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West Jordan Journal

NAMI Utah takes strides to raise awareness for mental illness

May 06, 2024 12:59PM ● By Peri Kinder

NAMI Utah will hold the Walk for Mental Health Awareness on Saturday, May 18 from 9 a.m. to noon at Veterans Memorial Park in West Jordan (1985 W. 7800 South). (Photo courtesy NAMI Utah)

Open discussions about mental health address an increased concern for people affected by anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress and disruptive behaviors. The Utah chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness hopes continued discussions will create understanding and empathy for individuals struggling with mental illness.

As part of its education initiative, NAMI Utah will hold the Walk for Mental Health Awareness on Saturday, May 18 from 9 a.m. to noon at Veterans Memorial Park in West Jordan (1985 W. 7800 South).

“Everybody will be impacted by someone’s mental health at some point in their life,” Tina Jones said, NAMIWalks manager. “I think everybody should be educated on the basics, like who to call when your friend is talking about unaliving themself.”

The World Health Organization website states that 1 in every 8 people in the world lives with a mental disorder. In Utah, that number is 1 in 5. While there are several types of mental disorders, effective prevention and treatment options are available to help those individuals and their families. 

Jones has her own experience dealing with mental illness with family members. She reached out to NAMI Utah a couple of years ago and ended up working for the organization as a mental health court advocate.

She sees prevalent discrimination toward people with mental illness, whether it’s being shunned for uncontrolled behaviors, fired from a job or shamed for living on the streets. Her goal is to direct people to find help for their disorders and create a dialogue of empathy in society. 

“When I reached out to NAMI, I finally had real conversations with people who weren’t terrified to talk about mental illness and people who understood what it is,” she said. “I love this organization and what they stand for, for ending stigma. I’m super proud to be the one who’s marketing this event and hopefully doing more to get the business community to know about NAMI.”

NAMIWalk is the organization’s largest fundraiser, with proceeds going to help with programs like suicide prevention, support groups, education courses, therapy resources and criminal justice for those with mental disorders. NAMI Utah’s goal is to raise $50,000 to help break the stigma around mental illness. 

The walk will include a photo booth area, face painting, a craft table, multiple walking routes (from .5 mile up to 5K), information about NAMI Utah’s services and community resources. The Utah Department of Health and Human Services is a presenting sponsor for the event. 

Individuals or groups can participate in the NAMIWalk by raising money through donations (with all proceeds going to NAMI Utah), hosting an exhibit, sponsoring the event, donating goods or services or volunteering. For information, contact Jones at 801-323-9900 or [email protected], or visit 

Jones invites everyone to fuel mental health awareness by attending or participating in the event to let people with mental illness know they are not alone. 

“You can walk as little as a half-mile walk or as much as a 5K,” Jones said. “Some people in our community don’t walk at all, they just want to get together and talk, and that’s fine too.”  λ