WHAT WE DO
We have unique fundraising events in our community to raise proceeds to support our community programs and NAMI-Pinellas’s many projects that are offered to the citizens of our county. All funds from these events go directly to our community.
Speak at NAMI National Conferences
Dawn has presented at NAMI National Conferences to share Scott’s and our lived experiences with mental illness and suicide. She helps other NAMI chapters start Surviving a Suicide Loss Support Groups and also facilitate Family Support Groups and Education Classes for families who have a loved one with a mental illness.
North Pinellas County Surviving a Suicide Loss Support Group
We started the first North Pinellas County, Surviving a Suicide Loss Support Group. We work with other NAMI chapters to assist them with starting a support group. For more details about the time and locations of the support groups, email Dawn at email@example.com.
You are not Alone, Surviving a Suicide Loss
We provide a trifold brochure, “You Are Not Alone, Surviving a Suicide Loss” to the Law Enforcement Agencies and Mobile Crisis Unit. This trifold is given out to the family members at the scene of a suicide. It provides them with local contacts, national resources, financial information on what to do after a suicide, what to expect emotionally and much more. All in one location, eliminating the searching for this information at a time when you are grieving and overwhelmed.
NAMI and Local Law Enforcement
We work with NAMI and local Law Enforcement Agencies during their Crisis Intervention Team training to educate them on how to interact with a person who has a mental illness and is in a crisis. Our goal is to de-escalate the situation and ensure that the person in crisis gets the help they need and not handcuffs. We also attend and present at CIT conferences to share how our involvement with law
enforcement has made a difference and it also gives us the opportunity to hear ideas on how others are involved with law enforcement. We are starting to work with School Resource Officers to educate them on what mental illness and how they can assist the students by recognizing the signs.
Nationally Accredited Mental Health Programs
We offer Nationally Accredited Mental Health Programs for Kids and Teens to local youth community centers. We teach them how to understand their mental health, how to ask for help, how important self care is, and help them find activities that make them feel better, etc.
Work with Pinellas County Schools and Recreation Centers
We offer different programs that are age appropriate for the youth to discuss the importance of mental health, how to help friends and their selves, how to talk about their feelings, etc. We also have programs for the parents and adults that educates them on how to talk to their children and to look for signs that they may be struggling. We also ask for their suggestions on what programs they would like to see in their community. The more we can talk about this topic, the more the stigma will be removed and people will ask for help.
Long Term Goals
Working with Youth at Summer Camps in 2023
We partnered with three North Pinellas County summer youth camps, Mattie Williams Family Neighborhood Center, The Union Academy in Tarpon Springs and Tarpon Cops n' Kids to offer a full curriculum of mental health activities. These activities included interactive conversations, drumming, yoga for youth, mental health activity books, gratitude journals, local authors coming to read and giving every child a personalized book that relates to bullying, working together and to understand that words matter. We gave every student a backpack filled books, journals, bracelets, and many other items. We interacted with over 300 youth between the grades of K-10 and the youth embraced the program. We are hoping to continue offering a mental health curriculum to the
after-school program students. We want to include more arts and music activities, since the youth responded well to these. As we know that we need to start with the students at a very young age in order to have long term results.
One of our long term goals is to sponsor a Mental Health Support trained dog for Pinellas County Sheriffs Dept. to work with a person in crisis at the scenes. There is scientific data showing that a trained dog can help calm and de-escalate a mental health crisis.
We would like to offer a camp for youth who have lost someone to suicide. Often, they are overlooked when someone they love dies by suicide and it would be an opportunity to be with other youths as well as counselors and other professionals.
We are hoping to add an Art and Music curriculum to after school care programs at underserved community centers. We will have local artists and musicians work with the students so they can express themselves creatively through the arts. We saw how well the kids responded and enjoyed these programs during the summer camps. It is a great way for them to release stress and find their individual talents.
Fund Crisis Intervention Team Training for 911 Dispatch Operators and for other smaller local police departments. Pinellas County Sheriff's Office currently funds the training for the officers; however, funding is not available for all the other local departments and dispatch. It is vital that every officer is trained how to interact with a person in a mental crisis as well as dispatch recognizing when to send out a CIT officer.
We will also be working on developing a C.I.P. (Crisis Intervention Partners) program in Pinellas County. This program will be similar to the CIT training that law enforcement officers participate in. This will be a two day program that we will fund and it will focus on educating other people in our community how to interact with someone who has a mental health condition. More details to follow soon.