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Do you know what parity is? Even after being diagnosed with a severe mental illness in my teens, I still did not know what it was until I took a NAMI sponsored class and learned all about my insurance rights for mental health patients. Call it synchronicity but, at the same time that I was in a class learning how to advocate for parity and other mental health rights, I was experiencing a complication with my insurance not wanting to pay for a prescription that is vital to my and my family's well being. I had been on this medication for multiple years, there were more difficulties the insurance company was putting me through, all of them pertained to parity, which I was learning in a NAMI class called NAMI Smarts. I learned through NAMI Smarts how to write letters of advocacy to policy makers, learning how to make phone calls, and stand up for my rights as well as be a witness that people with chronic mental health conditions can live quality, successful lives as long as we are given equal opportunity. 

I'm also a regular attendee and cofacilitator of NAMI's Peer Connections group, our Brevard affiliate meets on Tuesday nights @ 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm on Zoom. When I was first diagnosed with multiple chronic mental health conditions, I was alone and isolated in my own mind. It took a few years, but my recovery truly started when I met people who were just like me and were thriving, not just surviving. Those people took me under their wings and showed me a way out. This is what I find in NAMI Connections, people who have lived experience with traversing life with chronic mental health symptoms and yet still are champions of their own destiny, reaching goals, and surmounting multiple odds. I am one of many when I am at NAMI Connections. I'm free of stigma, because what I might be judged for out in society, is my greatest asset when I'm in peer groups. NAMI Connections has participated in giving me purpose, to what could otherwise be tragic.  

With so many people affected by mental illness in these unpredictable times, will I let any obstacle stand in my way? No way! That’s why I’m participating in NAMIWalks Your Way 2021. It’s my turn to do something powerful about achieving Mental Health for All. 

NAMI is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness. NAMIWalks promotes awareness of mental health, raises funds for NAMI’s free, top-rated programs, and builds community by letting people know they are not alone.

Thank you for supporting me for NAMIWalks Your Way 2021 by MAKING A DONATION! It’s easy, fast, and secure to do right here on my page. 



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