Fall Newsletter II
In this Issue:
Hello to our NAMI Central Virginia family!

My first order of business is to wish everyone a very Happy Holiday Season.

With that being said, the holidays offer plenty of reasons to be stressed out and anxious 
-- the gifts you haven’t wrapped, the pile of cookie exchange invites, the office parties. 
But for many, the biggest source of holiday stress is family -- the family dinner, the 
obligations, and the burden of family tradition. And if you’re fighting a brain disorder, or 
have a loved one suffering from a brain disorder, the holiday stress can be a trigger for 
more serious problems. 

There’s this idea that holiday gatherings with friends and family are supposed to be 
joyful and stress-free, but as we all know, that’s usually not the case. Families are 
complicated, but that’s doesn’t mean that the solution is to skip the holiday gathering 
and celebrations entirely. With holiday family reunions, parties and events looming on your calendar, what are some ways that you can prepare yourself and better cope better this season? I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV, but here are just a few things that the professionals recommend:

• Keep expectations for the holiday season manageable. Try to set realistic goals for yourself. Pace yourself and organize your time. Make a list and prioritize the activities most important to you.

• Be realistic about what you can and cannot do. Don't put the entire focus on just one day (i.e. Thanksgiving Day, Hanukah, Christmas Day, etc ). Remember that it's a season of holiday sentiment, NOT JUST ONE DAY, and activities can be spread out to lessen stress and increase enjoyment.

• Remember the holiday season does not banish reasons for feeling sad or lonely; there is room for these feelings to be present, even if the person chooses not to express them

• Leave "yesteryear" in the past and focus toward the future. Life brings changes and each season is different and can be enjoyed in its own way. Don't set yourself up in comparing today with the "good ol' days."

• Do something nice for someone else less fortunate than you. Try volunteering some of your time to help others.

• Enjoy activities that are free, such as taking a drive to look at holiday decorations, going window shopping or making a snow-person with someone you care about.

• Be aware of excessive drinking. It will only increase your feelings of stress.

• Try something new; like celebrating the holidays in a new way.

• Spend time with supportive and caring people. Reach out and make new friends, or connect with someone you haven't heard from in while.

Most of all, save time for yourself and recharge your batteries! Let others share in the responsibility of planning activities and don’t try to do it alone.

Finally, remember your NAMI family and the vast support mechanisms that are in place 
and available to you, your family and friends. Don’t try to do it alone in time of crisis, but 
reach out to someone who cares; Your NAMI CVA Family! 

All my best and let’s continue our mission,
The Annual Holiday Party will be at the Weinstein JCC on Tuesday, December 15th at 6:00, with food served at 6:30. Click here for directions to the event

Please RSVP to the office if you are attending, and include how many additional people are in your party. 

Members are encouraged to bring a generous covered dish and a serving spoon. NAMI Central Virginia will provide chicken, beverages, ice, paper products, and plastic ware. The Holiday Party will feature bingo, prizes, and fellowship!

It has been a holiday tradition to collect various gifts at the Annual Holiday Party and distribute them to select group homes in the region. This year's major recipient will be the Marshall Center, operated by Richmond Behavioral Health Authority. 

If you wish to donate gifts to this holiday endeavor, the following are some suggestions as to what should be purchased. Most can be picked up at a dollar store or similar retailer:

"Wallets, playing cards, scarves, XL gloves, large knit hats, large socks, toiletries in plastic, checkers/board games, $5 gift cards, change purses, jewelry, holiday door decorations, sunglasses, sugar free candy, nonperishable food, cosmetics, after shave in plastic bottle, lotion in plastic tube or bottle, batteries, stationery, pens, art supplies, plastic mugs, $5 watches, notebook, note pads, slipper socks, crossword puzzle books, canvas bags, powdered drink mix, disposable camera, shampoo, cream rinse, hand sanitizer, antibiotic hand wash, wash clothes, scrapbook, plastic picture frames, calendars, scotch tape, emery boards, lip balm, tissue packets for purse or pocket, antibacterial wipes for purse, CD's, DVD's, ear buds, paperback books, pencil sharpener, leggings, hair barrettes, ponytail holders, hair bands.

Please, no glass, candles, or belts" 
'The Next Steps' Workshop
Please note that to attend this event, you should have already attended Workshop 1: "Telling Your Story". You should also be sure bring your story with you to this workshop. 

