The NAMI National Convention opened with a series of TED Talks. The second speaker was Theo Bennett (pictured above), a young NAMI member and neuroscience student at Brigham Young University in Utah. 
In This Issue:
     Hello NAMI Central Virginia members and loved ones!

While we are in the season of Memorial Day, Independence Day, Flag Day, VE Day, Armed Forces Day, D Day, Coast Guard Day, Navajo Code Talkers Day, VJ Day, Patriot Day, Air Force Birthday, etc. (I am sure you get my point), I would highlight a very important, but somewhat silent topic; Military Veterans with mental illness/brain disorders. 

    More than 8,000 veterans commit suicide each year. This number is more than the number of American troops killed fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. Imagine answering the phone and the voice on the other end is a doctor telling you that your loved one is receiving medical attention at a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health facility to treat a mental illness. This happened to one Richmond area mother just a couple weeks ago that reached out to me for assistance. Neither this young Virginia soldier nor his family realized he was living with a mental illness until doctors diagnosed 
him with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  This illness, which went on for many months undetected, led up to a failed attempt suicide. 

    He was lucky, he survived, sadly, too often that is not the outcome. The VA estimates 22 veterans commit suicide every day. This trend is tragic and unacceptable for those that serve so valiantly. These invisible injuries are why we struggle to identify at-risk individuals. As your NAMI Central Virginia board president, I have started discussions with my colleagues and the local Department of Veteran Affairs office. We are diligently working to fully understand the scope of mental illness in our NAMI Central Virginia veteran community and what we can do to assist. One thing is clear; the VA lacks the personnel, services and proper tools to help veterans facing mental illness struggles. 

Earlier this year, Congress passed: The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act, and the president signed the Act into law. The new suicide prevention law is named in honor of Clay Hunt, an extraordinary young Texan and decorated Marine who served with distinction in Iraq and Afghanistan. Like too many of our veterans, Clay struggled with depression and post-traumatic stress after he came home. Sadly, Clay’s life ended much too soon when he tragically committed suicide in 2011 at the age of only 28. This legislation would improve mental health care and suicide prevention resources for veterans by increasing access to mental health programs, providing incentives to recruit and retain psychiatrists to treat veterans and enhancing resources for members of the military transitioning to civilian life. The legislation also requires the VA to evaluate its mental health programs using metrics common to mental health practitioners to determine the success of its programs. This will help the VA more efficiently use the taxpayer funding it receives to support the programs most effective for our veterans. Our veterans should never face an uphill battle to get the care they earned and rightfully deserve. 

As your affiliate president, I am committed to provide continued support for ALL of our members and loved ones suffering with mental illness. This commitment also extends to the dedicated friends and family that provide unending care and support for those affected with mental illness.  

Be safe and well during these summer months and most of all, enjoy this fabulous weather!  

August 20th
One of the main pillars of NAMI is Advocacy. We need to make our voices heard in order to create change in the way mental health care is handled in our state and locally in Central Virginia. NAMI Smarts for Advocacy will provide the tools for any individual to become a strong advocate!

NAMI Smarts is a workshop where individuals learn effective strategies to communicate with policymakers. The workshop builds knowledge, confidence, and competence in 

  • Writing and delivering short and compelling personal stories 
  • Finding and using facts in speaking and writing
  • Writing focused emails that have an impact
  • Making effective phone calls 

                  The next NAMI Smarts Workshop is right around the corner! 
Thursday, August 20th
6:00 - 8:00 P.M.
NAMI Virginia Conference Room
2104 W. Laburnum Avenue
Richmond, VA 23225

The 2015 NAMI National Convention was held in San Francisco, California the week of July 6th –July 9th. Over 4,000 attendees came from around the nation to connect, learn, and bring programs back to their localities. The Convention also featured various politicians, top-level researchers, psychologists, medical doctors, and other professionals that work in the realm of mental health. 

Over the course of four days, a wide variety of workshops and information sessions were held. Some of the larger topics covered were: research updates for various disorders, veterans’ issues, mental health in youth and adolescents, tele-psychiatry, pharmaceutical innovations, and many more. Of course, there were also a good helping of sessions and updates on NAMI Programs such as Family-to-Family, Peer-to-Peer, Ending the Silence, etc. 

Each year, the NAMI Convention presents an opportunity for NAMI-CVA to bring back new ideas to the region. Much knowledge was gained in the particular areas of engaging youth, forming coalitions with veterans’ agencies outside of the VA., and the somewhat new phenomenon of tele-psychiatry. 

