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Mayor Berry to Lead More Than 500 Walkers at NAMIWalks 2016

Mayor Berry to Lead More Than 500 Walkers at NAMIWalks 2016

Albuquerque, NM - As Honorary Co-Chair of this year’s event, Mayor Richard J. Berry led more than 500 walkers today at Albuquerque’s Balloon Fiesta Park for the annual NAMIWalks, the signature fundraiser event for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) affiliates across New Mexico.

“Mental illness affects nearly all our families. Yet it is rare for communities to provide welcoming and safe opportunities to discuss this critical subject. I am proud to be an Honorary Co-Chairman of NAMIWalks 2016 and I wholeheartedly support their mission to engage our community in the effort to reduce the stigma of mental illness,” Mayor Berry said.

Mayor Berry co-chaired this year’s three-mile walk with Senator Mary Kay Papen, of District 38, Dona Ana County. “We are honored to have two of the state’s most knowledgeable public servants on the issues of mental illness supporting the walk,” said David Gonzales, NAMIWalks manager and NAMI state board member.

In addition to leading the walk, Mayor Berry read a proclamation during opening ceremonies officially declaring May as Mental Health Awareness Month in the City of Albuquerque.

“In 2011, I asked those affected by the challenges of mental health, as well as mental health professionals, to work with police and paramedic responders to focus on mental health issues facing the citizens of Albuquerque as well as the surrounding communities in Valencia and Sandoval counties,” Mayor Berry noted.

Among the continuing community dialogues, seven community meetings were held and several priorities identified, including: raising awareness and reducing the stigma of mental illness; identifying and coordinating community resources; providing mental health providers at places that are accessible to youth; and reducing fragmentation among mental health providers. “NAMIWalks is a continuation of these endeavors begun in 2011,” the Mayor said.

The communitywide, grassroots event has raised over $1,000,000 in the last 12 years to support NAMI signature programs and education material provided to the community at no cost. NAMIWalks also serves to help raise awareness of the prevalence of mental illness in the community and to inform friends, family and co-workers about how they can find support and resources to deal with this disability. To learn about services NAMI affiliates provide in their local communities and for information about NAMIWalks, visit www.naminm.org

This year’s walk kickoffs a number of Mental Health Awareness Month activities scheduled throughout May in Albuquerque and New Mexico. For more information about events in Albuquerque, visit www.livewellabq.info and for a complete listing of awareness events scheduled throughout New Mexico, visit www.achrnm.org/may-mental-health-month-2016.html