Saturday, December 5th @ 9:30

Starts: Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Time: 6:00 P.M. until 8:30 P.M.
Location: Education Room 161 
Bon Secours St. Mary's Hospital
5801 Bremo Rd.
Richmond, VA 23226
Starts: Monday, January 25 2016
Time: 10:00 A.M. - Noon
Location: Richmond Behavioral Health Authority (RBHA)
107 South 5th St.
Richmond, VA 23219
NAMI-CVA would like to highlight two excellent ways to donate money and help us raise funding!
The first, Pledge Direct, is a great way to give the same amount every month. Your gift arrives automatically through electronic funds transfer from your checking account or credit or debit card.  Pledge Direct saves time and money with no more stamps, checks, or worries!
Additionally, do you shop online, especially during the holiday season? Do you shop at Amazon.com? NAMI Central Virginia is enrolled in the Amazon Smile Program!
With Amazon Smile, shoppers that have registered with NAMI Central Virginia as their non-profit of choice will have .5% of their total purchase donated. Eligible products include most physical products sold on Amazon.com. This excludes digital music/video downloads and Kindle e-book downloads.
Contact or visit the NAMI-CVA office today for information on Pledge Direct or Amazon Smile giving. We can be reached at 804-285-1749 by phone, at
info@namicentralvirginia.org by email, or by mail at the address below:
NAMI Central Virginia
P.O. Box 18086
Richmond, VA 23226-8086
Empowering teachers and school personnel to make a lasting difference in the lives of their students, NAMI Parents & Teachers as Allies (PTA) opens the door for schools to make a difference.

A training will be held for PTA in Richmond on Saturday, February 27th. PTA is a 90-minute presentation facilitated by a young adult with a mental health condition, a parent and a teacher. The goals are to educate participants on:

  • The difference between “bad behavior” and symptoms of a mental health condition
  • Recognizing early warning signs.
  • Communicating and partnering with families effectively
  • Linking to community services quickly
  • Creating a supportive learning environment for all students

If you are interested in this opportunity, please contact Jeff at the CVA office at 804-285-1749 or email jeff.conley@namicentralvirginia.org. 
October 17th was a great day for a Walk! With crisp weather and plenty of sunshine, thousands of people from across Virginia hit the pavement to show support for NAMI and raise awareness for mental health. 

Below are a few photos from the day, courtesy of NAMI-CVA’s expert photographer, Patrice Beard.
A good handful of volunteers cheered people on as walkers crossed the finish line.
Hayden Myer and Sarah Steadman of NAMI Virginia enjoying themselves in the early part of the day! 
Some of the wonderful NAMI Volunteers making it happen in the registration tent
Team Photos! 
Program Coordinator Jeff Conley with some of his good friends from Christopher Newport University
A diverse array of Walk Team T-shirts!
And then there were bananas
NAMI Central Virginia is now hosting a new free youth program in partnership with Youth Move VA and United Methodist Family Services called HopeVoice!
What is HopeVoice? It is a youth-guided activity-based group for teens ages 13-19 who have experience with a personal or family-related mental health condition. This is a relaxed environment for young people to come to, meet other teens, and join in on some fun activities!
All personal stories and experiences are confidential and will not be shared. Pizza and refreshments are served at the group.
First and third Thursday of the month, 6-8 pm
Charterhouse School at UMFS
3900 West Broad Street Richmond, VA 23230

Click here to fill out the registration form
For more information contact Jeff Conley at (804) 285-1749, or email
Jennifer Giles
NAMI CVA wishes to recognize Jennifer Giles in this month's volunteer spotlight! She is pictured above (center) speaking with attendees of the 2015 CBS Healthy Living Expo.

Jennifer has been a part of NAMI since 2006, starting with her local affiliate in Kentucky. She served as President, and also Vice President of NAMI Lexington. After moving to Chesterfield, she stopped by the CVA office in early 2014 to introduce herself and discuss opportunities to continue doing programs and other types of volunteering with the affiliate here in Central Virginia.

Since then, Jennifer has jumped right into the action. She is 2nd Vice President on the CVA Board of Directors, an active In-Our-Own-Voice presenter, and is a facilitator for the weekly NAMI Connection meeting at the McGuire Veteran's Hospital. Having a family-member perspective also, Jennifer is trained in NAMI Family-to-Family as well. She is always willing to lend a hand with the various community health fairs and other similar engagements. On top of this, Jennifer is a State Trainer for the In-Our-Own-Voice program, working with NAMI Virginia to train new presenters and connect with current ones at various Adult & Family Program events. 

If it isn't NAMI business being carried out, Jennifer also contributes to other organizations with a footprint in the Richmond area. She works with Chesterfield Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and the Jewish Family Services Telephone Reassurance Program. Lastly, but certainly not least, Jennifer remains active with her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, whom NAMI National has engaged in a country-wide partnership with.