NAMI National has uploaded several PowerPoint presentations and recordings, as well as links to the Flickr page which contains thousands of photos from the week.

Here are a few of our favorite highlights from the convention:
The ballroom was packed with NAMI members eager to officially begin the Convention. What isn't shown in this photo is the line of people against the wall and out the door. What a crowd!

Dr. Ken Duckworth, Medical Director of NAMI, discusses the latest findings in research concerning bi-polar disorder.
NAMI-CVA members take a photo-op with best-selling author and mental health advocate Pete Earley.

Pictured from left to right: Program Coordinator Jeff Conley, Program Director Kathy Harkey, Pete Earley, and NAMI-CVA member Peggy McCormack. 

Kathy chats with some of the NAMI National staff about ways to improve internal processes. 

Over 100 booths were set up for 'Poster Sessions.' In this photo, Jeff is discussing the PeerPals program which is unique to NAMI South Carolina. 

Amanda Swindle (center) and other NAMI-On-Campus leaders offer insight on how to engage young adults. Amanda was President of the Campus Club at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, VA in 2013-14. Go Captains! 

Virginia native Cheryl DeHaven (pictured left) receives the Inspiration Award at the Convention! Cheryl has been heavily involved at several levels of NAMI, including working as a State Trainer and Advocate with NAMI Virginia, and playing a key role at her affiliate in Hampton/Newport News. She is even featured in the current NAMI In-Our-Own-Voice DVD. 

Before rolling off of the NAMI National Board as President, fellow Virginian Jim Payne speaks on the current status of NAMI as an organization, recent accomplishments, and what the future has in store.

The Convention was closed out with an inspiring performance by NAMI's favorite country singer, Jason DeShaw. Check out his website here! 
The 2015 NAMI Walk is right around the corner! The Walk brings together thousands of individuals and supporters to celebrate mental illness recovery, to honor those who have lost their lives to mental illness, and to help raise funds to combat stigma and promote awareness. It is the largest fundraising event of the year for NAMI CVA. We need your help making the event bigger and better than ever before!

The event will once again be held near Innsbrook, at 4951 Lake Brook Drive, Glen Allen, VA 23060. There is no registration fee for the Walk. Individuals may register themselves and set up walk teams at this link. Be sure to sign up in support of NAMI Central Virginia! All participants are encouraged to collect donations from family members, friends, co-workers, and business associates. All walkers raising over $100 or more receive at NAMIWalks t-shirt!
In addition to more walkers & teams, NAMI CVA is also seeking additional sponsors. There is a wide range of sponsor opportunities available, starting at $250. What a fantastic way to support mental health awareness and programs!

Click here for the online registration. Be sure to sign up in support of NAMI CENTRAL VIRGINIA!
For more information about registering for the Walk or sponsor opportunities, please contact the office at 804-285-1749 or
     This year marks the 5th Annual Amazing Raise, a 36-hour online giving campaign held by The Community Foundation of Richmond. Between 6 A.M. on September 16th thru 6 P.M. September 17th, thousands of donors will contribute to the campaign for their favorite non-profit organizations. Since its inception, the Amazing Raise has generated over $5 million for local non-profits! NAMI Central Virginia has received several thousand dollars through this event over the last few years, and looks to make this year the best yet!

    The Amazing Raise is a unique type of fundraiser. There are several pieces that all tie into the larger event. Well before the days of the Raise, there are opportunities to win prizes based on video projects (stay tuned!), There is also the Amazing Raise 5k held at the Boulders Office Park in South Richmond the morning of September 10th. The really exciting part of the whole event is the variety of prizes that can be won during the 36-hour campaign, such as having the first gift during a certain hour, or having the most individual donors. Click here for a complete list and see where you can contribute!
    In the following weeks, NAMI CVA members will see a lot more communication about the Amazing Raise, and how each individual can do a small part to make a HUGE impact! 

When it comes to making change in the world of mental health, one thing is certain: real stories change hearts and minds! NAMI-CVA wants to share individual stories with the community through the NAMI-CVA website and a few other media projects. These stories help people who may not have first-hand experience understand what it is like to face mental health challenges. Real stories are also a great way to illustrate what NAMI-CVA does and who is helped by NAMI-CVA's free programs offered in the community. 

