 adults reported that the pandemic had a significant negative impact on their mental health, 45% with mental illness, and 55% with serious mental illness. Thanks to NAMI, communities throughout the U.S. are able to come together during difficult times to advocate, learn, listen, and lead to improve lives of people affected by mental illness.

Throughout the presentation to our ERG members, NAMI further educated our colleagues about their organization, provided facts and statistics regarding mental illness in the U.S., and discussed many programs they offer nationwide.

Who is NAMI?

NAMI is one of eight organizations Perficient is supporting through our charitable match program, Perficient Gives. All organizations we support through this program were chosen based on their alignment to our Perficient Giving corporate philosophy – advancing STEM education and improving health and wellbeing. NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.

To begin the journey of building better lives, NAMI envisions a world where all people affected by mental illness are able live healthy, fulfilling lives supported by a community that cares. This world is coming to fruition through NAMI’s advocacy, education, support, and public awareness. Today, this grassroots mental health organization has grown to have more than 600 local affiliates and 48 state organizations, offering an array of free support and education programs. You can find your local NAMI here to see what types of programs and supports they offer in your area.

Why is this Important?

NAMI provided many statistics throughout the call that help put the commonality of mental illness into perspective – allowing colleagues to recognize the importance of the work NAMI provides.

Some of the reasons people don’t get help or treatment include lack of insurance, cost of assessment or treatment, and limited access to mental health providers due to the shortage of psychiatrists. NAMI and NAMI Affiliates offer an array of peer-led programs that provide free education, skills training, and support to help alleviate these barriers for those in need.

In general, many individuals also avoid treatment due to shame, fear, and the stigma associated with mental health conditions. Unfortunately, ethnic and cultural groups can experience additional forms of stigma, some discussed by NAMI include:

  • LGBTQ+ individuals may experience bullying, stigma, and prejudice based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, while also dealing with the societal bias against mental health conditions.
  • In the U.S., only about 25% of African Americans seek mental health care, compared to 40% of white adults. As a community, Latinos often don’t talk about mental health issues, and are less likely to seek mental health treatment. Asian Americans also seek mental health care at lower rates than white individuals.
    • Possible reasons for these differences include distrust attributed to prejudice and discrimination in the healthcare system, lack of resources, language barriers, cultural differences, and lack of mental health professionals with similar cultural or ethnic backgrounds.
  • The experiences of military personnel, veterans, and their families must also be handled with sensitivity. Stigma often discourages active-duty service members from seeking treatment for PTSD or other conditions, and some worry they may be jeopardizing their military careers. Even veterans may not seek treatment for fear of appearing weak, among other reasons.

These statistics can appear overwhelming; however, recovery and stability are possible with proper support, and NAMI provides support and directs those in need to beneficial resources.

Offering Peer Support to One Another

During the presentation, colleagues were asked to share their own personal coping mechanisms they use when feeling overwhelmed. Some of the many suggestions include exercising, reading, journaling, listening to music, practicing purposeful deep breathing, and expressing gratitude. This was a great question to ask before learning about the many programs NAMI offers.

As NAMI gave an overview of multiple programs, I was personally inspired to find out all of their programs are peer-led and often volunteer-based. This truly brings a personal level of care to individuals in need, and ultimately allows people to have genuine support from others who have been impacted by mental health.

NAMI offers several support and education programs for anyone impacted by mental health conditions. To find mental health education, support groups, a NAMI HelpLine and more, check out NAMI’s Support and Education page. To get started, learn about the variety of programs offered by NAMI in your area by finding your local NAMI or NAMI Affiliate here.


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Hannah Elzey

Hannah is the Communications Associate Marketing Coordinator based out of St. Louis, Missouri, focusing primarily on strategizing and composing internal corporate communications. She enjoys learning more about Adobe Creative Suite, following hockey, and spending time with friends and family in her free time.

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