The National Alliance on Mental Illness at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (NAMI at UWM) is one of many organizations at UWM dedicated to promoting and fostering mental health awareness and advocacy for students. It is a group run by students for students, with the goal of partnering with other organizations such as Active Minds at UWM and the Norris Health Center to be a resource for students who may be struggling with anything related to mental health. It also aims to provide an outlet for students who are dealing with the average stressors of college life.
While the organization had been established and registered through UWM’s student organization portal, it had no officers or mission. In September of 2016, its founder, Ben, and I changed that by establishing a presence on campus. After several discussions over text and email, I agreed to take on the role of vice president, and he, president. There were two other officers already onboard to have the minimum required by the college.
As part of becoming an officer, I also became a member of NAMI Milwaukee for $15 per year – some going to the student organization, and some to the city chapter. As the student chapter conducted meetings and planned events, I took a role of securing email, office space, and marketing it to the rest of campus via flyers, handing out business cards, and holding tabling events. I was also introduced to, and took, the StigmaFree pledge.
Among my accomplishments with NAMI at UWM in three fast-paced semesters were:
- Helping plan and execute three mental health panels: Mental Health in the African-American, Asian-American, and Latino communities.
- Helping plan and market a discussion by Dr. Daniel Fisher of the National Empowerment Center regarding emotional CPR (eCPR).
- Representing the organization at a kick-off event regarding training mental health practitioners and eventually, the general public in treating people via eCPR.
- Designing a new logo and business cards for the organization.