The story you share is all about you! Stories are needed from both peers and family members/caretakers. In order to really move readers/viewers, the story can (should) include the struggles associated with moving through the journey of recovery. Also, the story doesn't necessarily have to be about NAMI! The most important part is making it personal.

Please call 804-285-1749 or email Jeff Conley at for more information on how you can get your story out to others!
Volunteers Needed
NAMI Central Virginia will be attending three upcoming health fairs in August. Volunteers are needed for all of the events. For more information, contact the office at 804-285-1749 or email us at Details on the health fairs are listed below.

Appomatox Area Health and Wellness Center 
August 13th
10 AM - 2 PM 
321C Poplar Drive
Petersburg, VA 23803

Hopewell Prince George Community Health Center
August 14th
2 - 4:30 PM
4260 Crossings Blvd Ste 2
Prince George, Virginia 23875-1400

"We Care" Festival 
August 22nd
10 AM - 3 PM
Hotchkiss Comm Ctr.
701 E. Brookland Pkwy
Richmond, VA 23227

The tenth annual Filipino Festival will be taking place on August 7th - 8th! The event will feature Filipino cuisine, traditional art, dance, music, and song exhibits, and live performances by several bands. Admission is free; for more information about the festival visit

Dates and Times:
Friday, August 7th from 5 PM to 10 PM
Saturday, August 8th from 10 AM to 10 PM
Our Lady of Lourdes
8200 Woodman Road
Henrico, VA
NAMI Central Virginia's Hopewell Office needs volunteers. Volunteers at the Hopewell office provide patients and visitors with general information by giving out literature, answering questions about NAMI-CVA, and connecting anyone interested in NAMI-CVA programs, support groups, events, or activities with the main office in Richmond. The NAMI-CVA Hopewell office is located at John Randolph Medical Center, 411 West Randolph Road.  
Below is the fall schedule for training to become a NAMI Facilitator, Teacher, or Presenter. If you are interested in any of the following, please call Jeff at the NAMI CVA office for more information. The office number is 804-285-1749. 

September 11-13, 2015 - Family-to-Family Teacher Training - location to be announced

September 12-13, 2015 - Family Support Group Facilitator Training - location to be announced

September 19-20, 2015 - Connections Facilitator Training - location to be announced

October 9-11, 2015 - Peer-to-Peer Mentor Training - location to be announced

November 7-8, 2015 - In Our Own Voice Presenter Training - location to be announced
NAMI Central Virginia will be hosting Peer to Peer and Family to Family to Family classes starting in September. Details on the classes are listed below. For more information or to sign up, please contact the office at 804-285-1749 or email

Peer to Peer
Sept. 10th - Nov. 12th
Chippenham Hospital - Levinson Heart Hospital 4th floor conference room
6:00-8:00 P.M.
7101 Jahnke Rd. Richmond 23225

Family to Family 
Sept 14th - November 30th
First Presbyterian Church
6:00 - 8:30 P.M.
4602 Cary St. Rd.
Richmond, Va 23226 
Abbey Barclay
This month, NAMI-CVA would like to recognize Board Director and Treasurer Abbey Barclay.

The photo here shows Abbey and his wife Beth enjoying themselves at the 2015 NAMI-CVA Golf Tournament. They have participated in each tournament so far, and have also been Hole Sponsors for the event. Abbey has worked on the Golf Committee that oversees the event and is always instrumental in managing and reporting the funds raised. 

Since being voted onto the Board of Directors in 2014, Abbey has dedicated time in the CVA office each Monday to carry out his duties as treasurer. He works alongside the staff & accountant to ensure all of the funds are in order and appropriated to the right programs. He also helps prepare the necessary tax forms in order for NAMI-CVA to continue doing business as a 501(c)3 non-profit. Additionally, Abbey transacts membership dues for new members and renewals through the national membership platform NAMI 360. All of these functions are essential to the way that NAMI-CVA operates each day. 

                              A huge THANK YOU to Abbey for all that he does!
Disclaimer: NAMI-CVA is not endorsing the use of this product, rather the information is being shared to make readers aware that such treatment exists.

Janssen Pharmaceuticals has developed a new 3-month injection for the treatment of schizophrenia. The medication is called Invega Trinza. This is an atypical anti-psychotic for the treatment of schizophrenia in patients that have been adequately treated with Invega Sustenna. Injections of Invega Trinza are only required four times per year. 

For complete information, visit